64 results for MacDonell, SG, Conference item

  • FULSOME: fuzzy logic for software metric practitioners and researchers

    MacDonell, SG; Gray, AR; Calvert, JM (2011-09-03)

    Conference item
    Auckland University of Technology

    There has been increasing interest in recent times for using fuzzy logic techniques to represent software metric models, especially those predicting the software development effort. The use of fuzzy logic for this application area offers several advantages when compared to other commonly-used techniques. These include the use of a single model with different levels of precision for the inputs and outputs used throughout the development life-cycle, the possibility of model development with little or no data, and its effectiveness when used as a communication tool. The use of fuzzy logic in any applied field, however, requires that suitable tools are available for both practitioners and researchers-satisfying both interface- and functionality-related requirements. After outlining some of the specific needs of the software metrics community, including results from a survey of software developers on this topic, this paper describes the use of a set of tools called FULSOME (FUzzy Logic for SOftware MEtrics). The development of a simple fuzzy logic system by a software metrician and its subsequent tuning are then discussed using a real-world set of software metric data. The automatically generated fuzzy model performs acceptably when compared to regression-based models

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  • Maximising data retention from the ISBSG repository

    Deng, K; MacDonell, SG (2011-08-23)

    Conference item
    Auckland University of Technology

    Background: In 1997 the International Software Benchmarking Standards Group (ISBSG) began to collect data on software projects. Since then they have provided copies of their repository to researchers and practitioners, through a sequence of releases of increasing size. Problem: Questions over the quality and completeness of the data in the repository have led some researchers to discard substantial proportions of the data in terms of observations, and to discount the use of some variables in the modelling of, among other things, software development effort. In some cases the details of the discarding of data has received little mention and minimal justification. Method: We describe the process we used in attempting to maximise the amount of data retained for modelling software development effort at the project level, based on previously completed projects that had been sized using IFPUG/NESMA function point analysis (FPA) and recorded in the repository. Results: Through justified formalisation of the data set and domain-informed refinement we arrive at a final usable data set comprising 2862 (of 3024) observations across thirteen variables. Conclusion: a methodical approach to the pre-processing of data can help to ensure that as much data is retained for modelling as possible. Assuming that the data does reflect one or more underlying models, such retention should increase the likelihood of robust models being developed.

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  • Beyond "Temponomics' - the many dimensions of time in globally distributed project teams

    Clear, Tony; MacDonell, SG (2011-10-19)

    Conference item
    Auckland University of Technology

    The prevailing notion of time which pervades reports on global software development practice is the linear notion of time as a scarce commodity to be optimized through working across global boundaries. This `temponomic' view of time provides a useful but limited model through which to understand how time operates in practice within globally distributed teams. We report findings from an in depth empirical study which employed a grounded analysis of the many dimensions of time in action within a global team setting. A situated analysis of the actions at each of three globally distributed sites, demonstrates how the differing aspects of time interact, and how some of the known challenges in working globally, can be viewed from a temporal viewpoint. We argue that this more nuanced understanding of how time functions in globally distributed teams may help managers and researchers develop more appropriate practices and models for managing such teams.

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  • An automatic architecture reconstruction and refactoring framework

    Schmidt, F; MacDonell, SG; Connor, AM (2012-03-14)

    Conference item
    Auckland University of Technology

    A variety of sources have noted that a substantial proportion of non trivial software systems fail due to unhindered architectural erosion. This design deterioration leads to low maintainability, poor testability and reduced development speed. The erosion of software systems is often caused by inadequate understanding, documentation and maintenance of the desired implementation architecture. If the desired architecture is lost or the deterioration is advanced, the reconstruction of the desired architecture and the realignment of this desired architecture with the physical architecture both require substantial manual analysis and implementation effort. This paper describes the initial development of a framework for automatic software architecture reconstruction and source code migration. This framework offers the potential to reconstruct the conceptual architecture of software systems and to automatically migrate the physical architecture of a software system toward a conceptual architecture model. The approach is implemented within a proof of concept prototype which is able to analyze java system and reconstruct a conceptual architecture for these systems as well as to refactor the system towards a conceptual architecture.

