Using Verilog LOGISCOPE to analyze student programs

Susan A. Mengel, Joseph Ulans

Research output: Contribution to journalConference article

8 Scopus citations

Abstract

It is difficult for teachers and graders to give an in-depth evaluation of student programs to the point of checking every line of code due to the amount of time checking would take. The difficulty worsens when a typical introductory programming course may have over 100 students. Solutions to this difficulty may involve only checking to see if the program executes correctly (dynamic analysis), glancing over the program to see if appropriate documentation is present (static analysis), and glancing over the code for any problems (static analysis). Automated solutions are difficult to construct as can be seen by the fact that a few exist in homegrown versions (which typically are not available for general use and few examples are given in the literature) and commercial solutions are in the thousands of dollars. One commercial solution, however, is Verilog LOGISCOPE which offers a limited number of licenses free to educators. LOGISCOPE is a static analysis checker capable of taking hundreds of individual measurements of a program, such as lines of code, McCabe's cyclomatic complexity, and number of operators. It also shows the control flow graph of a program which is a depiction of the statements, if structures, and looping structures in a program. LOGISCOPE enables the complexity and quality of a program to be analyzed yielding valuable feedback to both students and educators. It allows visualization of the measurements taken through the control flow graphs and Kiveat diagrams. The operation of LOGISCOPE is shown by using typical student programs taken from the introductory computing course at Texas Tech University. Then the results of analyzing several programs from the same class are given to show the diversity of results. Finally, how LOGISCOPE can be used in education to help students improve their programming and help instructors evaluate programs better is considered.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1213-1218
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings - Frontiers in Education Conference
Volume3
StatePublished - 1998
EventProceedings of the 1998 28th Annual Frontiers in Education Conference, FIE. Part 3 (of 3) - Tempe, AZ, USA
Duration: Nov 4 1998Nov 7 1998

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