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International Workshop on the Future of Debugging

July 15, 2013 – Lugano, Switzerland
University of Lugano Campus, Room A11
Co-located with ISSTA 2013 

Click here to see the workshop summary!


This workshop will bring together researchers and practitioners interested in the many challenges involved in debugging today's complex software systems. The focus of the workshop will be on computer-assisted techniques that can reduce the human skill and the effort required in diagnosing and fixing software defects. We will also explore synergies between debugging and closely related fields, such as specification discovery, verification, repository mining, and HCI.

The workshop will feature invited presentations from world leaders in the area of debugging, will examine current trends in automated software debugging, and will foster extensive discussions among the participants on these themes and trends.

Scope of the Workshop

This workshop will examine several challenging questions:

First, debugging a complex failure often requires a deep understanding of the program’s intended behavior, which is rarely specified in a formal (or at least rigorous) way. How can we bring the program’s intended behavior, or specification, into the debugging process? How can debugging leverage implicit or explicit contracts in a program? This also brings in the exciting prospect of combining debugging with specification-mining methods, which seek to discover a program’s intended behavior via program analysis. In the proposed workshop, we will discuss potential synergies between specifications and debugging.

Second, automated program verification techniques have enjoyed significant progress in recent years. However, their role in automated debugging, and more generally, the ways in which their power can complement human skill has not been studied well. Can we use automated program verification techniques for determining the root cause of a bug? Can we use automated program verification techniques for validating a candidate program repair? Introduction of automated verification techniques into debugging methods is another exciting topic we seek to discuss in the workshop.

Third, a human resolving a bug rarely looks at the snapshot of the program in isolation of the repository where the program lives. He or she typically looks at history of the program as it has evolved: e.g. what changes were made that might have caused the bug to appear, how were similar bugs resolved in the past. Can debugging leverage the rapidly emerging area of mining software repositories?

These sub-topics have all seen rapid advances within their own communities, but their connection to software debugging has not been examined fully, and certain not in a common venue. This workshop aims to fill that gap by bringing together leading researchers in the area of software debugging and closely related fields, such as specification, automated verification, repository mining, and HCI.

Duration, Participation, and Format

The Workshop on the Future of Debugging will be a full-day event and will be open to anybody who is interested in participating. Because the main goal of the workshop is to stimulate discussion on promising future research directions, there will be no submissions and no proceedings, but rather a set of invited talks on specific topics. The talks will cover a broad range of approaches to debugging and foster discussion on the questions outlined in the previous section.


 8:30 - 9:00  Opening remarks and overview
 09:00 - 10:30  Session 1

How Symbolic Reasoning can help Program Repair (slides)
Abhik Roychoudhury (National University of Singapore)

Fault Localization with Error Invariants (slides)
Thomas Wies (New York University)

 10:30 - 11:00  Break
 11:00 - 12:30  Session 2

Using Causal Inference Methods for Statistical Fault Localization (slides)
Andy Podgurski (Case Western Reserve University)

GZoltar - A Toolset for Automatic Test Suite Minimization and Fault Identification (slides)
Rui Abreu (University of Porto)
 12:30 - 2:00  Lunch
 2:00 - 3:30  Session 3

Automatic runtime failure recovery (slides)
Mauro Pezze' (University of Lugano)

Scriptable, Time-travel Debugging with Expositor (slides)
Jeff Foster (University of Maryland)
 3:30 - 4:00  Break
 4:00 - 4:45      Session 4

Teaching a Debugging Class (slides)
Andreas Zeller (University of Saarland)

 4:45 - 5:30 Round Table: Where Shall We Go Next?

Registration and Venue

Please refer to the ISSTA 2013 web page for registration and logistic information.