Genetic programming for feature model synthesis: a replication study
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Software Product Lines (SPLs) make it possible to configure a single system based on features in order to create many different variants and cater to a wide range of customers with varying requirements. This configuration space is often modeled using Feature Models (FMs). However, in practice, the SPL (and consequently the FM) is often created after a set of variants has already been created manually. Automating the task of reverse engineering a feature model that describes a set of variants makes the process of adopting an SPL easier. The genetic programming pipeline is a good fit for feature models and has been shown to produce good reverse engineering results. In this paper, we replicate the results of such an existing approach with a larger set of feature models and investigate the effects of various genetic programming parameters and operators on the results. The design of our replication experiments employs three perspectives: duplicate the exact conditions using various features models, study the interaction of two parameters of the genetic programming approach, and optimize the values for the population and generation parameters and for the mutation and crossover operators. Results reinforce the previously obtained outcome, the original study being confirmed. The relations between the number of features and number of generations, respectively number of features and size of populations were also investigated and best values based on obtained results are provided. The current study also aimed to optimize various parameters of the genetic programming approach, the interpretation of those experiments discovering concrete values.