Uncovering Dependence Clusters and Linchpin Functions

Book chapter


Binkley, David, Beszédes, Árpád, Islam, S., Jász, Judit and Vancsics, Béla 2015. Uncovering Dependence Clusters and Linchpin Functions. in: 2015 IEEE 31st International Conference on Software Maintenance and Evolution (ICSME) IEEE. pp. 141-150
AuthorsBinkley, David, Beszédes, Árpád, Islam, S., Jász, Judit and Vancsics, Béla
Abstract

Dependence clusters are (maximal) collections of
mutually dependent source code entities according to some
dependence relation. Their presence in software complicates
many maintenance activities including testing, refactoring, and
feature extraction. Despite several studies finding them common
in production code, their formation, identification, and overall
structure are not well understood, partly because of challenges
in approximating true dependences between program entities.
Previous research has considered two approximate dependence
relations: a fine-grained statement-level relation using control
and data dependences from a program’s System Dependence
Graph and a coarser relation based on function-level controlflow
reachability. In principal, the first is more expensive and
more precise than the second.
Using a collection of twenty programs, we present an empirical
investigation of the clusters identified by these two approaches.
In support of the analysis, we consider hybrid cluster types
that works at the coarser function-level but is based on the
higher-precision statement-level dependences. The three types
of clusters are compared based on their slice sets using two
clustering metrics. We also perform extensive analysis of the
programs to identify linchpin functions – functions primarily
responsible for holding a cluster together. Results include evidence
that the less expensive, coarser approaches can often be used as
e�ective proxies for the more expensive, finer-grained approaches.
Finally, the linchpin analysis shows that linchpin functions can
be e�ectively and automatically identified.

Book title2015 IEEE 31st International Conference on Software Maintenance and Evolution (ICSME)
Page range141-150
Year2015
PublisherIEEE
Publication dates
Print23 Nov 2015
Publication process dates
Deposited09 Dec 2015
Event2015 IEEE 31st International Conference on Software Maintenance and Evolution (ICSME)
ISBN978-1-4673-7532-0/15
Web address (URL)http://dx.doi.org/10.1109/ICSM.2015.7332460
Additional information

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CC BY-NC-ND
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