Semantic Debugging


Why does my program fail? We present a novel and general technique to automatically determine failure causes and conditions, using logical properties over input elements: “The program fails if and only if int(⟨length⟩) > len(⟨payload⟩) holds—that is, the given ⟨length⟩ is larger than the ⟨payload⟩ length.” Our AVICENNA prototype uses modern techniques for inferring properties of passing and failing inputs and validating and refining hypotheses by having a constraint solver generate supporting test cases to obtain such diagnoses. As a result, AVICENNA produces crisp and expressive diagnoses even for complex failure conditions, considerably improving over the state of the art with diagnoses close to those of human experts.

Proceedings of the 31st ACM Joint European Software Engineering Conference and Symposium on the Foundations of Software Engineering, ESEC/FSE 2023, San Francisco, CA, USA, December 3-9, 2023