arXiv daily: Software Engineering

arXiv daily: Software Engineering (cs.SE)

1.Locating Community Smells in Software Development Processes Using Higher-Order Network Centralities

Authors:Christoph Gote, Vincenzo Perri, Christian Zingg, Giona Casiraghi, Carsten Arzig, Alexander von Gernler, Frank Schweitzer, Ingo Scholtes

Abstract: Community smells are negative patterns in software development teams' interactions that impede their ability to successfully create software. Examples are team members working in isolation, lack of communication and collaboration across departments or sub-teams, or areas of the codebase where only a few team members can work on. Current approaches aim to detect community smells by analysing static network representations of software teams' interaction structures. In doing so, they are insufficient to locate community smells within development processes. Extending beyond the capabilities of traditional social network analysis, we show that higher-order network models provide a robust means of revealing such hidden patterns and complex relationships. To this end, we develop a set of centrality measures based on the MOGen higher-order network model and show their effectiveness in predicting influential nodes using five empirical datasets. We then employ these measures for a comprehensive analysis of a product team at the German IT security company genua GmbH, showcasing our method's success in identifying and locating community smells. Specifically, we uncover critical community smells in two areas of the team's development process. Semi-structured interviews with five team members validate our findings: while the team was aware of one community smell and employed measures to address it, it was not aware of the second. This highlights the potential of our approach as a robust tool for identifying and addressing community smells in software development teams. More generally, our work contributes to the social network analysis field with a powerful set of higher-order network centralities that effectively capture community dynamics and indirect relationships.

2.Coverage Goal Selector for Combining Multiple Criteria in Search-Based Unit Test Generation

Authors:Zhichao Zhou, Yuming Zhou, Chunrong Fang, Zhenyu Chen, Xiapu Luo, Jingzhu He, Yutian Tang

Abstract: Unit testing is critical to the software development process, ensuring the correctness of basic programming units in a program (e.g., a method). Search-based software testing (SBST) is an automated approach to generating test cases. SBST generates test cases with genetic algorithms by specifying the coverage criterion (e.g., branch coverage). However, a good test suite must have different properties, which cannot be captured using an individual coverage criterion. Therefore, the state-of-the-art approach combines multiple criteria to generate test cases. Since combining multiple coverage criteria brings multiple objectives for optimization, it hurts the test suites' coverage for certain criteria compared with using the single criterion. To cope with this problem, we propose a novel approach named \textbf{smart selection}. Based on the coverage correlations among criteria and the subsumption relationships among coverage goals, smart selection selects a subset of coverage goals to reduce the number of optimization objectives and avoid missing any properties of all criteria. We conduct experiments to evaluate smart selection on $400$ Java classes with three state-of-the-art genetic algorithms under the $2$-minute budget. On average, smart selection outperforms combining all goals on $65.1\%$ of the classes having significant differences between the two approaches. Secondly, we conduct experiments to verify our assumptions about coverage criteria relationships. Furthermore, we experiment with different budgets of $5$, $8$, and $10$ minutes, confirming the advantage of smart selection over combining all goals.

3.Asynchronous Integration of Real-Time Simulators for HIL-based Validation of Smart Grids

Authors:Catalin Gavriluta, Georg Lauss, Thomas I. Strasser, Juan Montoya, Ron Brandl, Panos Kotsampopoulos

Abstract: As the landscape of devices that interact with the electrical grid expands, also the complexity of the scenarios that arise from these interactions increases. Validation methods and tools are typically domain specific and are designed to approach mainly component level testing. For this kind of applications, software and hardware-in-the-loop based simulations as well as lab experiments are all tools that allow testing with different degrees of accuracy at various stages in the development life-cycle. However, things are vastly different when analysing the tools and the methodology available for performing system-level validation. Until now there are no available well-defined approaches for testing complex use cases involving components from different domains. Smart grid applications would typically include a relatively large number of physical devices, software components, as well as communication technology, all working hand in hand. This paper explores the possibilities that are opened in terms of testing by the integration of a real-time simulator into co-simulation environments. Three practical implementations of such systems together with performance metrics are discussed. Two control-related examples are selected in order to show the capabilities of the proposed approach.

