Monday, May 18, 2009

ICSE 09 - Day Two

Day Three of ICSE 09 was another great success! It began with a rousing keynote by Tom Ball of Microsoft Research fame. He described the early beginnings of version control and the emergence of mining techniques for these version systems, and continued the narrative through to the latest version of visual studio and the tool Microsoft calls CRANE, which suggests to developers area of the code which should be examined given that they are changing some other area. Pretty cool. I got to talk to him one-on-one about it over lunch.

On the previously blogged march through stanley park, I had a talk with Tom Ostrand from AT&T Labs in New Jersey. One thing I wanted to talk about (besides pitching my research idea) was leveraging the version history and reports generated from a test suite to predict bugs in target code using MSR techniques to augment the existing tools, such as mining deltas and bug trackers. This topic came up in the morning's MSR session, but aparently Tom missed it (making me look much smarter than can be measured in reality). He seemed interested in the possibility, but of course there are barriers to getting it going. Primarily, assuming that the dev team for the software we're analyzing is writing tests and putting them into the vcs, the error and coverage reports almost certainly aren't, making it difficult to to versioned history analysis over them. I thought that maybe, given the source code of the target software and the test code (both of which at some version), the MSR tool could build the code and execute the tests to create the needed reports. This will likely be extremely difficult to get going in the field, however, and make MSR mining, which is already an extremely expensive, long running process, even slower.

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