Weighted software metrics aggregation and its application to defect prediction

Maria Ulan, Welf Löwe, Morgan Ericsson, Anna Wingkvist
2021 Empirical Software Engineering  
AbstractIt is a well-known practice in software engineering to aggregate software metrics to assess software artifacts for various purposes, such as their maintainability or their proneness to contain bugs. For different purposes, different metrics might be relevant. However, weighting these software metrics according to their contribution to the respective purpose is a challenging task. Manual approaches based on experts do not scale with the number of metrics. Also, experts get confused if
more » ... metrics are not independent, which is rarely the case. Automated approaches based on supervised learning require reliable and generalizable training data, a ground truth, which is rarely available. We propose an automated approach to weighted metrics aggregation that is based on unsupervised learning. It sets metrics scores and their weights based on probability theory and aggregates them. To evaluate the effectiveness, we conducted two empirical studies on defect prediction, one on ca. 200 000 code changes, and another ca. 5 000 software classes. The results show that our approach can be used as an agnostic unsupervised predictor in the absence of a ground truth.
doi:10.1007/s10664-021-09984-2 fatcat:cij67aaxgzfulddj3jmqmsobea