Date of Award

Spring 5-22-2020

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph.D.

Degree Program

Engineering and Applied Science

Department

Computer Science

Major Professor

Minhaz F. Zibran

Second Advisor

Md Tamjidul Hoque

Third Advisor

Shengru Tu

Fourth Advisor

Linxiong Li

Fifth Advisor

Syed Adeel Ahmed

Abstract

The impact of software is ever increasing as more and more systems are being software operated. Despite the usefulness of software, many instances software failures have been causing tremendous losses in lives and dollars. Software failures take place because of bugs (i.e., faults) in the software systems. These bugs cause the program to malfunction or crash and expose security vulnerabilities exploitable by malicious hackers.

Studies confirm that software defects and vulnerabilities appear in source code largely due to the human mistakes and errors of the developers. Human performance is impacted by the underlying development process and human affects, such as sentiment and emotion. This thesis examines these human affects of software developers, which have drawn recent interests in the community. For capturing developers’ sentimental and emotional states, we have developed several software tools (i.e., SentiStrength-SE, DEVA, and MarValous). These are novel tools facilitating automatic detection of sentiments and emotions from the software engineering textual artifacts.

Using such an automated tool, the developers’ sentimental variations are studied with respect to the underlying development tasks (e.g., bug-fixing, bug-introducing), development periods (i.e., days and times), team sizes and project sizes. We expose opportunities for exploiting developers’ sentiments for higher productivity and improved software quality.

While developers’ sentiments and emotions can be leveraged for proactive and active safeguard in identifying and minimizing software bugs, this dissertation also includes in-depth studies of the relationship among various bug patterns, such as software defects, security vulnerabilities, and code smells to find actionable insights in minimizing software bugs and improving software quality and security. Bug patterns are exposed through mining software repositories and bug databases. These bug patterns are crucial in localizing bugs and security vulnerabilities in software codebase for fixing them, predicting portions of software susceptible to failure or exploitation by hackers, devising techniques for automated program repair, and avoiding code constructs and coding idioms that are bug-prone.

The software tools produced from this thesis are empirically evaluated using standard measurement metrics (e.g., precision, recall). The findings of all the studies are validated with appropriate tests for statistical significance. Finally, based on our experience and in-depth analysis of the present state of the art, we expose avenues for further research and development towards a holistic approach for developing improved and secure software systems.

Rights

The University of New Orleans and its agents retain the non-exclusive license to archive and make accessible this dissertation or thesis in whole or in part in all forms of media, now or hereafter known. The author retains all other ownership rights to the copyright of the thesis or dissertation.

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