Causal Inference for Statistical Fault Localization


This paper investigates the application of causal inference methodology for observational studies to software fault localization based on test outcomes and profiles. This methodology combines statistical techniques for counterfactual inference with causal graphical models to obtain causal-effect estimates that are not subject to severe confounding bias. The methodology applies Pearl's Back-Door Criterion to program dependence graphs to justify a linear model for estimating the causal effect of covering a given statement on the occurrence of failures. The paper also presents the analysis of several proposed-fault localization metrics and their relationships to our causal estimator. Finally, the paper presents empirical results demonstrating that our model significantly improves the effectiveness of fault localization.

Related research categories:
() Causal Inference
(1) Debugging

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