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An Empirical Study of Static Program Slice Size

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Nicolas Gold, M Harman, David Binkley

Original languageEnglish
Article number8
Pages (from-to)1 - 32
Number of pages32
Issue number2
Published1 Apr 2007

King's Authors


This article presents results from a study of all slices from 43 programs, ranging up to 136,000 lines of code in size. The study investigates the effect of five aspects that affect slice size. Three slicing algorithms are used to study two algorithmic aspects: calling-context treatment and slice granularity. The remaining three aspects affect the upstream dependencies considered by the slicer. These include collapsing structure fields, removal of dead code, and the influence of points-to analysis. The results show that for the most precise slicer, the average slice contains just under one-third of the program. Furthermore, ignoring calling context causes a 50% increase in slice size, and while (coarse-grained) function-level slices are 33% larger than corresponding statement-level slices, they may be useful predictors of the (finer-grained) statement-level slice size. Finally, upstream analyses have an order of magnitude less influence on slice size.

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