A study of the non-linear adjustment for analogy based software cost estimation

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)603-643
Journal / PublicationEmpirical Software Engineering
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2009
Externally publishedYes


Cost estimation is one of the most important but most difficult tasks in software project management. Many methods have been proposed for software cost estimation. Analogy Based Estimation (ABE), which is essentially a case-based reasoning (CBR) approach, is one popular technique. To improve the accuracy of ABE method, several studies have been focusing on the adjustments to the original solutions. However, most published adjustment mechanisms are based on linear forms and are restricted to numerical type of project features. On the other hand, software project datasets often exhibit non-normal characteristics with large proportions of categorical features. To explore the possibilities for a better adjustment mechanism, this paper proposes Artificial Neural Network (ANN) for Non-linear adjustment to ABE (NABE) with the learning ability to approximate complex relationships and incorporating the categorical features. The proposed NABE is validated on four real world datasets and compared against the linear adjusted ABEs, CART, ANN and SWR. Subsequently, eight artificial datasets are generated for a systematic investigation on the relationship between model accuracies and dataset properties. The comparisons and analysis show that non-linear adjustment could generally extend ABE's flexibility on complex datasets with large number of categorical features and improve the accuracies of adjustment techniques. © 2009 Springer Science+Business Media, LLC.

Research Area(s)

  • Analogy based estimation, Artificial datasets, Artificial neural network, Case based reasoning, Non-linear adjustment, Software cost estimation

Citation Format(s)