MSeer: An Advanced Technique for Locating Multiple Bugs in Parallel



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In practice, a program may contain multiple bugs. The simultaneous presence of these bugs may deteriorate the effectiveness of existing fault-localization techniques to locate program bugs. While it is acceptable to use all failed and successful tests to identify suspicious code for programs with exactly one bug, it is not appropriate to use the same approach for programs with multiple bugs because the due-to relationship between failed tests and underlying bugs cannot be easily identified. One solution is to generate fault-focused clusters by grouping failed tests caused by the same bug into the same clusters. We propose MSeer - an advanced fault localization technique for locating multiple bugs in parallel. Our major contributions include the use of (1) a revised Kendall tau distance to measure the distance between two failed tests, (2) an innovative approach to simultaneously estimate the number of clusters and assign initial medoids to these clusters, and (3) an improved K-medoids clustering algorithm to better identify the due-to relationship between failed tests and their corresponding bugs. Case studies on 840 multiple-bug versions of seven programs suggest that MSeer performs better in terms of effectiveness and efficiency than two other techniques for locating multiple bugs in parallel.


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Distance geometry, Software failures, Debugging in computer science, Software engineering


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