AN INVESTIGATION OF MERGING AND COLLAPSING OF SOFTWARE NETWORKS
S. R. KIRK
We explore the use of complex networks for understanding of the interaction of computer software applications written in the Java object-oriented language with the "library classes" that they use (those provided by the Java Runtime Environment) as, essentially, a merged network of classes. The dependence of the software on the library is quantified using a recently introduced model that identifies phases close to a second-order phase transition existing in scale-free networks. An example is given of a piece of software whose class network collapses without the presence of the library classes, providing validation of a novel structural coupling measure; Rcoupling. The structural properties of the merged software-Java class networks were found to correlate with the proportion of Java classes contained within the subset delimited by Rcoupling. A mechanism for the preservation of the software class network is also provided for the cases studied where the removal of the library classes does not cause collapse.
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