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  • Effort estimation for the development of spatial information systems

    MacDonell, SG; Benwell, GL (2012-04-19)

    Conference item
    Auckland University of Technology

    The management and control of software processes has assumed increasing importance in recent times. The ability to obtain accurate and consistent indications of, for example, system quality, developer productivity and schedule projections is an essential component of effective project management. This paper focuses on these ‘traditional’ software engineering issues in relation to the development of spatial systems. In particular, techniques for development effort estimation are considered and a case study illustrating the application of one specific estimation method (Mark II function point analysis) is presented. Given its original basis in business information systems, the method is adjusted in order to account for (some of) the differentiating characteristics of spatial systems. The method is then retrospectively applied to a recently developed hazards analysis system. The effort estimate obtained is sufficiently close to the actual effort used in development to illustrate the potential of such a technique for project management in the spatial systems domain.

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  • Using visual text mining to support the study selection activity in systematic literature reviews

    Felizardo, KR; Salleh, N; Martins, RM; Mendes, E; MacDonell, SG; Maldonado, JC (2012-03-10)

    Conference item
    Auckland University of Technology

    Background: A systematic literature review (SLR) is a methodology used to aggregate all relevant existing evidence to answer a research question of interest. Although crucial, the process used to select primary studies can be arduous, time consuming, and must often be conducted manually. Objective: We propose a novel approach, known as 'Systematic Literature Review based on Visual Text Mining' or simply SLR-VTM, to support the primary study selection activity using visual text mining (VTM) techniques. Method: We conducted a case study to compare the performance and effectiveness of four doctoral students in selecting primary studies manually and using the SLR-VTM approach. To enable the comparison, we also developed a VTM tool that implemented our approach. We hypothesized that students using SLR-VTM would present improved selection performance and effectiveness. Results: Our results show that incorporating VTM in the SLR study selection activity reduced the time spent in this activity and also increased the number of studies correctly included. Conclusions: Our pilot case study presents promising results suggesting that the use of VTM may indeed be beneficial during the study selection activity when performing an SLR.

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  • Software forensics: old methods for a new science

    MacDonell, SG; Aakjaer, A; Sallis, PJ (2012-05-01)

    Conference item
    Auckland University of Technology

    Over the past few years there has been a renewed interest in the science of software authorship identification; this area of research has been termed `software forensics'. This paper examines the range of possible measures that can be used to establish commonality and variance in programmer style, with a view to determining program authorship. It also describes some applications of these techniques, particularly for establishing the originator of programs in cases of security breach, plagiarism and computer fraud.

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  • Software process engineering for measurement-driven software quality programs: realism and idealism

    MacDonell, SG; Gray, AR (2012-04-19)

    Conference item
    Auckland University of Technology

    This paper brings together a set of commonsense recommendations relating to the delivery of software quality, with some emphasis on the adoption of realistic perspectives for software process/product stakeholders in the area of process improvement. The use of software measurement is regarded as an essential component for a quality development program, in terms of prediction, control, and adaptation as well as the communication necessary for stakeholders’ realistic perspectives. Some recipes for failure are briefly considered so as to enable some degree of contrast between what is currently perceived to be good and bad practices. This is followed by an evaluation of the quality-at-all-costs model, including a brief pragmatic investigation of quality in other, more mature, disciplines. Several programs that claim to assist in the pursuit of quality are examined, with some suggestions made as to how they may best be used in practice.

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  • The many facets of distance and space: the mobility of actors in globally distributed project teams

    Clear, Tony; Hussain, W; MacDonell, SG (2013-03-12)

    Conference item
    Auckland University of Technology

    Global software development practices are shaped by the challenges of time and 'distance', notions perceived to separate sites in a multi-site collaboration. Yet while sites may be fixed, the actors in global projects are mobile, so distance becomes a dynamic spatial dimension rather than a static concept. This empirical study applies grounded theory to unpack the nature of mobility within a three site globally distributed team setting. We develop a model for mapping the movements of team members in local and global spaces, and demonstrate its operation through static snapshots and dynamic patterns evolving over time. Through this study we highlight the complexity of 'mobility' as one facet of 'space' in globally distributed teams and illuminate its tight coupling with the accompanying dimensions of accessibility and context awareness.

