A novel automated approach for software effort estimation based on data augmentation

Liyan SONG, Leandro L. MINKU, Xin YAO

Research output: Book Chapters | Papers in Conference ProceedingsConference paper (refereed)Researchpeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)


Software effort estimation (SEE) usually suffers from data scarcity problem due to the expensive or long process of data collection. As a result, companies usually have limited projects for effort estimation, causing unsatisfactory prediction performance. Few studies have investigated strategies to generate additional SEE data to aid such learning. We aim to propose a synthetic data generator to address the data scarcity problem of SEE. Our synthetic generator enlarges the SEE data set size by slightly displacing some randomly chosen training examples. It can be used with any SEE method as a data preprocessor. Its effectiveness is justified with 6 state-of-the-art SEE models across 14 SEE data sets.We also compare our data generator against the only existing approach in the SEE literature. Experimental results show that our synthetic projects can significantly improve the performance of some SEE methods especially when the training data is insufficient. When they cannot significantly improve the prediction performance, they are not detrimental either. Besides, our synthetic data generator is significantly superior or perform similarly to its competitor in the SEE literature. Therefore, our data generator plays a non-harmful if not significantly beneficial effect on the SEE methods investigated in this paper. Therefore, it is helpful in addressing the data scarcity problem of SEE. © 2018 Association for Computing Machinery.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationESEC/FSE 2018 - Proceedings of the 2018 26th ACM Joint Meeting on European Software Engineering Conference and Symposium on the Foundations of Software Engineering
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery, Inc
Number of pages12
ISBN (Print)9781450355735
Publication statusPublished - 26 Oct 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • data scarcity
  • Software effort estimation
  • synthetic data generation


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