Bilateral Dependency Neural Networks for Cross-Language Algorithm Classification

Bui, Nghi; Yu, Yijun and Jiang, Lingxiao (2019). Bilateral Dependency Neural Networks for Cross-Language Algorithm Classification. In: The 26th IEEE International Conference on Software Analysis, Evolution, and Reengineering (Lo, David and Shihab, Emad eds.), 24-27 Feb 2019, Hangzhou, China, IEEE Computer Society.


Algorithm classification is to automatically identify the classes of a program based on the algorithm(s) and/or data structure(s) implemented in the program. It can be useful for various tasks, such as code reuse, code theft detection, and malware detection. Code similarity metrics, on the basis of features extracted from syntax and semantics, have been used to classify programs. Such features, however, often need manual selection effort and are specific to individual programming languages, limiting the classifiers to programs in the same language.

To recognise the similarities and differences among algorithms implemented in different languages, this paper describes a framework of Bilateral Neural Networks (Bi-NN) that builds a neural network on top of two underlying sub-networks, each of which encodes syntax and semantics of code in one language. A whole Bi-NN can be trained with bilateral programs that implement the same algorithms and/or data structures in different languages and then be applied to recognise algorithm classes across languages.

We have instantiated the framework with several kinds of token-, tree- and graph-based neural networks that encode and learn various kinds of information in code. We have applied the instances of the framework to a code corpus collected from GitHub containing thousands of Java and C++ programs implementing 50 different algorithms and data structures.

Our evaluation results show that the use of Bi-NN indeed produces promising algorithm classification results both within one language and across languages, and the encoding of dependencies from code into the underlying neural networks helps improve algorithm classification accuracy further. In particular, our custom-built dependency trees with tree-based convolutional neural networks achieve the highest classification accuracy among the different instances of the framework that we have evaluated.

Our study points to a possible future research direction to tailor bilateral and multilateral neural networks that encode more relevant semantics for code learning, mining and analysis tasks.

Viewing alternatives

Download history

Item Actions