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Clone Detection Research

Previous studies have shown that there is a non-trivial amount of duplication in source code. We analyzed a corpus of 2.6 million non-fork projects hosted on GitHub representing over 258 million files written in Java, C++ Python and JavaScript. We found that this corpus has a mere 54 million unique files. In other words, 79% of the code on GitHub consists of clones of previously created files. There is considerable variation between language ecosystems. JavaScript has the highest rate of file duplication, only 7% of the files are distinct.

Project Dates: 
January 2017

Given the availability of large-scale source-code repositories, there have been a large number of applications for clone detection. Unfortunately, despite a decade of active research, there is a marked lack in clone detectors that scale to large software repositories. In particular for detecting near-miss clones where significant editing activities may take place in the cloned code.

Project Dates: 
January 2014

We developed a token-based approach for large scale code clone detection which is based on a filtering heuristic that reduces the number of token comparisons when the two code blocks are compared. We also developed a MapReduce based parallel algorithm that uses the filtering heuristic and scales to thousands of projects. The filtering heuristic is generic and can also be used in conjunction with other token-based approaches. In that context, we demonstrated how it can increase the retrieval speed and decrease the memory usage of the index-based approaches.

Project Dates: 
July 2011 to January 2014