An Exploratory Study of Project Activity Changepoints in Open Source Software Evolution

03/19/2021
by   James Walden, et al.
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To explore the prevalence of abrupt changes (changepoints) in open source project activity, we assembled a dataset of 8,919 projects from the World of Code. Projects were selected based on age, number of commits, and number of authors. Using the nonparametric PELT algorithm, we identified changepoints in project activity time series, finding that more than 90 between one and six changepoints. Increases and decreases in project activity occurred with roughly equal frequency. While most changes are relatively small, on the order of a few authors or few dozen commits per month, there were long tails of much larger project activity changes. In future work, we plan to focus on larger changes to search for common open source lifecycle patterns as well as common responses to external events.

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