Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Computer Science

First Advisor

Dr. Myoungkyu Song

Second Advisor

Dr. Harvey P. Siy

Third Advisor

Dr. Haorong Li


Developers often perform copy-and-paste activities. This practice causes the similar code fragment (aka code clones) to be scattered throughout a code base. Refactoring for clone removal is beneficial, preventing clones from having negative effects on software quality, such as hidden bug propagation and unintentional inconsistent changes. However, recent research has provided evidence that factoring out clones does not always reduce the risk of introducing defects, and it is often difficult or impossible to remove clones using standard refactoring techniques. To investigate which or how clones can be refactored, developers typically spend a significant amount of their time managing individual clone instances or clone groups scattered across a large code base.

To address the problem, this research proposes two techniques to inspect and validate refactoring changes. First, we propose a technique for managing clone refactorings, Pattern-based clone Refactoring Inspection (PRI), using refactoring pattern templates. By matching the refactoring pattern templates against a code base, it summarizes refactoring changes of clones, and detects the clone instances not consistently factored out as potential anomalies. Second, we propose Refactoring Investigation and Testing technique, called RIT. RIT improves the testing efficiency for validating refactoring changes. RIT uses PRI to identify refactorings by analyzing original and edited versions of a program. It then uses the semantic impact of a set of identified refactoring changes to detect tests whose behavior may have been affected and modified by refactoring edits. Given each failed asserts, RIT helps developers focus their attention on logically related program statements by applying program slicing for minimizing each test. For debugging purposes, RIT determines specific failure-inducing refactoring edits, separating from other changes that only affect other asserts or tests.


A Thesis Presented to the Department of Computer Science and the Faculty of the Graduate College University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree Masters of Science University of Nebraska at Omaha. Copyright 2017 Zhiyuan Chen.