4.Towards a Systematic Approach for Smart Grid Hazard Analysis and Experiment Specification

Authors:Paul Smith, Eva Piatkowska, Edmund Widl, Filip Pröstl Andrén, Thomas I. Strasser

Abstract: The transition to the smart grid introduces complexity to the design and operation of electric power systems. This complexity has the potential to result in safety-related losses that are caused, for example, by unforeseen interactions between systems and cyber-attacks. Consequently, it is important to identify potential losses and their root causes, ideally during system design. This is non-trivial and requires a systematic approach. Furthermore, due to complexity, it may not possible to reason about the circumstances that could lead to a loss; in this case, experiments are required. In this work, we present how two complementary deductive approaches can be usefully integrated to address these concerns: Systems Theoretic Process Analysis (STPA) is a systems approach to identifying safety-related hazard scenarios; and the ERIGrid Holistic Test Description (HTD) provides a structured approach to refine and document experiments. The intention of combining these approaches is to enable a systematic approach to hazard analysis whose findings can be experimentally tested. We demonstrate the use of this approach with a reactive power voltage control case study for a low voltage distribution network.

5.WASM-MUTATE: Fast and Effective Binary Diversification for WebAssembly

Authors:Javier Cabrera-Arteaga, Nicholas Fitzgerald, Martin Monperrus, Benoit Baudry

Abstract: WebAssembly has is renowned for its efficiency and security in browser environments and servers alike. The burgeoning ecosystem of WebAssembly compilers and tools lacks robust software diversification systems. We introduce WASM-MUTATE, a compiler-agnostic WebAssembly diversification engine. It is engineered to fulfill the following key criteria: 1) the rapid generation of semantically equivalent yet behaviorally diverse WebAssembly variants, 2) universal applicability to any WebAssembly programs regardless of the source programming language, and 3) the capability to counter high-risk security threats. Utilizing an e-graph data structure, WASM-MUTATE is both fast and effective. Our experiments reveal that WASM-MUTATE can efficiently generate tens of thousands of unique WebAssembly variants in a matter of minutes. Notably, WASM-MUTATE can protect WebAssembly binaries against timing side-channel attacks, specifically, Spectre.

6.Pop Quiz! Do Pre-trained Code Models Possess Knowledge of Correct API Names?

Authors:Terry Yue Zhuo, Xiaoning Du, Zhenchang Xing, Jiamou Sun, Haowei Quan, Li Li, Liming Zhu

Abstract: Recent breakthroughs in pre-trained code models, such as CodeBERT and Codex, have shown their superior performance in various downstream tasks. The correctness and unambiguity of API usage among these code models are crucial for achieving desirable program functionalities, requiring them to learn various API fully qualified names structurally and semantically. Recent studies reveal that even state-of-the-art pre-trained code models struggle with suggesting the correct APIs during code generation. However, the reasons for such poor API usage performance are barely investigated. To address this challenge, we propose using knowledge probing as a means of interpreting code models, which uses cloze-style tests to measure the knowledge stored in models. Our comprehensive study examines a code model's capability of understanding API fully qualified names from two different perspectives: API call and API import. Specifically, we reveal that current code models struggle with understanding API names, with pre-training strategies significantly affecting the quality of API name learning. We demonstrate that natural language context can assist code models in locating Python API names and generalize Python API name knowledge to unseen data. Our findings provide insights into the limitations and capabilities of current pre-trained code models, and suggest that incorporating API structure into the pre-training process can improve automated API usage and code representations. This work provides significance for advancing code intelligence practices and direction for future studies. All experiment results, data and source code used in this work are available at \url{}.

1.OrdinalFix: Fixing Compilation Errors via Shortest-Path CFL Reachability

Authors:Wenjie Zhang, Guancheng Wang, Junjie Chen, Yingfei Xiong, Yong Liu, Lu Zhang

Abstract: The development of correct and efficient software can be hindered by compilation errors, which must be fixed to ensure the code's syntactic correctness and program language constraints. Neural network-based approaches have been used to tackle this problem, but they lack guarantees of output correctness and can require an unlimited number of modifications. Fixing compilation errors within a given number of modifications is a challenging task. We demonstrate that finding the minimum number of modifications to fix a compilation error is NP-hard. To address compilation error fixing problem, we propose OrdinalFix, a complete algorithm based on shortest-path CFL (context-free language) reachability with attribute checking that is guaranteed to output a program with the minimum number of modifications required. Specifically, OrdinalFix searches possible fixes from the smallest to the largest number of modifications. By incorporating merged attribute checking to enhance efficiency, the time complexity of OrdinalFix is acceptable for application. We evaluate OrdinalFix on two datasets and demonstrate its ability to fix compilation errors within reasonable time limit. Comparing with existing approaches, OrdinalFix achieves a success rate of 83.5%, surpassing all existing approaches (71.7%).

