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Title: Studying the lives of software bugs
Author: Davies, Steven
ISNI:       0000 0004 5362 823X
Awarding Body: University of Strathclyde
Current Institution: University of Strathclyde
Date of Award: 2014
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For as long as people have made software, they have made mistakes in that software. Software bugs are widespread, and the maintenance required to fix them has a major impact on the cost of software and how developers' time is spent. Reducing this maintenance time would lower the cost of software and allow for developers to spend more time on new features, improving the software for end-users. Bugs are hugely diverse and have a complex life cycle. This makes them difficult to study, and research is often carried out on synthetic bugs or toy programs. However, a better understanding of the bug life cycle would greatly aid in developing tools to reduce the time spent on maintenance. This thesis will study the life cycle of bugs, and develop such an understanding. Overall, this thesis examines over 3000 real bugs, from real projects, concentrating on three of the most important points in the life cycle: origin, reporting and fix. Firstly, two existing techniques are compared for discovering the origin of a bug. A number of improvements are evaluated, and the most effective approach is found to be combining the techniques. Furthermore, the behaviour of developers is found to have a major impact on the accuracy of the techniques. Secondly, a large number of bugs are analysed to determine what information is provided when users report bugs. For most bugs, much important information is missing, or inaccurate. Most importantly, there appears to be a considerable gap between what users provide and what developers actually want. Finally, an evaluation is carried out on a number of novel alterations to techniques used to determine the location of bug fixes. Compared to existing techniques, these alterations successfully increase the number of bugs which can be usefully localised, aiding developers in removing the bugs.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available