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Handling estimation uncertainty with bootstrapping: Empirical evaluation in the context of hybrid prediction methods

: Kläs, Michael; Trendowicz, Adam; Ishigai, Yasushi; Nakao, Haruka

Kaiserslautern, 2011, 10 pp.
IESE-Report, 055.11/E
Reportnr.: 055.11/E
Fraunhofer IESE ()
effort estimation; defect prediction; empirical study; Monte Carlo method; COBRA; HyDEEP

Reliable predictions are essential for managing software projects with respect to cost and quality. Several studies have shown that hybrid prediction models combining causal models with Monte Carlo simulation are especially successful in addressing the needs and constraints of today's software industry: They deal with limited measurement data and, additionally, make use of expert knowledge. Moreover, instead of providing merely point estimates, they support the handling of estimation uncertainty, e.g., estimating the probability of falling below or exceeding a specific threshold. Although existing methods do well in terms of handling uncertainty of information, we can show that they leave uncertainty coming from imperfect modeling largely unaddressed. One of the consequences is that they probably provide over-confident uncertainty estimates. This paper presents a possible solution by integrating bootstrapping into the existing methods. In order to evaluate whether this solution does not only theoretically improve the estimates but also has a practical impact on the quality of the results, we evaluated the solution in an empirical study using data from more than sixty projects and six estimation models from different domains and application areas. The results indicate that the uncertainty estimates of currently used models are not realistic and can be significantly improved by the proposed solution.