Director:Philippsen, M.; Lautenschlager, F.
Period:September 1, 2018 - August 31, 2020
Coworker:Jung, F.; Dashuber, V.

Understanding software has a large share in the programming efforts of a software systems, up to 30% in development projects and up to 80% in maintenance projects. Therefore, an efficient and effective way for comprehending software is neccessary in a modern software engineering workplace. Three-dimensional software visualization already boosts comprehension and efficiency, so utilization of latest virtual reality techniques seems natural.

Within the scope of the Holoware project, we create an environment to cooperatively explore and analyze a software project using virtual/augmented reality techniques as well as artificial intelligence algorithms.

The software project in question is being visualized in said virtual reality, such that multiple participants can simultaneously explore and analyze the software. They can cooperate by communicating about their findings. Different participants benefit from different perspectives on the software, which is augmented by domain specific additional information. This provides them with an intuitive access to the structure and behaviour of the software.

Various use cases are possible, for example the cooperative analysis of a run time anomaly in a team of domain experts. The domain experts can see the same static structure, augmented with domain specific and detailed information. In the VR environment, they can share their findings and cooperate using their different expertises.

In addition, the static and dynamic properties of the software system are analyzed. Static properties include source code, static call relationships or metrics such as LoC, cyclomatic complexity, etc. Dynamic properties can be grouped into logs, traces, runtime metrics, or configurations that are read in at runtime. The challenge lies in aggregating, analyzing, and correlating this wealth of information.

An anomaly and significance detection is developed that automatically detects both structural and runtime anomalies. In addition, a prediction system will be set up to make statements about component health. This makes it possible, for example, to predict which components are at risk of failing in the near future. Previously, the log entries were added to the traces, creating a detailed picture of the dynamic call relationships. These dynamic relationships are mapped to the static call graph because they describe calls that do not result from the static analysis (for example, REST calls across several distributed components).

Since the project started in September 2018, the following significant contributions have already been made:

  • Development of a functional VR visualization prototype for demonstration and research purposes.
  • Mapping between dynamic run time data and static structure (required by later analysis and visualization tasks).
  • First draft and implementation of the trace anomaly detection by an unsupervised learning procedure. Evaluation and further improvements will follow in the coming months.
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