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  • A systematic mapping study on dynamic metrics and software quality

    Tahir, A; MacDonell, SG (2013-03-12)

    Conference item
    Auckland University of Technology

    Several important aspects of software product quality can be evaluated using dynamic metrics that effectively capture and reflect the software's true runtime behavior. While the extent of research in this field is still relatively limited, particularly when compared to research on static metrics, the field is growing, given the inherent advantages of dynamic metrics. The aim of this work is to systematically investigate the body of research on dynamic software metrics to identify issues associated with their selection, design and implementation. Mapping studies are being increasingly used in software engineering to characterize an emerging body of research and to identify gaps in the field under investigation. In this study we identified and evaluated 60 works based on a set of defined selection criteria. These studies were further classified and analyzed to identify their relativity to future dynamic metrics research. The classification was based on three different facets: research focus, research type and contribution type. We found a strong body of research related to dynamic coupling and cohesion metrics, with most works also addressing the abstract notion of software complexity. Specific opportunities for future work relate to a much broader range of quality dimensions.

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  • Data accumulation and software effort prediction

    MacDonell, SG; Shepperd, M (2011-10-31)

    Conference item
    Auckland University of Technology

    BACKGROUND: In reality project managers are constrained by the incremental nature of data collection. Specifically, project observations are accumulated one project at a time. Likewise within-project data are accumulated one stage or phase at a time. However, empirical researchers have given limited attention to this perspective. PROBLEM: Consequently, our analyses may be biased. On the one hand, our predictions may be optimistic due to the availability of the entire data set, but on the other hand pessimistic due to the failure to capitalize upon the temporal nature of the data. Our goals are (i) to explore the impact of ignoring time when building cost prediction models and (ii) to show the benefits of re-estimating using completed phase data during a project. METHOD: Using a small industrial data set of sixteen software projects from a single organization we compare predictive models developed using a time-aware approach with a more traditional leave-one-out analysis. We then investigate the impact of using requirements, design and implementation phase data on estimating subsequent phase effort. RESULTS: First, we find that failure to take the temporal nature of data into account leads to unreliable estimates of their predictive efficacy. Second, for this organization, prior-phase effort data could be used to improve the management of subsequent process tasks. CONCLUSION: We should collect time-related data and use it in our analyses. Failure to do so may lead to incorrect conclusions being drawn, and may also inhibit industrial take up of our research work.

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  • Early experiences in measuring multimedia systems development effort

    Fletcher, T; MacDonell, SG; Wong, WBL (2012-03-22)

    Conference item
    Auckland University of Technology

    The development of multimedia information systems must be managed and controlled just as it is for other generic system types. This paper proposes an approach for assessing multimedia component and system characteristics with a view to ultimately using these features to estimate the associated development effort. Given the different nature of multimedia systems, existing metrics do not appear to be entirely useful in this domain; however, some general principles can still be applied in analysis. Some basic assertions concerning the influential characteristics of multimedia systems are made and a small preliminary set of data is evaluated.

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  • Applying soft systems methodology to multimedia systems requirements analysis

    Butt, DZ; Fletcher, T; MacDonell, SG; Norris, BE; Wong, WBL (2012-04-04)

    Conference item
    Auckland University of Technology

    The Soft Systems Methodology (SSM) was used to identify requirements for the development of one or more information systems for a local company. The outcome of using this methodology was the development of three multimedia information systems. This paper discusses the use of the SSM when developing for multimedia environments. Namely, this paper covers the problems with traditional methods of requirements analysis (which the SSM addresses), how the SSM can he used to elicit multimedia information system requirements, and our personal experience of the method. Our personal experience is discussed in terms of the systems we developed using the SSM.

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  • The impact of sampling and rule set size on generated fuzzy inference system predictive accuracy: analysis of a software engineering data set

    MacDonell, SG (2012-03-10)

    Conference item
    Auckland University of Technology

    Abstract. Software project management makes extensive use of predictive modeling to estimate product size, defect proneness and development effort. Although uncertainty is acknowledged in these tasks, fuzzy inference systems, designed to cope well with uncertainty, have received only limited attention in the software engineering domain. In this study we empirically investigate the impact of two choices on the predictive accuracy of generated fuzzy inference systems when applied to a software engineering data set: sampling of observations for training and testing; and the size of the rule set generated using fuzzy c-means clustering. Over ten samples we found no consistent pattern of predictive performance given certain rule set size. We did find, however, that a rule set compiled from multiple samples generally resulted in more accurate predictions than single sample rule sets. More generally, the results provide further evidence of the sensitivity of empirical analysis outcomes to specific model-building decisions.

