The Open UniversitySkip to content

Improving feature location using structural similarity and iterative graph mapping

Peng, Xin; Xing, Zhenchang; Tan, Xi; Yu, Yijun and Zhao, Wenyun (2013). Improving feature location using structural similarity and iterative graph mapping. Journal of Systems and Software, 86(3) pp. 664–676.

Full text available as:
PDF (Accepted Manuscript) - Requires a PDF viewer such as GSview, Xpdf or Adobe Acrobat Reader
Download (901kB) | Preview
DOI (Digital Object Identifier) Link:
Google Scholar: Look up in Google Scholar


Locating program element(s) relevant to a particular feature is an important step in efficient maintenance of a software system. The existing feature location techniques analyze each feature independently and perform a one-time analysis after being provided an initial input. As a result, these techniques are sensitive to the quality of the input. In this paper, we propose to address the above issues in feature location using an iterative context-aware approach. The underlying intuition is that features are not independent of each other, and the structure of source code resembles the structure of features. The distinguishing characteristics of the proposed approach are: (1) it takes into account the structural similarity between a feature and a program element to determine feature-element relevance; (2) it employs an iterative process to propagate the relevance of the established mappings between a feature and a program element to the neighboring features and program elements. We evaluate our approach using two different systems, DirectBank, a small-scale industry financial system, and Linux kernel, a large-scale open-source operating system. Our evaluation suggests that the proposed approach is more robust and can significantly increase the recall of feature location with only a minor decrease of precision.

Item Type: Journal Item
Copyright Holders: 2012 Elsevier Inc.
ISSN: 0164-1212
Project Funding Details:
Funded Project NameProject IDFunding Body
Not Set60703092National Natural Science Foundation of China
Not Set2012AA011202National High Technology Development 863 Program of China
Not Set20100071110031National Research Foundation for the Doctoral Program of Higher Education of China
Not Set90818009National Natural Science Foundation of China
Keywords: feature location; traceability recovery; information retrieval; structural similarity
Academic Unit/School: Faculty of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) > Computing and Communications
Faculty of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM)
Research Group: Centre for Research in Computing (CRC)
Item ID: 35684
Depositing User: Yijun Yu
Date Deposited: 05 Dec 2012 16:17
Last Modified: 07 Dec 2018 13:36
Share this page:


Altmetrics from Altmetric

Citations from Dimensions

Download history for this item

These details should be considered as only a guide to the number of downloads performed manually. Algorithmic methods have been applied in an attempt to remove automated downloads from the displayed statistics but no guarantee can be made as to the accuracy of the figures.

Actions (login may be required)

Policies | Disclaimer

© The Open University   contact the OU