Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Carver, Jeffery

Committee Member

Allen, Edward

Committee Member

Swan, Edward J.

Committee Member

Vaughn, Rayford

Date of Degree


Document Type

Dissertation - Open Access


Computer Science

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


James Worth Bagley College of Engineering


Department of Computer Science and Engineering


Software maintenance is one of the most crucial aspects of software development. Software engineering researchers must develop practical solutions to handle the challenges presented in maintaining mature software systems. Research that addresses practical means of mitigating the risks involved when changing software, reducing the complexity of mature software systems, and eliminating the introduction of preventable bugs is paramount to today’s software engineering discipline. Giving software developers the information that they need to make quality decisions about changes that will negatively affect their software systems is a key aspect to mitigating those risks. This dissertation presents work performed to assist developers to collect and process data that plays a role in change decision-making during the maintenance phase. To address these problems, developers need a way to better understand the effects of a change prior to making the change. This research addresses the problems associated with increasing architectural complexity caused by software change using a twoold approach. The first approach is to characterize software changes to assess their architectural impact prior to their implementation. The second approach is to identify a set of architecture metrics that correlate to system quality and maintainability and to use these metrics to determine the level of difficulty involved in making a change. The two approaches have been combined and the results presented provide developers with a beneficial analysis framework that offers insight into the change process.