2.APICom: Automatic API Completion via Prompt Learning and Adversarial Training-based Data Augmentation

Authors:Yafeng Gu, Yiheng Shen, Xiang Chen, Shaoyu Yang, Yiling Huang, Zhixiang Cao

Abstract: Based on developer needs and usage scenarios, API (Application Programming Interface) recommendation is the process of assisting developers in finding the required API among numerous candidate APIs. Previous studies mainly modeled API recommendation as the recommendation task, which can recommend multiple candidate APIs for the given query, and developers may not yet be able to find what they need. Motivated by the neural machine translation research domain, we can model this problem as the generation task, which aims to directly generate the required API for the developer query. After our preliminary investigation, we find the performance of this intuitive approach is not promising. The reason is that there exists an error when generating the prefixes of the API. However, developers may know certain API prefix information during actual development in most cases. Therefore, we model this problem as the automatic completion task and propose a novel approach APICom based on prompt learning, which can generate API related to the query according to the prompts (i.e., API prefix information). Moreover, the effectiveness of APICom highly depends on the quality of the training dataset. In this study, we further design a novel gradient-based adversarial training method {\atpart} for data augmentation, which can improve the normalized stability when generating adversarial examples. To evaluate the effectiveness of APICom, we consider a corpus of 33k developer queries and corresponding APIs. Compared with the state-of-the-art baselines, our experimental results show that APICom can outperform all baselines by at least 40.02\%, 13.20\%, and 16.31\% in terms of the performance measures EM@1, MRR, and MAP. Finally, our ablation studies confirm the effectiveness of our component setting (such as our designed adversarial training method, our used pre-trained model, and prompt learning) in APICom.

3.Data Pipeline Quality: Influencing Factors, Root Causes of Data-related Issues, and Processing Problem Areas for Developers

Authors:Harald Foidl, Valentina Golendukhina, Rudolf Ramler, Michael Felderer

Abstract: Data pipelines are an integral part of various modern data-driven systems. However, despite their importance, they are often unreliable and deliver poor-quality data. A critical step toward improving this situation is a solid understanding of the aspects contributing to the quality of data pipelines. Therefore, this article first introduces a taxonomy of 41 factors that influence the ability of data pipelines to provide quality data. The taxonomy is based on a multivocal literature review and validated by eight interviews with experts from the data engineering domain. Data, infrastructure, life cycle management, development & deployment, and processing were found to be the main influencing themes. Second, we investigate the root causes of data-related issues, their location in data pipelines, and the main topics of data pipeline processing issues for developers by mining GitHub projects and Stack Overflow posts. We found data-related issues to be primarily caused by incorrect data types (33%), mainly occurring in the data cleaning stage of pipelines (35%). Data integration and ingestion tasks were found to be the most asked topics of developers, accounting for nearly half (47%) of all questions. Compatibility issues were found to be a separate problem area in addition to issues corresponding to the usual data pipeline processing areas (i.e., data loading, ingestion, integration, cleaning, and transformation). These findings suggest that future research efforts should focus on analyzing compatibility and data type issues in more depth and assisting developers in data integration and ingestion tasks. The proposed taxonomy is valuable to practitioners in the context of quality assurance activities and fosters future research into data pipeline quality.

1.Automatically Estimating the Effort Required to Repay Self-Admitted Technical Debt

Authors:Yikun Li, Mohamed Soliman, Paris Avgeriou

Abstract: Technical debt refers to the consequences of sub-optimal decisions made during software development that prioritize short-term benefits over long-term maintainability. Self-Admitted Technical Debt (SATD) is a specific form of technical debt, explicitly documented by developers within software artifacts such as source code comments and commit messages. As SATD can hinder software development and maintenance, it is crucial to address and prioritize it effectively. However, current methodologies lack the ability to automatically estimate the repayment effort of SATD based on its textual descriptions. To address this limitation, we propose a novel approach for automatically estimating SATD repayment effort, utilizing a comprehensive dataset comprising 341,740 SATD items from 2,568,728 commits across 1,060 Apache repositories. Our findings show that different types of SATD require varying levels of repayment effort, with code/design, requirement, and test debt demanding greater effort compared to non-SATD items, while documentation debt requires less. We introduce and evaluate machine learning methodologies, particularly BERT and TextCNN, which outperforms classic machine learning methods and the naive baseline in estimating repayment effort. Additionally, we summarize keywords associated with varying levels of repayment effort that occur during SATD repayment. Our contributions aim to enhance the prioritization of SATD repayment effort and resource allocation efficiency, ultimately benefiting software development and maintainability.

