Threshold Extraction Framework for Software Metrics

Mohammed Alqmase, Mohammad Alshayeb*, Lahouari Ghouti

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Software metrics are used to measure different attributes of software. To practically measure software attributes using these metrics, metric thresholds are needed. Many researchers attempted to identify these thresholds based on personal experiences. However, the resulted experience-based thresholds cannot be generalized due to the variability in personal experiences and the subjectivity of opinions. The goal of this paper is to propose an automated clustering framework based on the expectation maximization (EM) algorithm where clusters are generated using a simplified 3-metric set (LOC, LCOM, and CBO). Given these clusters, different threshold levels for software metrics are systematically determined such that each threshold reflects a specific level of software quality. The proposed framework comprises two major steps: the clustering step where the software quality historical dataset is decomposed into a fixed set of clusters using the EM algorithm, and the threshold extraction step where thresholds, specific to each software metric in the resulting clusters, are estimated using statistical measures such as the mean (μ) and the standard deviation (σ) of each software metric in each cluster. The paper’s findings highlight the capability of EM-based clustering, using a minimum metric set, to group software quality datasets according to different quality levels.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1063-1078
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Computer Science and Technology
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1 Sep 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019, Springer Science+Business Media, LLC & Science Press, China.


  • empirical study
  • expectation maximization
  • metric threshold

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Theoretical Computer Science
  • Hardware and Architecture
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Computational Theory and Mathematics


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