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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 Block Rank 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, Block Rank 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. Block Rank is empirically shown to be more effective than nine representative techniques on four real-life medium-sized programs.
Date of Conference: 18-22 July 2011