Extending the theoretical fault localization effectiveness hierarchy with empirical results at different code abstraction levels

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)22_Publication in policy or professional journal

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Original languageEnglish
Article number6899214
Pages (from-to)161-170
Journal / PublicationProceedings - International Computer Software and Applications Conference
Publication statusPublished - 15 Sept 2014


Title38th Annual IEEE Computer Software and Applications Conference, COMPSAC 2014
Period21 - 25 July 2014


Spectrum-based fault localization techniques are semi-automated program debugging techniques that address the bottleneck of finding suspicious program locations for diagnosis. They assess the fault suspiciousness of individual program locations based on the code coverage data achieved by executing the program under debugging over a test suite. A program location can be viewed at different abstraction levels, such as a statement in the source code or an instruction compiled from the source code. In general, a program location at one code abstraction level can be transformed into zero to more program locations at another abstraction level. Although programmers usually debug at the source code level, the code is actually executed at a lower level. It is unclear whether the same techniques applied at different code abstraction levels may achieve consistent results. In this paper, we study a suite of spectrum-based fault localization techniques at both the source and instruction code levels in the context of an existing theoretical hierarchy to assess whether their effectiveness is consistent across the two levels. Our study extends the theoretical hierarchy with empirically validated relationships across two code abstraction levels toward an integration of the theory and practice of fault localization.

Research Area(s)

  • code abstraction level, fault localization assessment, program debugging, program testing

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