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Predicting Fault-Prone Software Modules in Telephone Switches
December 1996 (vol. 22 no. 12)
pp. 886-894

Abstract—An empirical study was carried out at Ericsson Telecom AB to investigate the relationship between several design metrics and the number of function test failure reports associated with software modules. A tool, ERIMET, was developed to analyze the design documents automatically. Preliminary results from the study of 130 modules showed that: 1) based on fault and design data one can satisfactorily build, before coding has started, a prediction model for identifying the most fault-prone modules. The data analyzed show that 20 percent of the most fault-prone modules account for 60 percent of all faults. The prediction model built in this paper would have identified 20 percent of the modules accounting for 47 percent of all faults; 2) at least four design measures can alternatively be used as predictors with equivalent performance; 3) size (with respect to the number of lines of code) used in a previous prediction model was not significantly better than these four measures; and 4) the Alberg diagram introduced in this paper offers a way of assessing a predictor based on historical data, which is a valuable complement to linear regression when prediction data is ordinal. Applying the method described in this paper makes it possible to use measures at the design phase to predict the most fault-prone modules.

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Index Terms:
Complexity, empirical study, fault-prone modules, metrics, prediction, software measurement, regression analysis, software reliability, statistical analysis.
Citation:
Niclas Ohlsson, Hans Alberg, "Predicting Fault-Prone Software Modules in Telephone Switches," IEEE Transactions on Software Engineering, vol. 22, no. 12, pp. 886-894, Dec. 1996, doi:10.1109/32.553637
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