The Use of Program Profiling in Software Testing

Thomas Reps
University of Wisconsin

This paper describes new techniques to help with testing and debugging, using information obtained from path profiling. A path profiler instruments a program so that each run of the program generates a path spectrum for the execution\(ema distribution of acyclic path fragments that were executed during that run. Our techniques are based on the idea of comparing path spectra from different runs of the program. When different runs produce different spectra, the spectral differences can be used to identify paths in the program along which control diverges in the two runs. By choosing input datasets to hold all factors constant except one, the divergence can be attributed to this factor. The point of divergence itself may not be the cause of the underlying problem, but provides a starting place for a programmer to begin his exploration.

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