Clone Removal in Java Programs as a Process of Stepwise Unification

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Executive Summary

Cloned code is one of the most important obstacles against consistent software maintenance and evolution. Although today's clone detection tools find a variety of clones, they do not offer any advice how to remove such clones. The authors explain the problems involved in finding a sequence of changes for clone removal and suggest to view this problem as a process of stepwise unification of the clone instances. Consequently the problem can be solved by backtracking over the possible unification steps.

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