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The CERT Function Extraction Experiment: Quantifying FX Impact on Software Comprehension and Verification

December 2005 Technical Note
Rosann W. Collins, Alan R. Hevner (University of South Florida), Gwendolyn H. Walton, Richard C. Linger (Oak Ridge National Laboratory)

In this report, the authors describe an experiment comparing traditional methods of comprehension with automated behavior computation using an FX prototype.

Publisher:

Software Engineering Institute

CMU/SEI Report Number

CMU/SEI-2005-TN-047

Abstract

Function Extraction (FX) is a new, theory-based technology for automated calculation of the functional behavior of software. The CERT Function Extraction experiment was conducted so as to better understand the impact of FX on human comprehension and verification of soft-ware and to rigorously quantify the business case for FX technology. This report describes the results of the controlled experiment that was performed to compare traditional manual methods of comprehension with automated behavior computation using an FX prototype. The results of the experiment show a substantial increase in human capabilities for software comprehension and verification using FX technology.