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  • Assessing the degree of spatial isomorphism for exploratory spatial analysis

    Holt, A; MacDonell, SG; Benwell, GL (2012-03-10)

    Conference item
    Auckland University of Technology

    This research continues with current innovative geocomputational research trends that aim to provide enhanced spatial analysis tools. The coupling of case-based reasoning (CBR) with GIS provides the focus of this paper. This coupling allows the retrieval, reuse, revision and retention of previous similar spatial cases. CBR is therefore used to develop more complex spatial data modelling methods (by using the CBR modules for improved spatial data manipulation) and provide enhanced exploratory geographical analysis tools (to find and assess certain patterns and relationships that may exist in spatial databases). This paper details the manner in which spatial similarity is assessed, for the purpose of re-using previous spatial cases. The authors consider similarity assessment a useful concept for retrieving and analysing spatial information as it may help researchers describe and explore a certain phenomena, its immediate environment and its relationships to other phenomena. This paper will address the following questions: What makes phenomena similar? What is the definition of similarity? What principles govern similarity? and How can similarity be measured? Generally, phenomena are similar when they share common attributes and circumstances. The degree of similarity depends on the type and number of commonalties they share. Within this research, similarity is examined from a spatial perspective. Spatial similarity is broadly defined by the authors as the spatial matching and ranking according to a specific context and scale. More specifically, similarity is governed by context (function, use, reason, goal, users frame-of mind), scale (coarse or fine level), repository (the application, local domain, site and data specifics), techniques (the available technology for searching, retrieving and recognising data) and measure and ranking systems. The degree of match is the score between a source and a target. In spatial matching a source and a target could be a pixel, region or coverage. The principles that govern spatial similarity are not just the attributes but also the relationships between two phenomena. This is one reason why CBR coupled with a GIS is fortuitous. A GIS is used symbiotically to extract spatial variables that can be used by CBR to determine similar spatial relations between phenomena. These spatial relations are used to assess the similarity between two phenomena (for example proximity and neighborhood analysis). Developing the concept of spatial similarity could assist with analysing spatial databases by developing techniques to match similar areas. This would help maximise the information that could be extracted from spatial databases. From an exploratory perspective, spatial similarity serves as an organising principle by which spatial phenomena are classified, relationships identified and generalisations made from previous bona fide experiences or knowledge. This paper will investigate the spatial similarity concept.

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  • Data quality in empirical software engineering: a targeted review

    Bosu, MF; MacDonell, SG (2013-06-24)

    Conference item
    Auckland University of Technology

    Context: The utility of prediction models in empirical software engineering (ESE) is heavily reliant on the quality of the data used in building those models. Several data quality challenges such as noise, incompleteness, outliers and duplicate data points may be relevant in this regard. Objective: We investigate the reporting of three potentially influential elements of data quality in ESE studies: data collection, data pre-processing, and the identification of data quality issues. This enables us to establish how researchers view the topic of data quality and the mechanisms that are being used to address it. Greater awareness of data quality should inform both the sound conduct of ESE research and the robust practice of ESE data collection and processing. Method: We performed a targeted literature review of empirical software engineering studies covering the period January 2007 to September 2012. A total of 221 relevant studies met our inclusion criteria and were characterized in terms of their consideration and treatment of data quality. Results: We obtained useful insights as to how the ESE community considers these three elements of data quality. Only 23 of these 221 studies reported on all three elements of data quality considered in this paper. Conclusion: The reporting of data collection procedures is not documented consistently in ESE studies. It will be useful if data collection challenges are reported in order to improve our understanding of why there are problems with software engineering data sets and the models developed from them. More generally, data quality should be given far greater attention by the community. The improvement of data sets through enhanced data collection, pre-processing and quality assessment should lead to more reliable prediction models, thus improving the practice of software engineering.

