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Improving Automatic Abbreviation Expansion within Source Code to Aid in Program Search Tools. Zak Fry. Outline. Problem and Motivation Automatically Identifying Abbreviation Expansions A Scoped Approach Analysis and Refinement: iScope Evaluations Conclusions. Maintenance Tasks.

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improving automatic abbreviation expansion within source code to aid in program search tools

Improving Automatic Abbreviation Expansion within Source Code to Aid in Program Search Tools

Zak Fry

outline
Outline
  • Problem and Motivation
  • Automatically Identifying Abbreviation Expansions
  • A Scoped Approach
  • Analysis and Refinement: iScope
  • Evaluations
  • Conclusions
maintenance tasks
Maintenance Tasks
  • 60-90% of software lifecycle
  • Problem: id where relevant code is – where changes need to be made
  • Code to perform a certain task can be very scattered
  • Causes difficulty for current maintenance search tools
challenges coding practices
Challenges - Coding Practices
  • Identifier names important for code documentation and understanding
  • Problem: Programmers’ use of abbreviations in code
    • Frequency of occurrence
      • character, integer, string
    • Complex inheritance – long class names
      • SecureMessageServiceClientMessageImpl
  • Negates usefulness of identifier names and complicates program understanding
abbreviations and maintenance tools
Abbreviations and Maintenance Tools
  • Problem: Search based maintenance tools rely on natural language
    • Abbreviations change the natural language
  • Search Term: “distributed hash”

dht = (DHTPlugin)dht_pi.getPlugin(); Thread t = new AEThread( "DHTTrackerPlugin:init" ) { public void runSupport() { try{ if ( dht.isEnabled()){ log.log( "DDB Available" ); } }

catch( Throwable e ){ log.log( "DDB Failed", e ); } ... }

}

automatically identifying abbreviation expansions
Automatically Identifying Abbreviation Expansions
  • First, how do we identify candidates for expansion?
    • Non-dictionary words
  • Abbreviation
    • Short form
  • Expansion
    • Long form
state of the art
State of the Art
  • Lawrie, Feild, and Binkley
    • Abbreviation Expansion
    • Problem:
      • Lack of precision
      • No support for choosing between multiple matches
scoped approach
Scoped Approach
  • How to choose between multiple possible long forms:
    • By manual inspection we found correct long forms are more likely to be found in certain locations
    • Also, correctly identifying the long forms for certain types of abbreviations is easier than for others
general algorithm
General Algorithm

Acronym

Prefix

multiple matches
Multiple matches
  • We assume one best candidate though multiple might be present at the same level of scope
  • If multiple matches:
    • Examine frequencies
    • Stem long forms and reexamine frequencies
    • Broaden Scope and reexamine frequencies
    • Most frequent expansion
most frequent expansion mfe
Most Frequent Expansion (MFE)
  • If still no ideal candidate is found:
    • We mined long forms from 1.5 million LOC of Java 5 code base
    • Return most frequent long form as last resort
evaluation of scoped approach
Evaluation of Scoped Approach
  • 250 abbreviations from 5 subject programs
  • Gold standard developed by human developer inspecting the code manually
  • Implemented LFB according to description
    • Except combination words – due to missing database

(Accuracy)

analysis and refinement iscope
Analysis and Refinement - iScope
  • Analyzed results and found 3 major sources of problems
  • Developed iScope by addressing these 3 major problem areas
order of scoping
Order of Scoping
  • Problem:
    • Scoped approach ordering: examine every context for an abbreviation type then go to next type
      • Investigating broader contexts for one type before even the narrowest context for another type is likely to yield incorrect matches

Insight: Context is more sensitive than type

Solution: Check each type at each context level, then go to next context level (switch order)

single letter abbreviations
Single Letter Abbreviations
  • Problem:
    • Developers use single letter abbreviations differently than multiple letter abbreviations
    • A large subset are actually semantically meaningless
    • Single letter very easily matched especially because prefix matching is greedy

Reader r = new BufferedReader()

Insight: Based on manual inspection, we found that meaningful single letter short forms were identifiers whose long forms were also their type name

Solution: Limit contextual scope to type only

hyper common abbreviation
Hyper-Common Abbreviation

Problem: Some abbreviations used so often in code that long form rarely ever co-occurs leading to incorrect expansion based on coincidence

Solution: Mine a small set of extremely common abbreviations and use as a preprocessing step

evaluations
Evaluations
  • Is our method accurate enough to be useful?
    • Reevaluation of previous experiment
  • Does abbreviation expansion help maintenance tasks?
    • Simple Search
    • Concern Location Task
1 reevaluation of previous test
1. Reevaluation of Previous Test
  • Based on our previous experimental methodology and metrics, how much improvement was made from Scope to iScope?
  • Modified goldset based on new assumptions – single letter abbreviations
1 reevaluation of previous test results
1. Reevaluation of Previous Test - Results

Compare LFB with Scope and iScope using non combinational word (NCW) accuracy values

Compare JavaMFE, ProgMFE, Scope, and iScope using the total accuracy values

2 simple search evaluation
2. Simple Search Evaluation
  • When abbreviations are expanded in software, how many more search results are returned than without expansion?
  • Focus: Recall
    • Not missing important results – want as many potentially relevant results as possible
  • Metric: Percent increase in results
    • P.I. = Raw returned results with expansion - 100%

Raw returned results without expansion

2 simple search evaluation cont
2. Simple Search Evaluation (cont)
  • Subjects: 215 concerns(Eaddy et al.) annotated by 3 people each for total of 645 queries
    • Developed independent of the idea of abbreviation expansion – many queries might not be affected by abbreviation expansion at all
  • “Match”: if any word in the query matches any word in the method considered a match and returned as a result
2 simple search evaluation results
2. Simple Search Evaluation - Results
  • Less increase with iScope – single letter abbreviation false positive decrease
  • Ideally, this means quality is better
    • experiment 3
3 evaluation with concern location
3. Evaluation with Concern Location
  • Concern location task: identification of methods that are deemed to be relevant for the given search term
  • How much increase in effectiveness can be gained from expanding abbreviations in source code when performing concern location tasks?
3 evaluation methodology
3. Evaluation Methodology
  • Tools: Latent Semantic Indexing(LSI) and Log Entropy-based concern location
    • Goals: Attempt to calculate similarity values based on location and frequency of potential query matches
  • Subjects: same as previous experiment
3 methodology cont
3. Methodology (cont)
  • Metric: Mean Average Precision (MAP)
    • Precision: # True positives / Total # of positives
    • MAP:
      • Collect precision values for every new true positive, going down the ranked returned results
      • Then take average of all results
    • Attempts to reward highly ranked true positives
conclusions
Conclusions
  • Abbreviation expansion is proven to be helpful in maintenance tools and processes
  • iScope approach improves upon Scope and greatly upon state-of-the-art
future work
Future Work
  • Further refinement of expansion process to achieve highest possible accuracy
  • Full integration into maintenance tool
  • Extension into other programming languages
acknowledgments
Acknowledgments
  • Emily Hill and Haley Boyd
  • Dr. Vijay K. Shanker and Dr. Lori Pollock
inherent inaccuracy
Inherent Inaccuracy

Problem: Additional errors in code not generalizable into solvable problems

Insight: There will always be inherent error when developing automatic systems for non-standard input

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