Using a Concept Lattice of Decomposition Slices for Program Understanding and Impact Analysis


Decomposition slice graph and concept lattice are two program representations used to abstract the details of the code into a higher level view of the program. The decomposition slice graph partitions the program into computations performed on different variables and shows the dependence relation between computations, holding when a computation needs another computation as a building block. The concept lattice groups program entities which share common attributes and organize such groupings into a hierarchy of concepts, which are related through generalizations/specializations.

This paper investigates the relationship existing between these two program representations. The main result of this paper is a novel program representation, called concept lattice of decomposition slices, which is shown to be an extension of the decomposition slice graph, and is obtained by means of concept analysis, with additional nodes associated to weak interferences between computations, i.e., shared statements which are not decomposition slices. The concept lattice of decomposition slices can be used in support to software maintenance, by providing relevant information about the computations performed by a program and the related dependences/interferences, as well as by representing a natural data structure on which to conduct impact analysis. Preliminary results on small to medium size code support the applicability of this method at the intraprocedural level or when investigating the dependences among small groups of procedures.