2.RAP-Gen: Retrieval-Augmented Patch Generation with CodeT5 for Automatic Program Repair

Authors:Weishi Wang, Yue Wang, Shafiq Joty, Steven C. H. Hoi

Abstract: Automatic program repair (APR) is crucial to reduce manual debugging efforts for developers and improve software reliability. While conventional search-based techniques typically rely on heuristic rules or a redundancy assumption to mine fix patterns, recent years have witnessed the surge of deep learning (DL) based approaches to automate the program repair process in a data-driven manner. However, their performance is often limited by a fixed set of parameters to model the highly complex search space of APR. To ease such burden on the parametric models, in this work, we propose a novel Retrieval-Augmented Patch Generation framework (RAP-Gen) by explicitly leveraging relevant fix patterns retrieved from a codebase of previous bug-fix pairs. Specifically, we build a hybrid patch retriever to account for both lexical and semantic matching based on the raw source code in a language-agnostic manner, which does not rely on any code-specific features. In addition, we adapt a code-aware language model CodeT5 as our foundation model to facilitate both patch retrieval and generation tasks in a unified manner. We adopt a stage-wise approach where the patch retriever first retrieves a relevant external bug-fix pair to augment the buggy input for the CodeT5 patch generator, which synthesizes a ranked list of repair patch candidates. Notably, RAP-Gen is a generic APR framework that can flexibly integrate different patch retrievers and generators to repair various types of bugs. We thoroughly evaluate RAP-Gen on three benchmarks in two programming languages, including the TFix benchmark in JavaScript, and Code Refinement and Defects4J benchmarks in Java, where the bug localization information may or may not be provided. Experimental results show that RAP-Gen significantly outperforms previous state-of-the-art approaches on all benchmarks, e.g., repairing 15 more bugs on 818 Defects4J bugs.

3.Online Name-Based Navigation for Software Meta-languages

Authors:Peter D. Mosses

Abstract: Software language design and implementation often involve specifications written in various esoteric meta-languages. Language workbenches generally include support for precise name-based navigation when browsing language specifications locally, but such support is lacking when browsing the same specifications online in code repositories. This paper presents a technique to support precise name-based navigation of language specifications in online repositories using ordinary web browsers. The idea is to generate hyperlinked twins: websites where verbatim copies of specification text are enhanced with hyperlinks between name references and declarations. By generating hyperlinks directly from the name binding analysis used internally in a language workbench, online navigation in hyperlinked twins is automatically consistent with local navigation. The presented technique has been implemented for the Spoofax language workbench, and used to generate hyperlinked twin websites from various language specifications in Spoofax meta-languages. However, the applicability of the technique is not limited to Spoofax, and developers of other language workbenches could presumably implement similar tooling, to make their language specifications more accessible to those who do not have the workbench installed.

4.Towards an Understanding of Developers' Perceptions of Transparency in Software Development: A Preliminary Study

Authors:Humphrey O. Obie, Juliet Ukwella, Kashumi Madampe, John Grundy, Mojtaba Shahin

Abstract: Software applications play an increasingly critical role in various aspects of our lives, from communication and entertainment to business and healthcare. As these applications become more pervasive, the importance of considering human values in software development has gained significant attention. In this preliminary study, we investigate developers's perceptions and experiences related to human values, with a focus on the human value of transparency. We interviewed five experienced developers and conducted thematic analysis to explore how developers perceive transparency, violations of transparency, and the process of fixing reported violations of transparency. Our findings reveal the significance of transparency as a fundamental value in software development, with developers recognising its importance for building trust, promoting accountability, and fostering ethical practices. Developers recognise the negative consequences of the violation of the human value of transparency and follow a systematic process to fix reported violations. This includes investigation, root cause analysis, corrective action planning, collaborative problem-solving, and testing and verification. These preliminary findings contribute to the understanding of transparency in software development and provide insights for promoting ethical practices.

