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Given a binary relationship between objects and attributes, concept analysis is a powerful technique to organize pairs of related sets of objects and attributes into a concept lattice, where higher level concepts represent general features shared by many objects, while lower level concepts represent the object-specific features. Concept analysis was recently applied to several software engineering problems, such as: restructuring the code into more cohesive components, identifying class candidates, locating features in the code by means of dynamic analysis, reengineering class hierarchies. This paper provides the background knowledge required by such applications. Moreover, the methodological issues involved in the different applications of this technique are considered by giving a detailed presentation of three of them: module restructuring, design pattern inference and impact analysis based on decomposition slicing. The paper is concluded by an overview on other kinds of applications.
Date of Conference: 23-28 May 2004