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  • Analysing the use of graphs to represent the results of systematic reviews in software engineering

    Felizardo, KR,; Riaz, M,; Sulayman, M,; Mendes, E; MacDonell, SG; Maldonaldo, JC (2011-12-10)

    Conference item
    Auckland University of Technology

    The presentation of results from Systematic Literature Reviews (SLRs) is generally done using tables. Prior research suggests that results summarized in tables are often difficult for readers to understand. One alternative to improve results' comprehensibility is to use graphical representations. The aim of this work is twofold: first, to investigate whether graph representations result is better comprehensibility than tables when presenting SLR results; second, to investigate whether interpretation using graphs impacts on performance, as measured by the time consumed to analyse and understand the data. We selected an SLR published in the literature and used two different formats to represent its results - tables and graphs, in three different combinations: (i) table format only; (ii) graph format only; and (iii) a mixture of tables and graphs. We conducted an experiment that compared the performance and capability of experts in SLR, as well as doctoral and masters students, in analysing and understanding the results of the SLR, as presented in one of the three different forms. We were interested in examining whether there is difference between the performance of participants using tables and graphs. The graphical representation of SLR data led to a reduction in the time taken for its analysis, without any loss in data comprehensibility. For our sample the analysis of graphical data proved to be faster than the analysis of tabular data. However, we found no evidence of a difference in comprehensibility whether using tables, graphical format or a combination. Overall we argue that graphs are a suitable alternative to tables when it comes to representing the results of an SLR.

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  • A fuzzy logic approach to computer software source code authorship analysis

    Kilgour, RI; Gray, AR; Sallis, PJ; MacDonell, SG (2012-03-10)

    Conference item
    Auckland University of Technology

    Software source code authorship analysis has become an important area in recent years with promising applications in both the legal sector (such as proof of ownership and software forensics) and the education sector (such as plagiarism detection and assessing style). Authorship analysis encompasses the sub-areas of author discrimination, author characterization, and similarity detection (also referred to as plagiarism detection). While a large number of metrics have been proposed for this task, many borrowed or adapted from the area of computational linguistics, there is a difficulty with capturing certain types of information in terms of quantitative measurement. Here it is proposed that existing numerical metrics should be supplemented with fuzzy-logic linguistic variables to capture more subjective elements of authorship, such as the degree to which comments match the actual source code’s behavior. These variables avoid the need for complex and subjective rules, replacing these with an expert’s judgement. Fuzzy-logic models may also help to overcome problems with small data sets for calibrating such models. Using authorship discrimination as a test case, the utility of objective and fuzzy measures, singularly and in combination, is assessed as well as the consistency of the measures between counters.

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  • The true role of active communicators: an empirical study of Jazz core developers

    Licorish, SA; MacDonell, SG (2013-06-24)

    Conference item
    Auckland University of Technology

    Context: Interest in software engineering (SE) methodologies and tools has been complemented in recent years by research efforts oriented towards understanding the human processes involved in software development. This shift has been imperative given reports of inadequately performing teams and the consequent growing emphasis on individuals and team relations in contemporary SE methods. Objective: While software repositories have frequently been studied with a view to explaining such human processes, research has tended to use primarily quantitative analysis approaches. There is concern, however, that such approaches can provide only a partial picture of the software process. Given the way human behavior is nuanced within psychological and social contexts, it has been asserted that a full understanding may only be achieved through deeper contextual enquiries. Method: We have followed such an approach and have applied data mining, SNA, psycholinguistic analysis and directed content analysis (CA) to study the way core developers at IBM Rational Jazz contribute their social and intellectual capital, and have compared the attitudes, interactions and activities of these members to those of their less active counterparts. Results: Among our results, we uncovered that Jazz's core developers worked across multiple roles, and were crucial to their teams' organizational, intra-personal and interpersonal processes. Additionally, although these individuals were highly task- and achievement-focused, they were also largely responsible for maintaining positive team atmosphere. Further, we uncovered that, as a group, Jazz developers spent a large amount of time providing context awareness in support of their colleagues. Conclusion: Our results suggest that high-performing distributed agile teams rely on both individual and collective efforts, as well as organizational environments that promote informal and organic work structures.

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  • Self-organising roles in agile globally distributed teams

    Licorish, SA; MacDonell, SG

    Conference item
    Auckland University of Technology

    The ability to self-organise is posited to be a fundamental requirement for successful agile teams. In particular, self-organising teams are said to be crucial in agile globally distributed software development (AGSD) settings, where distance exacerbates team issues. We used contextual analysis to study the specific interaction behaviours and enacted roles of practitioners working in multiple AGSD teams. Our results show that the teams studied were extremely task focussed, and those who occupied team lead or programmer roles were central to their teams’ self-organisation. These findings have implications for AGSD teams, and particularly for instances when programmers – or those occupying similar non-leadership positions – may not be willing to accept such responsibilities. We discuss the implications of our findings for information system development (ISD) practice.

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