This is an archive of the old software engineering chair at Saarland University. It is no longer up-to-date.


Failure is a Four-Letter Word
A Parody in Empirical Research

Software Engineering Chair (Prof. Zeller)
Saarland University – Computer Science
Saarland Informatics Campus
Campus E9 1 (CISPA)
66123 Saarbrücken, Germany
E-mail: zeller @
Phone: +49 681 302-70970

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The infamous IROP principle

This site holds resources for the paper Failure is a Four-Letter Word - A Parody in Empirical Research, in which Andreas Zeller (Saarland University), Thomas Zimmermann (Microsoft) and Christian Bird (Microsoft) found that the letters I, R, O, P correlated with a high defect rate in Eclipse 3.0. Consequently, they suggested to avoid them in the future, including removing them from keyboards.

The paper is a "parody in empirical research", replicating a number of blunders that the authors have found in papers of researchers. Besides (hopefully) being fun to read, the authors hope it will be most useful in classroom usage.

The paper

The paper is available

The presentation

Scripts and data

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