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MulCode: A Multi-task Learning Approach for Source Code Understanding

Deze Wang, Yue Yu, Shanshan Li, Wei Dong, Ji Wang, Liao Qing. SANER 2021


Recent years have witnessed the significant rise of Deep Learning (DL) techniques applied to source code. Researchers exploit DL for a multitude of tasks and achieve impressive results. However, most tasks are explored separately, resulting in a lack of generalization of the solutions. In this work, we propose MulCode, a multi-task learning approach for source code understanding that learns unified representation space for tasks, with the pre-trained BERT model for the token sequence and the Tree-LSTM model for abstract syntax trees. Furthermore, we integrate two source code views into a hybrid representation via the attention mechanism and set learnable uncertainty parameters to adjust the tasks’ relationship. We train and evaluate MulCode in three downstream tasks: comment classification, author attribution, and duplicate function detection. In all tasks, MulCode outperforms the state-of-theart techniques. Moreover, experiments on three unseen tasks demonstrate the generalization ability of MulCode compared with state-of-the-art embedding methods.

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