FlexiRepair: Transparent Program Repair with Generic Patches

Anil Koyuncu, Tegawendé F. Bissyandé, Jacques Klein, Yves Le Traon

Template-based program repair research is in need for a common ground to express fix patterns in a standard and reusable manner. We propose to build on the concept of generic patch (also known as semantic patch), which is widely used in the Linux community to automate code evolution. We advocate that generic patches could provide at the same time a unified representation and a specification for fix patterns. Generic patches are indeed formally defined, and there exists a robust, industry-adapted, and extensible engine that processes generic patches to perform control-flow code matching and automatically generates concretes patches based on the specified change operations. In this paper, we present the design and implementation of a repair framework, FLEXIREPAIR, that explores generic patches as the core concept. In particular, we show how concretely generic patches can be inferred and applied in a pipeline of Automated Program Repair (APR). With FLEXIREPAIR, we address an urgent challenge in the template-based APR community to separate implementation details from actual scientific contributions by providing an open, transparent and flexible repair pipeline on top of which all advancements in terms of efficiency, efficacy and usability can be measured and assessed rigorously. Furthermore, because the underlying tools and concepts have already been accepted by a wide practitioner community, we expect FLEXIREPAIR's adoption by industry to be facilitated. Preliminary experiments with a prototype FLEXIREPAIR on the IntroClass and CodeFlaws benchmarks suggest that it already constitutes a solid baseline with comparable performance to some of the state of the art.

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