5.PreciseBugCollector: Extensible, Executable and Precise Bug-fix Collection

Authors:Ye He, Zimin Chen, Claire Le Goues

Abstract: Bug datasets are vital for enabling deep learning techniques to address software maintenance tasks related to bugs. However, existing bug datasets suffer from precise and scale limitations: they are either small-scale but precise with manual validation or large-scale but imprecise with simple commit message processing. In this paper, we introduce PreciseBugCollector, a precise, multi-language bug collection approach that overcomes these two limitations. PreciseBugCollector is based on two novel components: a) A bug tracker to map the codebase repositories with external bug repositories to trace bug type information, and b) A bug injector to generate project-specific bugs by injecting noise into the correct codebases and then executing them against their test suites to obtain test failure messages. We implement PreciseBugCollector against three sources: 1) A bug tracker that links to the national vulnerability data set (NVD) to collect general-wise vulnerabilities, 2) A bug tracker that links to OSS-Fuzz to collect general-wise bugs, and 3) A bug injector based on 16 injection rules to generate project-wise bugs. To date, \approach comprises 1057818 bugs extracted from 2968 open-source projects. Of these, 12602 bugs are sourced from bug repositories (NVD and OSS-Fuzz), while the remaining 1045216 project-specific bugs are generated by the bug injector. Considering the challenge objectives, we argue that a bug injection approach is highly valuable for the industrial setting, since project-specific bugs align with domain knowledge, share the same codebase, and adhere to the coding style employed in industrial projects.

6.Evaluating the Risk of Changes in a Microservices Architecture

Authors:Matteo Collina, Luca Maraschi, Tommaso Pirini 1. Platformatic Inc

Abstract: In a microservices-based system, reliability and availability are key components to guarantee the best-in-class experience for the consumers. One of the key advantages of microservices architecture is the ability to independently deploy services, providing maximum change flexibility. However, this introduces an extra complexity in managing the risk associated with every change: any mutation of a service might cause the whole system to fail. In this research, we would propose an algorithm to enable development teams to determine the risk associated with each change to any of the microservices in the system.

7.Visualising Game Engine Subsystem Coupling

Authors:Gabriel C. Ullmann, Yann-Gaël Guéhéneuc, Fabio Petrillo, Nicolas Anquetil, Cristiano Politowski

Abstract: Game engines support video game development by providing functionalities such as graphics rendering or input/output device management. However, their architectures are often overlooked, which hinders their integration and extension. In this paper, we use an approach for architecture recovery to create architectural models for 10 open-source game engines. We use these models to answer the following questions: Which subsystems more often couple with one another? Do game engines share subsystem coupling patterns? We observe that the Low-Level Renderer, Platform Independence Layer and Resource Manager are frequently coupled to the game engine Core. By identifying the most frequent coupling patterns, we describe an emergent game engine architecture and discuss how it can be used by practitioners to improve system understanding and maintainability.

8.Unveiling the potential of large language models in generating semantic and cross-language clones

Authors:Palash R. Roy, Ajmain I. Alam, Farouq Al-omari, Banani Roy, Chanchal K. Roy, Kevin A. Schneider

Abstract: Semantic and Cross-language code clone generation may be useful for code reuse, code comprehension, refactoring and benchmarking. OpenAI's GPT model has potential in such clone generation as GPT is used for text generation. When developers copy/paste codes from Stack Overflow (SO) or within a system, there might be inconsistent changes leading to unexpected behaviours. Similarly, if someone possesses a code snippet in a particular programming language but seeks equivalent functionality in a different language, a semantic cross-language code clone generation approach could provide valuable assistance.In this study, using SemanticCloneBench as a vehicle, we evaluated how well the GPT-3 model could help generate semantic and cross-language clone variants for a given fragment.We have comprised a diverse set of code fragments and assessed GPT-3s performance in generating code variants.Through extensive experimentation and analysis, where 9 judges spent 158 hours to validate, we investigate the model's ability to produce accurate and semantically correct variants. Our findings shed light on GPT-3's strengths in code generation, offering insights into the potential applications and challenges of using advanced language models in software development. Our quantitative analysis yields compelling results. In the realm of semantic clones, GPT-3 attains an impressive accuracy of 62.14% and 0.55 BLEU score, achieved through few-shot prompt engineering. Furthermore, the model shines in transcending linguistic confines, boasting an exceptional 91.25% accuracy in generating cross-language clones

