Moving to the 12th circle in fault prediction modeling

Derek Jones from The Shape of Code

Most software fault prediction papers are based on a false assumption, i.e., a list of dates when a fault was first experienced, by a program, contains enough information to build a model that has a connection to reality. A count of faults that have been experienced twice is required to fit a basic model that has some mathematical connection to reality.

I had thought that people had moved on from writing papers that fitted yet more complicated equations to one of the regularly used data sets. No, it seems they have just switched to publishing someplace they have not been seen before.

Table 1 lists the every increasing number of circles within circles; the new model is proposed as the 12th refinement (the table is a summary, lots of forks have been proposed over the years). I have this sinking feeling there is another paper in the works, one that ‘benchmarks’ the new equation using a collection of the other regular characters data sets that appear in papers of this kind.

Fitting an equation to data of first experience of a fault is little better than fitting noise.

As Planck famously said, science advances one funeral at a time.