Proceedings of the 35nd Annual International Computer Software and Applications Conference (COMPSAC '11),
IEEE Computer Society Press, Los Alamitos, CA (2011)

Precise Propagation of Fault-Failure Correlations in Program Flow Graphs 1

Zhenyu Zhang 2 , W.K. Chan 3 , T.H. Tse 4 , and Bo Jiang 4

[paper from IEEE Xplore | paper from IEEE digital library | technical report TR-2011-08]


Statistical fault localization techniques find suspicious faulty program entities in programs by comparing passed and failed executions. Existing studies show that such techniques can be promising in locating program faults. However, coincidental correctness and execution crashes may make program entities indistinguishable in the execution spectra under study, or cause inaccurate counting, thus severely affecting the precision of existing fault localization techniques. In this paper, we propose a BlockRank technique, which calculates, contrasts, and propagates the mean edge profiles between passed and failed executions to alleviate the impact of coincidental correctness. To address the issue of execution crashes, BlockRank identifies suspicious basic blocks by modeling how each basic block contributes to failures by apportioning their fault relevance to surrounding basic blocks in terms of the rate of successful transition observed from passed and failed executions. BlockRank is empirically shown to be more effective than nine representative techniques on four real-life medium-sized programs.

Keywords: fault localization; graph; social network analysis

1. This research is supported in part by a grant from the Natural Science Foundation of China (project no. 61003027), grants from the General Research Fund of the Research Grants Council of Hong Kong (project nos. 111410 and 717308), and a strategic research grant from City University of Hong Kong (project no. 7002673).
2. State Key Laboratory of Computer Science, Institute of Software, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China.
3. Department of Computer Science, City University of Hong Kong, Tat Chee Avenue, Hong Kong.
4. Department of Computer Science, The University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong.


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