Semantic Debugging

Eberlein, Martin and Smytzek, Marius and Steinhöfel, Dominic and Grunske, Lars and Zeller, Andreas
(2023) Semantic Debugging.
In: ESEC/FSE 2023, Sun 3 - Sat 9 December 2023, San Francisco, California, United States.
Conference: ESEC/FSE European Software Engineering Conference and the ACM SIGSOFT Symposium on the Foundations of Software Engineering (formerly listed as ESEC)
(In Press)

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Why does my program fail? We present a novel and general technique to automatically determine failure causes and conditions, using logical properties over input elements: "The program fails if and only if int(⟨length⟩) > len(⟨payload⟩) holds - that is, the given ⟨length⟩ is larger than the ⟨payload⟩ length." Our AVICENNA prototype uses modern techniques for inferring properties of passing and failing inputs and validating and refining hypotheses by having a constraint solver generate supporting test cases to obtain such diagnoses. As a result, AVICENNA produces crisp and expressive diagnoses even for complex failure conditions, considerably improving over the state of the art with diagnoses close to those of human experts.

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