Software

Are Automated Debugging Techniques Actually Helping Programmers?

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Executive Summary

Debugging is notoriously difficult and extremely time consuming. Researchers have therefore invested a considerable amount of effort in developing automated techniques and tools for supporting various debugging tasks. Although potentially useful, most of these techniques have yet to demonstrate their practical effectiveness. One common limitation of existing approaches, for instance, is their reliance on a set of strong assumptions on how developers behave when debugging (e.g., the fact that examining a faulty statement in isolation is enough for a developer to understand and x the corresponding bug). In more general terms, most existing techniques just focus on selecting subsets of potentially faulty statements and ranking them according to some criterion.

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