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A case similarity metric for software reuse and design

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  04 May 2001

Centro de Informática e Sistemas da Universidade de Coimbra, Coimbra, Portugal
Centro de Informática e Sistemas da Universidade de Coimbra, Coimbra, Portugal


When the idea of software reuse appeared in 1968, new horizons for software design were open. But some major problems appeared and most of the expectations were not met. One of the problems encountered is the selection of the right software component. This is related not only to the similarity between the desired functionality and the function delivered by the retrieved software component, but also to the effort needed to modify the chosen component to accommodate the desired functionality. Most of the research done in the case-based reasoning area has been in developing accurate and efficient retrieval algorithms. We think that case-based reasoning retrieval concepts and ideas can be successfully applied to software reuse. In this article we propose a metric to assess similarity between software cases supported on functional and behavioral knowledge. One important aspect of this metric is that reusability is taken into account to estimate the amount of effort needed to reuse retrieved software cases. We also present experimental work that shows that similarity at the functional level is the most important aspect of the similarity metric proposed.

Special Section: Topological representation and reasoning in design and manufacturing
© 2001 Cambridge University Press

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