ISSTA 2016

25th International Symposium on Software Testing and Analysis (ISSTA), July 18–20, 2016, Saarbrücken, Germany

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Debugging and Repair
Research Papers
Practitioners' Expectations on Automated Fault Localization
Pavneet Singh Kochhar, Xin Xia, David Lo, and Shanping Li
(Singapore Management University, Singapore; Zhejiang University, China)
Publisher's Version
Abstract: Software engineering practitioners often spend significant amount of time and effort to debug. To help practitioners perform this crucial task, hundreds of papers have proposed various fault localization techniques. Fault localization helps practitioners to find the location of a defect given its symptoms (e.g., program failures). These localization techniques have pinpointed the locations of bugs of various systems of diverse sizes, with varying degrees of success, and for various usage scenarios. Unfortunately, it is unclear whether practitioners appreciate this line of research. To fill this gap, we performed an empirical study by surveying 386 practitioners from more than 30 countries across 5 continents about their expectations of research in fault localization. In particular, we investigated a number of factors that impact practitioners' willingness to adopt a fault localization technique. We then compared what practitioners need and the current state-of-research by performing a literature review of papers on fault localization techniques published in ICSE, FSE, ESEC-FSE, ISSTA, TSE, and TOSEM in the last 5 years (2011-2015). From this comparison, we highlight the directions where researchers need to put effort to develop fault localization techniques that matter to practitioners.

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Time stamp: 2019-05-18T13:43:16+02:00