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A study of the applicability of complexity measures

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2 Author(s)
J. S. Davis ; Dept. of Manage., Clemson Univ., SC, USA ; R. J. LeBlanc

A study of the predictive value of a variety of syntax-based problem complexity measures is reported. Experimentation with variants of chunk-oriented measures showed that one should judiciously select measurable software attributes as proper indicators of what one wishes to predict, rather than hoping for a single, all-purpose complexity measure. The authors have shown that it is possible for particular complexity measures or other factors to serve as good predictors of some properties of program but not for others. For example, a good predictor of construction time will not necessarily correlate well with the number of error occurrences. M.H. Halstead's (1977) efforts measure (E) was found to be a better predictor that the two nonchunk measures evaluated, namely, T.J. McCabe's (1976) V(G) and lines of code, but at least one chunk measure predicted better than E in every case.<>

Published in:

IEEE Transactions on Software Engineering  (Volume:14 ,  Issue: 9 )