Locating Crashing Faults based on Crash Stack Traces

Liang Gong, Hongyu Zhang, Hyunmin Seo, Sunghun Kim

Software crashes due to its increasing complexity. Once a crash happens, a crash report could be sent to software developers for investigation upon user permission. Because of the large number of crash reports and limited information, debugging for crashes is often a tedious and labor-intensive task. In this paper, we propose a statistical fault localization framework to help developers locate functions that contain crashing faults. We generate the execution traces for the failing traces based on the crash stack, and the passing traces from normal executions. We form program spectra by combining generated passing and failing trace, and then apply statistical fault localization techniques such as Ochiai to locate the crashing faults. We also propose two heuristics to improve the fault localization performance. We evaluate our approach using the real-world Firefox crash report data. The results show that the performance of our method is promising. Our approach permits developers to locate 63.9% crashing faults by examining only 5% Firefox 3.6 functions in the spectra.

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