Date of Award

12-2013

Degree Name

MS in Computer Science

Department

Computer Science

Advisor

Alexander Dekhtyar

Abstract

Software permeates every aspect of our modern lives. In many applications, such in the software for airplane flight controls, or nuclear power control systems software failures can have catastrophic consequences. As we place so much trust in software, how can we know if it is trustworthy? Through software assurance, we can attempt to quantify just that.

Building complex, high assurance software is no simple task. The difficult information landscape of a software engineering project can make verification and validation, the process by which the assurance of a software is assessed, very difficult. In order to manage the inevitable information overload of complex software projects, we need software traceability, "the ability to describe and follow the life of a requirement, in both forwards and backwards direction."

The Center of Excellence for Software Traceability (CoEST) has created a compelling research agenda with the goal of ubiquitous traceability by 2035. As part of this goal, they have developed TraceLab, a visual experimental workbench built to support design, implementation, and execution of traceability experiments. Through our collaboration with CoEST, we have made several contributions to TraceLab and its community.

This work contributes to the goals of the traceability research community. The three key contributions are (a) a machine learning component package for TraceLab featuring six (6) classifier algorithms, five (5) clustering algorithms, and a total of over 40 components for creating TraceLab experiments, built upon the WEKA machine learning package, as well as implementing methods outside of WEKA; (b) the design for an automated tracing system that uses clustering to decompose the task of tracing into many smaller tracing subproblems; and (c) an implementation of several key components of this tracing system using TraceLab and its experimental evaluation.

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