Evaluating the performance of clone detection tools in detecting cloned co-change candidates

Author:- Md Nadim, Manishankar Mondal, Chanchal K. Roy, Kevin A. Schneider
Category:- Journal; Year:- 2022
Discipline:- Computer Science & Engineering Discipline
School:- Science, Engineering & Technology School


Co-change candidates are the group of code fragments that require a change if any of these fragments experience a modification in a commit operation during software evolution. The cloned co-change candidates are a subset of the co-change candidates, and the members in this subset are clones of one another. The cloned co-change candidates are usually created by reusing existing code fragments in a software system. Detecting cloned co-change candidates is essential for clone-tracking, and studies have shown that we can use clone detection tools to find cloned co-change candidates. However, although several studies evaluate clone detection tools for their accuracy in detecting cloned fragments, we found no study that evaluates clone detection tools for detecting cloned co-change candidates. In this study, we explore the dimension of code clone research for detecting cloned co-change candidates. We compare the performance of 12 different configurations of nine promising clone detection tools in identifying cloned co-change candidates from eight open-source C and Java-based subject systems of various sizes and application domains. A ranked list and analysis of the results provides valuable insights and guidelines into selecting and configuring a clone detection tool for identifying co-change candidates and leads to a new dimension of code clone research into change impact analysis.

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