Computer Science and Engineering, Department of


Date of this Version



Published (2023) Proceedings of the ACM on Human-Computer Interaction, 7 (ETRA), art. no. 167.


Used by permission.


Neural source code summarization is the task of generating natural language descriptions of source code behavior using neural networks. A fundamental component of most neural models is an attention mechanism. The attention mechanism learns to connect features in source code to specific words to use when generating natural language descriptions. Humans also pay attention to some features in code more than others. This human attention reflects experience and high-level cognition well beyond the capability of any current neural model. In this paper, we use data from published eye-tracking experiments to create a model of this human attention. The model predicts which words in source code are the most important for code summarization. Next, we augment a baseline neural code summarization approach using our model of human attention. We observe an improvement in prediction performance of the augmented approach in line with other bio-inspired neural models.