1.Enabling Runtime Verification of Causal Discovery Algorithms with Automated Conditional Independence Reasoning (Extended Version)

Authors:Pingchuan Ma, Zhenlan Ji, Peisen Yao, Shuai Wang, Kui Ren

Abstract: Causal discovery is a powerful technique for identifying causal relationships among variables in data. It has been widely used in various applications in software engineering. Causal discovery extensively involves conditional independence (CI) tests. Hence, its output quality highly depends on the performance of CI tests, which can often be unreliable in practice. Moreover, privacy concerns arise when excessive CI tests are performed. Despite the distinct nature between unreliable and excessive CI tests, this paper identifies a unified and principled approach to addressing both of them. Generally, CI statements, the outputs of CI tests, adhere to Pearl's axioms, which are a set of well-established integrity constraints on conditional independence. Hence, we can either detect erroneous CI statements if they violate Pearl's axioms or prune excessive CI statements if they are logically entailed by Pearl's axioms. Holistically, both problems boil down to reasoning about the consistency of CI statements under Pearl's axioms (referred to as CIR problem). We propose a runtime verification tool called CICheck, designed to harden causal discovery algorithms from reliability and privacy perspectives. CICheck employs a sound and decidable encoding scheme that translates CIR into SMT problems. To solve the CIR problem efficiently, CICheck introduces a four-stage decision procedure with three lightweight optimizations that actively prove or refute consistency, and only resort to costly SMT-based reasoning when necessary. Based on the decision procedure to CIR, CICheck includes two variants: ED-CICheck and ED-CICheck, which detect erroneous CI tests (to enhance reliability) and prune excessive CI tests (to enhance privacy), respectively. [abridged due to length limit]

2.Incentive-Based Software Security: Fair Micro-Payments for Writing Secure Code

Authors:Stefan Rass, Martin Pinzger

Abstract: We describe a mechanism to create fair and explainable incentives for software developers to reward contributions to security of a product. We use cooperative game theory to model the actions of the developer team inside a risk management workflow, considering the team to actively work against known threats, and thereby receive micro-payments based on their performance. The use of the Shapley-value provides natural explanations here directly through (new) interpretations of the axiomatic grounding of the imputation. The resulting mechanism is straightforward to implement, and relies on standard tools from collaborative software development, such as are available for git repositories and mining thereof. The micropayment model itself is deterministic and does not rely on uncertain information outside the scope of the developer team or the enterprise, hence is void of assumptions about adversarial incentives, or user behavior, up to their role in the risk management process that the mechanism is part of. We corroborate our model with a worked example based on real-life data.

3.Hazards in Deep Learning Testing: Prevalence, Impact and Recommendations

Authors:Salah Ghamizi, Maxime Cordy, Yuejun Guo, Mike Papadakis, And Yves Le Traon

Abstract: Much research on Machine Learning testing relies on empirical studies that evaluate and show their potential. However, in this context empirical results are sensitive to a number of parameters that can adversely impact the results of the experiments and potentially lead to wrong conclusions (Type I errors, i.e., incorrectly rejecting the Null Hypothesis). To this end, we survey the related literature and identify 10 commonly adopted empirical evaluation hazards that may significantly impact experimental results. We then perform a sensitivity analysis on 30 influential studies that were published in top-tier SE venues, against our hazard set and demonstrate their criticality. Our findings indicate that all 10 hazards we identify have the potential to invalidate experimental findings, such as those made by the related literature, and should be handled properly. Going a step further, we propose a point set of 10 good empirical practices that has the potential to mitigate the impact of the hazards. We believe our work forms the first step towards raising awareness of the common pitfalls and good practices within the software engineering community and hopefully contribute towards setting particular expectations for empirical research in the field of deep learning testing.

4.When ChatGPT Meets Smart Contract Vulnerability Detection: How Far Are We?

