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Mozilla and Ubisoft today announced a partnership to develop Clever-Commit, an AI coding assistant. Clever-Commit is designed to help programmers evaluate if a code change will introduce a new bug, based on learnings from past bugs and fixes. The tool combines data from the bug tracking system and the version control system to detect patterns of programming mistakes based on the history of the development of a given piece of software. Yves Jacquier, head of Ubisoft La Forge, unveiled the partnership at Dice Summit 2019 in Las Vegas.

If Clever-Commit sounds familiar, you might be remembering its predecessor, a prototype named Commit-Assistant. Ubisoft La Forge (Ubisoft Montreal’s research lab) and Concordia University unveiled Commit-Assistant to the world in March 2018. After successful tests with data accumulated during the development of video games, the prototype was transferred to the Ubisoft Technology Group with the goal of being used across the company.

Ubisoft hopes to use the AI technology to release more, better quality features faster for its millions of game players. The company shared today that Clever-Commit already contributes to the development of major Ubisoft AAA titles — and the company is now working on integrating it into other brands.

Mozilla meanwhile hopes to give Firefox users even more stable versions of the browser. Clever-Commit will be integrated into the Firefox developer workflow, initially during the code review phase. If it works well, Mozilla wants to bring the tool into other stages of the code-writing process, especially during automation.


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Integrating Clever-Commit into Firefox development

“We are very excited to work with Ubisoft and to contribute to the development of Clever-Commit,” Sylvestre Ledru, lead of Firefox release and quality management, said in a statement. “Fixing bugs is a time-consuming and resource-intensive process. Even more so for large and complex bodies of code like browsers and AAA games. By incorporating Clever-Commit into our developer workflow, we will improve Firefox’s code-writing process by spotting bug patterns and flagging past patches earlier, at a stage when fixing a bug is a lot cheaper than upon release. This in turn will allow us to ship even more stable versions of Firefox and provide even better browsing experiences to Firefox users.”

It’s clear how Mozilla stands to benefit from adopting Clever-Commit. But Ubisoft also believes it will benefit from the partnership.

“Working with Mozilla on Clever-Commit allows us to support other programming languages and increase the overall performances of the technology,” Ubisoft Montreal’s technical architect Mathieu Nayrolles explained in a statement. “Using this tech in our games and Firefox will allow developers to be more productive as they can spend more time creating the next feature rather than fixing bugs. Ultimately, this will allow us to create even better experiences for our gamers and increase the frequency of our game updates.”

Firefox is written in C++, JavaScript, and Rust, with new versions every six to eight weeks — Firefox 65 arrived in late January and Firefox 66 is currently slated for mid-March. The company estimates that Firefox releases average 8,000 software edits loaded into the browser’s code by hundreds of Firefox staff and contributors. And every new release impacts hundreds of millions of internet users.

Mozilla says it expects to save “hundreds of hours of bug riskiness analysis and detection” with Clever-Commit, ultimately helping catch “up to 3 to 4 out of 5 bugs before they are introduced into the code.” In return, Mozilla will contribute to the development of Clever-Commit by providing programming language expertise in C++, JavaScript, and Rust.

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