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Program Restructuring Using Clustering Techniques

- Paper Accepted at Journal of System and Software (JSS), 2005
- Presented at the Fourth IEEE International Workshop on Source Code Analysis and Manipulation (SCAM 2004)

May 2005

Abstract

Program restructuring is a key method for improving the quality of ill-structured programs, thereby increasing the understandability and reducing the maintenance cost. It is a challenging task and a great deal of research is still ongoing. This paper presents an approach to program restructuring at the function level, based on clustering techniques with cohesion as the major concern. Clustering has been widely used to group related entities together. The approach focuses on automated support for identifying ill-structured or low-cohesive functions and providing heuristic advice in both the development and evolution phases. A new similarity measure is defined and studied intensively. A comparative study on three different agglomerative hierarchical clustering algorithms is also performed. The approach is applied to restructure a real industrial program. The empirical observations show that the heuristic advice provided by the approach can help software designers make better decision of why and how to restructure a program. Specific source code level software metrics are presented to demonstrate the value of the approach.

The full text of this article can be purchased through the IEEE here