Automatic Restoration and Management of Computational Notebooks

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Virginia Tech


Computational Notebook platforms are very commonly used by programmers and data scientists. However, due to the interactive development environment of notebooks, developers struggle to maintain effective code organization which has an adverse effect on their productivity. In this thesis, we research and develop techniques to help solve issues with code organization that developers face in an effort to improve productivity. Notebooks are often executed out of order which adversely effects their portability. To determine cell execution orders in computational notebooks, we develop a technique that determines the execution order for a given cell and if need be, attempt to rearrange the cells to match the intended execution order. With such a tool, users would not need to manually determine the execution orders themselves. In a user study with 9 participants, our approach on average saves users about 95% of the time required to determine execution orders manually. We also developed a technique to support insertion of cells in rows in addition to the standard column insertion to help better represent multiple contexts. In a user study with 9 participants, this technique on a scale of one to ten on average was judged as a 8.44 in terms of representing multiple contexts as opposed to standard view which was judged as 4.77.



Computational Notebooks, Dependency Analysis, Version Control