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Automated code smell detection and refactoring for faster software evolution

   School of Science, Engineering and Environment

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  Dr J Bass  Applications accepted all year round  Self-Funded PhD Students Only

About the Project

This exciting project will investigate automated techniques to accelerate software evolution processes. There are several possible approaches to this problem. One approach might involve conducting interviews with practitioners to explore their approaches to software evolution. This interview data could be used as the basis for a set of automated software source code translation algorithms.

On the other hand, a three-step approach, using code smells, could perhaps be employed. First, we could create an inventory of unsatisfactory structures in software source code, known as bad smells. Bad smells are indicators of structural problems in source code that can be resolved through refactoring. 

Secondly, we could develop a mapping from bad smells to corresponding refactoring techniques. We will develop a set of algorithms to implement refactoring techniques to improve software evolution.

Finally, we could create, develop and evaluate a fuzzy logic recommender system decide on the highest priority bad smell and execute the corresponding refactoring algorithm. The fuzzy recommender, would analyse a given software source code repository and identify code smells, perhaps also considering the version control commit history.

There are several other approaches that could be envisaged. This problem area will involve research into source code archaeology, software translation tools and integration with current software development ecosystems, such as git.

The key goals are to help accelerate software source code evolution processes, with practical techniques that could support practitioners in their work. Dr Bass was University of Salford Research Supervisor of the Year in 2020 and has a track record of successful industrial collaborations.

For informal enquiries contact Dr Julian Bass [Email Address Removed].

How to apply:

Submit a formal application at this link: 

 You will need to have the following documents ready to upload to the application site:


Bass, J. M. (2016). Artefacts and agile method tailoring in large-scale offshore software development programmes. Information and Software Technology, 75, 1–16.
Bass, J. M., & Haxby, A. (2019). Tailoring Product Ownership in Large-Scale Agile Projects: Managing Scale, Distance, and Governance. IEEE Software, 36(2), 58–63.
Monaghan, B. D., & Bass, J. M. (2020). Redefining Legacy: A Technical Debt Perspective. In M. Morisio, M. Torchiano, & A. Jedlitschka (Eds.), Product-Focused Software Process Improvement (pp. 254–269). Springer International Publishing.
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