Authors:Chong Chen, Jianzhong Su, Jiachi Chen, Yanlin Wang, Tingting Bi, Yanli Wang, Xingwei Lin, Ting Chen, Zibin Zheng

Abstract: With the development of blockchain technology, smart contracts have become an important component of blockchain applications. Despite their crucial role, the development of smart contracts may introduce vulnerabilities and potentially lead to severe consequences, such as financial losses. Meanwhile, large language models, represented by ChatGPT, have gained great attentions, showcasing great capabilities in code analysis tasks. In this paper, we presented an empirical study to investigate the performance of ChatGPT in identifying smart contract vulnerabilities. Initially, we evaluated ChatGPT's effectiveness using a publicly available smart contract dataset. Our findings discover that while ChatGPT achieves a high recall rate, its precision in pinpointing smart contract vulnerabilities is limited. Furthermore, ChatGPT's performance varies when detecting different vulnerability types. We delved into the root causes for the false positives generated by ChatGPT, and categorized them into four groups. Second, by comparing ChatGPT with other state-of-the-art smart contract vulnerability detection tools, we found that ChatGPT's F-score is lower than others for 3 out of the 7 vulnerabilities. In the case of the remaining 4 vulnerabilities, ChatGPT exhibits a slight advantage over these tools. Finally, we analyzed the limitation of ChatGPT in smart contract vulnerability detection, revealing that the robustness of ChatGPT in this field needs to be improved from two aspects: its uncertainty in answering questions; and the limited length of the detected code. In general, our research provides insights into the strengths and weaknesses of employing large language models, specifically ChatGPT, for the detection of smart contract vulnerabilities.

5.Kani: A Lightweight and Highly Hackable Framework for Building Language Model Applications

Authors:Andrew Zhu, Liam Dugan, Alyssa Hwang, Chris Callison-Burch

Abstract: Language model applications are becoming increasingly popular and complex, often including features like tool usage and retrieval augmentation. However, existing frameworks for such applications are often opinionated, deciding for developers how their prompts ought to be formatted and imposing limitations on customizability and reproducibility. To solve this we present Kani: a lightweight, flexible, and model-agnostic open-source framework for building language model applications. Kani helps developers implement a variety of complex features by supporting the core building blocks of chat interaction: model interfacing, chat management, and robust function calling. All Kani core functions are easily overridable and well documented to empower developers to customize functionality for their own needs. Kani thus serves as a useful tool for researchers, hobbyists, and industry professionals alike to accelerate their development while retaining interoperability and fine-grained control.

1.Trustworthy and Synergistic Artificial Intelligence for Software Engineering: Vision and Roadmaps

Authors:David Lo

Abstract: For decades, much software engineering research has been dedicated to devising automated solutions aimed at enhancing developer productivity and elevating software quality. The past two decades have witnessed an unparalleled surge in the development of intelligent solutions tailored for software engineering tasks. This momentum established the Artificial Intelligence for Software Engineering (AI4SE) area, which has swiftly become one of the most active and popular areas within the software engineering field. This Future of Software Engineering (FoSE) paper navigates through several focal points. It commences with a succinct introduction and history of AI4SE. Thereafter, it underscores the core challenges inherent to AI4SE, particularly highlighting the need to realize trustworthy and synergistic AI4SE. Progressing, the paper paints a vision for the potential leaps achievable if AI4SE's key challenges are surmounted, suggesting a transition towards Software Engineering 2.0. Two strategic roadmaps are then laid out: one centered on realizing trustworthy AI4SE, and the other on fostering synergistic AI4SE. While this paper may not serve as a conclusive guide, its intent is to catalyze further progress. The ultimate aspiration is to position AI4SE as a linchpin in redefining the horizons of software engineering, propelling us toward Software Engineering 2.0.

2.The State of Disappearing Frameworks in 2023

Authors:Juho Vepsäläinen, Arto Hellas, Petri Vuorimaa

Abstract: Disappearing frameworks represent a new type of thinking for web development. In the current mainstream JavaScript frameworks, the focus has been on developer experience at the cost of user experience. Disappearing frameworks shift the focus by aiming to deliver as little, even zero, JavaScript to the client. In this paper, we look at the options available in the ecosystem in mid-2023 and characterize them in terms of functionality and features to provide a state-of-the-art view of the trend. We found that the frameworks rely heavily on compilers, often support progressive enhancement, and most of the time support static output. While solutions like Astro are UI library agnostic, others, such as Marko, are more opinionated.

