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Coherent Dependence Cluster

Islam, SS; (2014) Coherent Dependence Cluster. Doctoral thesis , UCL (University College London). Green open access

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This thesis introduces coherent dependence clusters and shows their relevance in areas of software engineering such as program comprehension and mainte- nance. All statements in a coherent dependence cluster depend upon the same set of statements and affect the same set of statements; a coherent cluster’s statements have ‘coherent’ shared backward and forward dependence. We introduce an approximation to efficiently locate coherent clusters and show that its precision significantly improves over previous approximations. Our empirical study also finds that, despite their tight coherence constraints, coherent dependence clusters are to be found in abundance in production code. Studying patterns of clustering in several open-source and industrial programs reveal that most contain multiple significant coherent clusters. A series of case studies reveal that large clusters map to logical functionality and pro- gram structure. Cluster visualisation also reveals subtle deficiencies of program structure and identify potential candidates for refactoring efforts. Supplemen- tary studies of inter-cluster dependence is presented where identification of coherent clusters can help in deriving hierarchical system decomposition for reverse engineering purposes. Furthermore, studies of program faults find no link between existence of coherent clusters and software bugs. Rather, a longi- tudinal study of several systems find that coherent clusters represent the core architecture of programs during system evolution. Due to the inherent conservativeness of static analysis, it is possible for unreachable code and code implementing cross-cutting concerns such as error- handling and debugging to link clusters together. This thesis studies their effect on dependence clusters by using coverage information to remove unexecuted and rarely executed code. Empirical evaluation reveals that code reduction yields smaller slices and clusters.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Title: Coherent Dependence Cluster
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Third party copyright material has been removed from ethesis.
Keywords: Software Clustering, Dependence Cluster, System Evolution, Program Comprehension
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Pop Health Sciences > Institute of Health Informatics > CHIME
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1452982
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