Applying Software Research to Industry with Amy Ko

industry and academia

“It’s not just about tools, it’s also a lot about how you structure a team, how you structure the communication between engineers, how you facilitate decision making – all of those things.”

University research produces numerous papers about software engineering. Unfortunately, many of the problems explored by these software engineering researchers have no actual application. These papers fall into The Black Hole of Software Engineering Research.

Amy Ko is an associate professor at the University of Washington. When she worked as a CTO of AnswerDash, she experimented with some of the software engineering research coming out of academia and industry. Today on Software Engineering Daily, we discuss Amy’s results. Our conversation spans the topics of education, big companies, and startups. Since this interview, Amy came out as a transgender. Per her request, we’ve changed the name and pronouns above, but did not modify the audio recording.


  • What kinds of research were you trying to bring to AnswerDash?
  • What were the challenges of actually implementing something that you read about in a research paper?
  • What is the black hole of software engineering research?
  • Do you think there is a strong distinction between theory and practice?
  • What is the right form for disseminating software engineering knowledge?
  • Why did you transition back to academia from your full-time role as CTO?
  • What do you wish you could change about the university education system?


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