An Extensive Analysis of Machine Learning Based Boosting Algorithms for Software Maintainability Prediction

Software Maintainability is an indispensable factor to acclaim for the quality of particular software. It describes the ease to perform several maintenance activities to make a software adaptable to the modified environment. The availability & growing popularity of a wide range of Machine Learning (ML) algorithms for data analysis further provides the motivation for predicting this maintainability. However, an extensive analysis & comparison of various ML based Boosting Algorithms (BAs) for Software Maintainability Prediction (SMP) has not been made yet. Therefore, the current study analyzes and compares five different BAs, i.e., AdaBoost, GBM, XGB, LightGBM, and CatBoost, for SMP using open-source datasets. Performance of the propounded prediction models has been evaluated using Root Mean Square Error (RMSE), Mean Magnitude of Relative Error (MMRE), Pred(0.25), Pred(0.30), & Pred(0.75) as prediction accuracy measures followed by a non-parametric statistical test and a post hoc analysis to account for the differences in the performances of various BAs. Based on the residual errors obtained, it was observed that GBM is the best performer, followed by LightGBM for RMSE, whereas, in the case of MMRE, XGB performed the best for six out of the seven datasets, i.e., for 85.71% of the total datasets by providing minimum values for MMRE, ranging from 0.90 to 3.82. Further, on applying the statistical test and on performing the post hoc analysis, it was found that significant differences exist in the performance of different BAs and, XGB and CatBoost outperformed all other BAs for MMRE. Lastly, a comparison of BAs with four other ML algorithms has also been made to bring out BAs superiority over other algorithms. This study would open new doors for the software developers for carrying out comparatively more precise predictions well in time and hence reduce the overall maintenance costs.
Year of Publication
International Journal of Interactive Multimedia and Artificial Intelligence
Regular Issue
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