Directed Test Generation for Improved Fault Localization

Fault-localization techniques that apply statistical analyses to execution data gathered from multiple tests are quite effective when a large test suite is available. However, if no test suite is available, what is the best approach to generate one? This paper investigates the fault-localization effectiveness of test suites generated according to several test-generation techniques based on combined concrete and symbolic (concolic) execution. We evaluate these techniques by applying the Ochiai fault-localization technique to generated test suites in order to localize 35 faults in four PHP Web applications. Our results show that the test-generation techniques under consideration produce test suites with similar high fault-localization effectiveness, when given a large time budget. However, a new, “directed” test-generation technique, which aims to maximize the similarity between the path constraints of the generated tests and those of faulty executions, reaches this level of effectiveness with much smaller test suites. On average, when compared to test generation based on standard concolic execution techniques that aims to maximize code coverage, the new directed technique preserves fault localization effectiveness while reducing test-suite size by 86.1% and test-suite generation time by 88.6%.

By: Shay Artzi; Julian Dolby; Frank Tip; Marco Pistoia

Published in: RC24989 in 2010


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