Robotic Process Automation (RPA) is a technology for automating repetitive
routines consisting of sequences of user interactions with one or more
applications. In order to fully exploit the opportunities opened by RPA,
companies need to discover which specific routines may be automated, and how.
In this setting, this paper addresses the problem of analyzing User Interaction
(UI) logs in order to discover routines where a user transfers data from one
spreadsheet or (Web) form to another. The paper maps this problem to that of
discovering data transformations by example – a problem for which several
techniques are available. The paper shows that a naive application of a
state-of-the-art technique for data transformation discovery is computationally
inefficient. Accordingly, the paper proposes two optimizations that take
advantage of the information in the UI log and the fact that data transfers
across applications typically involve copying alphabetic and numeric tokens
separately. The proposed approach and its optimizations are evaluated using UI
logs that replicate a real-life repetitive data transfer routine.