e-Informatica Software Engineering Journal Boosting and Comparing Performance of Machine Learning Classifiers with Meta-heuristic Techniques to Detect Code Smell

Boosting and Comparing Performance of Machine Learning Classifiers with Meta-heuristic Techniques to Detect Code Smell

[1]Shivani Jain and Anju Saha, "Boosting and Comparing Performance of Machine Learning Classifiers with Meta-heuristic Techniques to Detect Code Smell", In e-Informatica Software Engineering Journal, vol. 18, no. 1, pp. 240107, 2024. DOI: 10.37190/e-Inf240107.

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Shivani Jain, Anju Saha


Background: Continuous modifications, suboptimal software design practices, and stringent project deadlines contribute to the proliferation of code smells. Detecting and refactoring these code smells are pivotal to maintaining complex and essential software systems. Neglecting them may lead to future software defects, rendering systems challenging to maintain, and eventually obsolete. Supervised machine learning techniques have emerged as valuable tools for classifying code smells without needing expert knowledge or fixed threshold values. Further enhancement of classifier performance can be achieved through effective feature selection techniques and the optimization of hyperparameter values.

Aim: Performance measures of multiple machine learning classifiers are improved by fine tuning its hyperparameters using various type of meta-heuristic algorithms including swarm intelligent, physics, math, and bio-based etc. Their performance measures are compared to find the best meta-heuristic algorithm in the context of code smell detection and its impact is evaluated based on statistical tests.

Method: This study employs sixteen contemporary and robust meta-heuristic algorithms to optimize the hyperparameters of two machine learning algorithms: Support Vector Machine (SVM) and k-nearest Neighbors (k-NN). The No Free Lunch theorem underscores that the success of an optimization algorithm in one application may not necessarily extend to others. Consequently, a rigorous comparative analysis of these algorithms is undertaken to identify the best-fit solutions for code smell detection. A diverse range of optimization algorithms, encompassing Arithmetic, Jellyfish Search, Flow Direction, Student Psychology Based, Pathfinder, Sine Cosine, Jaya, Crow Search, Dragonfly, Krill Herd, Multi-Verse, Symbiotic Organisms Search, Flower Pollination, Teaching Learning Based, Gravitational Search, and Biogeography-Based Optimization, have been implemented.

Results: In the case of optimized SVM, the highest attained accuracy, AUC, and F-measure values are 98.75%, 100%, and 98.57%, respectively. Remarkably, significant increases in accuracy and AUC, reaching 32.22% and 45.11% respectively, are observed. For k-NN, the best accuracy, AUC, and F-measure values are all perfect at 100%, with noteworthy hikes in accuracy and ROC-AUC values, amounting to 43.89% and 40.83%, respectively.

Conclusion: Optimized SVM exhibits exceptional performance with the Sine Cosine Optimization algorithm, while k-NN attains its peak performance with the Flower Optimization algorithm. Statistical analysis underscores the substantial impact of employing meta-heuristic algorithms for optimizing machine learning classifiers, enhancing their performance significantly. Optimized SVM excels in detecting the God Class, while optimized k-NN is particularly effective in identifying the Data Class. This innovative fusion automates the tuning process and elevates classifier performance, simultaneously addressing multiple longstanding challenges.


Code Smell, Machine Learning, Meta-heuristics, Support Vector Machine, k-Nearest Neighbors, Optimization


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