Empirical Validation of the RCDC and RCDE Semantic Complexity Metrics for Object-Oriented Software

Glenn W. Cox, Sampson E. Gholston, Dawn Utley, Letha H. Etzkorn, Cara E. Stein, Phil A. Farrington, Julie L. Fortune


The Relative Class Domain Complexity (RCDC) and Relative Class Definition Entropy (RCDE) semantic metrics have been proposed for use as complexity metrics for object-oriented software. These semantic metrics are calculated on a knowledge-based representation of software, following a knowledge-based program understanding examination of the software. The metrics have great potential because they can be applied during the software design phase whereas most complexity metrics cannot be applied until after development is complete. In this paper, we present the results of a study to empirically validate the RCDC and RCDE metrics. We show that the metrics compare favorably with the findings of human experts and also that they correlate well with the results of conventional complexity metrics.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.2498/cit.1000794

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