<  Back to the Polytechnique Montréal portal

An empirical study on the relation between identifiers and fault proneness

Venera Arnaoudova, Laleh Eshkevari, Rocco Oliveto, Yann-Gaël Guéhéneuc and Giuliano Antoniol

Technical Report (2010)

Published Version
Terms of Use: All rights reserved.
Download (885kB)
Cite this document: Arnaoudova, V., Eshkevari, L., Oliveto, R., Guéhéneuc, Y.-G. & Antoniol, G. (2010). An empirical study on the relation between identifiers and fault proneness (Technical Report n° EPM-RT-2010-02).
Show abstract Hide abstract


Poorly-chosen identifiers have been reported in the literature as misleading and increasing the program comprehension effort. Identifiers are composed of terms, which can be dictionary words, acronyms, contractions, or simple strings. We conjecture that the use of identical terms in different contexts may increase the risk of faults. We investigate our conjecture using a measure combining term entropy and term context-coverage to study whether certain terms increase the odds ratios of methods to be fault-prone. Entropy measures the physical dispersion of terms in a program: the higher the entropy, the more scattered across the program the terms. Context coverage measures the conceptual dispersion of terms: the higher their context coverage, the more unrelated the methods using them. We compute term entropy and context-coverage of terms extracted from identifiers in Rhino 1.4R3 and ArgoUML 0.16. We show statistically that methods containing terms with high entropy and context-coverage are more fault-prone than others.

Uncontrolled Keywords

Source code identifiers, fault models, program comprehension

Open Access document in PolyPublie
Subjects: 2700 Technologie de l'information > 2700 Technologie de l'information
2700 Technologie de l'information > 2705 Logiciels et développement
2700 Technologie de l'information > 2706 Génie logiciel
2700 Technologie de l'information > 2720 Logiciel de systèmes informatiques
Department: Département de génie informatique et génie logiciel
Funders: CRSNG/NSERC, Fonds de recherche Nature et technologies Québec
Date Deposited: 06 Oct 2017 13:52
Last Modified: 16 Jun 2021 17:09
PolyPublie URL: https://publications.polymtl.ca/2651/
Document issued by the official publisher
Report number: EPM-RT-2010-02


Total downloads

Downloads per month in the last year

Origin of downloads

Repository Staff Only