The Structure and Value of Modularity in Software Design

Report
Authors:Sullivan, Kevin, Department of Computer ScienceUniversity of Virginia Griswold, William, Department of Computer ScienceUniversity of Virginia Cai, Yuanfang, Department of Computer ScienceUniversity of Virginia Hallen, Ben, Department of Computer ScienceUniversity of Virginia
Abstract:

The concept of information hiding modularity is a cornerstone of modern software design thought, but its formulation remains casual and its emphasis on changeability is imperfectly related to the goal of creating value in a given context. We need better models of the structure and value of information hiding, for both their explanatory power and prescriptive utility. We evaluate the potential of a new theory-developed to account for the influence of modularity on the evolution of the computer industry-to inform software design. The theory uses design structure matrices to model designs and real options techniques to value them. To test the potential utility of the theory for software we represent a model software system in its terms-Parnas's KWIC-and evaluate the results. We contribute an extension to design structure matrices and show that the options results are consistent with Parnas's conclusions. Our results suggest that such a theory does have potential to help inform software design.

Rights:
All rights reserved (no additional license for public reuse)
Language:
English
Source Citation:

Sullivan, Kevin, William Griswold, Yuanfang Cai, and Ben Hallen. "The Structure and Value of Modularity in Software Design." University of Virginia Dept. of Computer Science Tech Report (2001).

Publisher:
University of Virginia, Department of Computer Science
Published Date:
2001