Active Learning for Automatic Classification of Software Behavior


A program's behavior is ultimately the collection of all its executions. This collection is diverse, unpredictable, and generally unbounded. Thus it is especially suited to statistical analysis and machine learning techniques. The primary focus of this paper is on the automatic classification of program behavior using execution data. Prior work on classifiers for software engineering adopts a classical batch-learning approach. In contrast, we explore an active-learning paradigm for behavior classification. In active learning, the classifier is trained incrementally on a series of labeled data elements. Secondly, we explore the thesis that certain features of program behavior are stochastic processes that exhibit the Markov property, and that the resultant Markov models of individual program executions can be automatically clustered into effective predictors of program behavior. We present a technique that models program executions as Markov models, and a clustering method for Markov models that aggregates multiple program executions into effective behavior classifiers. We evaluate an application of active learning to the efficient refinement of our classifiers by conducting three empirical studies that explore a scenario illustrating automated test plan augmentation.

Related research categories:
(1) Machine Learning
(2) Empirical Studies
(3) Testing
(4) Program Analysis

Go To Publications