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Model predicts chance of software flaws
Written by Daniel   
Thursday, 06 March 2008 09:32

 University researchers develop model that could save software companies money by allowing them to isolate parts of their code that need more rigorous testing

By Jeremy Kirk, IDG News Service
March 06, 2008

 Researchers from a German university have developed a model to predict programming errors in applications. The method has the potential to save software companies money by allowing them to isolate parts of their code that need more rigorous testing, said Kim Herzig, a researcher at the Universität des Saarlandes in Saarbrücken, who wrote his master's thesis on the project.

"We try to find which aspects of code correlate to defects in the past," Herzig said.

Software companies rarely test every single line of code in their software. Testing is expensive, and companies are under pressure to release products. But fixing bugs after a product has been released is also expensive and inconvenient for customers, Herzig said.

The model is tailored to a specific software program undergoing an upgrade. The program's version history and bug reports are analyzed. The source code is also examined to find out how modules within the software interact with each other.

The model also looks at how the developers communicated with one another, examining their e-mail, instant message conversation and discussions on forums.

"We try to mine these sources and find out if there are certain patterns and behaviors of the developers that correlate with defects," Herzig said.

Researchers then use statistical analysis to build the predication model. It does not uncover the number of defects or precisely where those defects may be in the code. Instead, the model will indicate, for example, that a section of code has a 70 percent probability of containing a defect, Herzig said.  [Infoworld...]         [Comments...]

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