Back in PPIG 99, I dreamt up something called 'spatial complexity metrics' 
which is quite different to McCabe and Halstead's work.  (I hope you don't mind my 
scurrilous trumpet blowing ;) )

In the paper, I kind of said, 'there's a bit of work to do here', and just as 
Derek said, guess what, the basic metric correlates with lines of code :)  
According to some later studies, one of the metrics also correlates with McCabe 
too (which perhaps isn't too surprising).  I agree: information content is the 

Whilst I seem to remember that some complexity metrics (and, please feel free 
to correct me if I'm wrong) are correlated with money, I'm too looking for 
studies which kind of connect complexity within the notion of cognitive 
complexity (whatever that may be).

One of the exploratory sideshows I'm currently working on is trying to see 
whether there is any correlation with perceptual complexity, and different 
complexity measures.  Time will tell if I manage to get anything on paper for 
the PPIG WIP in January...

An interesting discussion :)



-----Original Message-----
From: Derek M Jones []
Sent: 10 December 2009 17:13
To: Ppig-Discuss-List
Subject: Re: validation of complexity metrics as measure for ease of 


> My own experience, based on recent investigation with a grad
> student to compile more evidence for his claims regarding
> complexity metrics (in this case Harrison's entropy-based measure
> rather than McCabe) was that the closer we looked at the measure

I think that information content is the way to go.
Of course there are a few major problems such as different people
seeing different information contents in the same code and
just because the information is there does not mean
that readers will extract it (they might be tired or

Derek M. Jones                         tel: +44 (0) 1252 520 667
Knowledge Software Ltd       
Source code analysis         

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