A study of the uniqueness of source code

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A study of the uniqueness of source code
This paper presents the results of the first study of the uniqueness of source code. We define the uniqueness of a unit of source code with respect to the entire body of written software, which we approximate with a corpus of 420 million lines of source code. Our high-level methodology consists of examining a collection of 6,000 software projects and measuring the degree to which each project can be `assembled' solely from portions of this corpus, thus providing a precise measure of `uniqueness' that we call syntactic redundancy. We parameterized our study over a variety of variables, the most important of which being the level of granularity at which we view source code. Our suite of experiments together consumed approximately four months of CPU time, providing quantitative answers to the following questions: at what levels of granularity is software unique, and at a given level of granularity, how unique is software? While we believe these questions to be of intrinsic inte...
Mark Gabel, Zhendong Su
Added 15 Feb 2011
Updated 15 Feb 2011
Type Journal
Year 2010
Authors Mark Gabel, Zhendong Su
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