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An empirical study of the relationship between the concepts expressed in source code and dependence

Research output: Contribution to journalConference paper

David Binkley, Nicolas Gold, Mark Harman, Zheng Li, Kiarash Mahdavi

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2287 - 2298
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Systems and Software
Issue number12
PublishedDec 2008
EventAustralian Software Engineering Conference - Melbourne, Australia
Duration: 10 Apr 200713 Apr 2007

King's Authors


Programs express domain-level concepts in their source code. It might be expected that such concepts Would have a degree of semantic cohesion. This cohesion ought to manifest itself in the dependence between statements all of which contribute to the computation of the same concept. This paper addresses a set of research questions that capture this informal observation. It presents the results of experiments on 10 programs that explore the relationship between domain-level concepts and dependence in source code. The results show that code associated with concepts has a greater degree of coherence, with tighter dependence. This finding has positive implications for the analysis of concepts as it provides an approach to decompose a program into smaller executable units, each of which captures the behaviour of the program with respect to a domain-level concept. (C) 2008 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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