A semantic relatedness approach for traceability link recovery

Anas Mahmoud, Nan Niu, Songhua Xu

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

38 Scopus citations


Human analysts working with automated tracing tools need to directly vet candidate traceability links in order to determine the true traceability information. Currently, human intervention happens at the end of the traceability process, after candidate traceability links have already been generated. This often leads to a decline in the results' accuracy. In this paper, we propose an approach, based on semantic relatedness (SR), which brings human judgment to an earlier stage of the tracing process by integrating it into the underlying retrieval mechanism. SR tries to mimic human mental model of relevance by considering a broad range of semantic relations, hence producing more semantically meaningful results. We evaluated our approach using three datasets from different application domains, and assessed the tracing results via six different performance measures concerning both result quality and browsability. The empirical evaluation results show that our SR approach achieves a significantly better performance in recovering true links than a standard Vector Space Model (VSM) in all datasets. Our approach also achieves a significantly better precision than Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI) in two of our datasets.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publication2012 20th IEEE International Conference on Program Comprehension, ICPC 2012 - Proceedings
PublisherIEEE Computer Society
Number of pages10
ISBN (Print)9781467312165
StatePublished - 2012
Externally publishedYes
Event2012 20th IEEE International Conference on Program Comprehension, ICPC 2012 - Passau, Germany
Duration: Jun 11 2012Jun 13 2012

Publication series

NameIEEE International Conference on Program Comprehension


Other2012 20th IEEE International Conference on Program Comprehension, ICPC 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Hardware and Architecture
  • Software


  • automated tracing
  • experimentation
  • information search and retrieval
  • semantic relatedness


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