Notes on “Power Laws in Software”

November 2, 2008

Power Laws in Software: Panagiotis Louridas, Diomidis Spinellis and Vasileios Vlachos

The gist: Dependencies in software projects follow power laws (colloquially known as the 80-20 rule.)

The good: The paper includes a convincing demonstration across nearly twenty major software projects of a statistically quantifiable effect. The authors take care to avoid unjustified claims of causality or importance.

The bad: The causes of this effect are left to be determined. Nothing more than rough ideas are offered.

I liked that the paper mentioned network effects and self-reinforcing winner-take-all effects as hallmarks of power laws.

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2 Responses to “Notes on “Power Laws in Software””

  1. Greg Says:

    Do you believe all the relationships are really power laws? Some have pretty suspicious curves in the lower registers.

  2. aran Says:

    You know, I thought about that, but the r-squared values were really high overall. Maybe I missed something.


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