crash replication

Good Things Come In Threes: Improving Search-based Crash Reproduction With Helper Objectives

Evolutionary intelligence approaches have been successfully applied to assist developers during debugging by generating a test case reproducing reported crashes. These approaches use a single fitness function called CrashFunction to guide the search process toward reproducing a target crash. Despite the reported achievements, these approaches do not always successfully reproduce some crashes due to a lack of test diversity (premature convergence). In this study, we introduce a new approach, called MO-HO, that addresses this issue via multi-objectivization. In particular, we introduce two new Helper-Objectives for crash reproduction, namely test length (to minimize) and method sequence diversity (to maximize), in addition to CrashFunction. We assessed MO-HO using five multi-objective evolutionary algorithms (NSGA-II, SPEA2, PESA-II, MOEA/D, FEMO) on 124 hard-to-reproduce crashes stemming from open-source projects. Our results indicate that SPEA2 is the best-performing multi-objective algorithm for MO-HO. We evaluated this best-performing algorithm for MO-HO against the state-of-the-art: single-objective approach (SGGA) and decomposition-based multi-objectivization approach (decomposition). Our results show that MO-HO reproduces five crashes that cannot be reproduced by the current state-of-the-art. Besides, MO-HO improves the effectiveness (+10% and +8% in reproduction ratio) and the efficiency in 34.6% and 36% of crashes (i.e., significantly lower running time) compared to SGGA and decomposition, respectively. For some crashes, the improvements are very large, being up to +93.3% for reproduction ratio and -92% for the required running time.

Botsing, a Search-based Crash Reproduction Framework for Java

Approaches for automatic crash reproduction aim to generate test cases that reproduce crashes starting from the crash stack traces. These tests help developers during their debugging practices. One of the most promising techniques in this research field leverages search-based software testing techniques for generating crash reproducing test cases. In this paper, we introduce Botsing, an open-source search-based crash reproduction framework for Java. Botsing implements state-of-the-art and novel approaches for crash reproduction. The well-documented architecture of Botsing makes it an easy-to-extend framework, and can hence be used for implementing new approaches to improve crash reproduction. We have applied Botsing to a wide range of crashes collected from open source systems. Furthermore, we conducted a qualitative assessment of the crash-reproducing test cases with our industrial partners. In both cases, Botsing could reproduce a notable amount of the given stack traces.

Crash Reproduction Using Helper Objectives

Evolutionary-based crash reproduction techniques aid developers in their debugging practices by generating a test case that reproduces a crash given its stack trace. In these techniques, the search process is typically guided by a single search objective called Crash Distance. Previous studies have shown that current approaches could only reproduce a limited number of crashes due to a lack of diversity in the population during the search. In this study, we address this issue by applying Multi-Objectivization using Helper-Objectives (MO-HO) on crash reproduction. In particular, we add two helper-objectives to the Crash Distance to improve the diversity of the generated test cases and consequently enhance the guidance of the search process. We assessed MO-HO against the single-objective crash reproduction. Our results show that MO-HO can reproduce two additional crashes that were not previously reproducible by the single-objective approach.