3.Lessons from the Long Tail: Analysing Unsafe Dependency Updates across Software Ecosystems

Authors:Supatsara Wattanakriengkrai, Raula Gaikovina Kula, Christoph Treude, Kenichi Matsumoto

Abstract: A risk in adopting third-party dependencies into an application is their potential to serve as a doorway for malicious code to be injected (most often unknowingly). While many initiatives from both industry and research communities focus on the most critical dependencies (i.e., those most depended upon within the ecosystem), little is known about whether the rest of the ecosystem suffers the same fate. Our vision is to promote and establish safer practises throughout the ecosystem. To motivate our vision, in this paper, we present preliminary data based on three representative samples from a population of 88,416 pull requests (PRs) and identify unsafe dependency updates (i.e., any pull request that risks being unsafe during runtime), which clearly shows that unsafe dependency updates are not limited to highly impactful libraries. To draw attention to the long tail, we propose a research agenda comprising six key research questions that further explore how to safeguard against these unsafe activities. This includes developing best practises to address unsafe dependency updates not only in top-tier libraries but throughout the entire ecosystem.

4.HITA: An Architecture for System-level Testing of Healthcare IoT Applications

Authors:Hassan Sartaj, Shaukat Ali, Tao Yue, Kjetil Moberg

Abstract: System-level testing of healthcare Internet of Things (IoT_ applications requires creating a test infrastructure with integrated medical devices and third-party applications. A significant challenge in creating such test infrastructure is that healthcare IoT applications evolve continuously with the addition of new medical devices from different vendors and new services offered by different third-party organizations following different architectures. Moreover, creating test infrastructure with a large number of different types of medical devices is time-consuming, financially expensive, and practically infeasible. Oslo City healthcare department faced these challenges while working with various healthcare IoT applications. This paper presents a real-world software architecture (HITA) to create a test infrastructure for healthcare IoT applications. We discuss the quality requirements achieved by HITA and the status of work products developing as a part of HITA. We also present our experiences and lessons learned from the architectural work related to HITA.

5.Testing Real-World Healthcare IoT Application: Experiences and Lessons Learned

Authors:Hassan Sartaj, Shaukat Ali, Tao Yue, Kjetil Moberg

Abstract: Healthcare Internet of Things (IoT) applications require rigorous testing to ensure their dependability. Such applications are typically integrated with various third-party healthcare applications and medical devices through REST APIs. This integrated network of healthcare IoT applications leads to REST APIs with complicated and interdependent structures, thus creating a major challenge for automated system-level testing. We report an industrial evaluation of a state-of-the-art REST APIs testing approach (RESTest) on a real-world healthcare IoT application. We analyze the effectiveness of RESTest's testing strategies regarding REST APIs failures, faults in the application, and REST API coverage, by experimenting with six REST APIs of 41 API endpoints of the healthcare IoT application. Results show that several failures are discovered in different REST APIs with ~56% coverage using RESTest. Moreover, nine potential faults are identified. Using the evidence collected from the experiments, we provide our experiences and lessons learned.

6.Seeding Contradiction: a fast method for generating full-coverage test suites

Authors:Li Huang, Bertrand Meyer, Manuel Oriol

Abstract: The regression test suite, a key resource for managing program evolution, needs to achieve 100% coverage, or very close, to be useful. Devising a test suite manually is unacceptably tedious, but existing automated methods are often inefficient. The method described in this article, ``Seeding Contradiction'', inserts incorrect instructions into every basic block of the program, enabling an SMT-based Hoare-style prover to generate a counterexample for every branch of the program and, from the collection of all such counterexamples, a test suite. The method is static, works fast, and achieves excellent coverage.

7.Locating Buggy Segments in Quantum Program Debugging

Authors:Naoto Sato, Ryota Katsube

Abstract: When a bug is detected by testing a quantum program on a quantum computer, we want to determine its detailed location to fix it. To locate the bug, the quantum program is divided into several segments and each segment is tested. However, to prepare a quantum state that is input to a segment, it is necessary to execute all the segments ahead of that segment in a quantum computer. This means that the cost of testing each segment depends on its location. We can also locate a buggy segment only if it is confirmed that there are no bugs in all segments ahead of that buggy segment. Since a quantum program is tested statistically on the basis of measurement results, there is a tradeoff between testing accuracy and cost. Although these characteristics are unique to quantum programs and complicate locating bugs, they have not been investigated. We suggest for the first time that these characteristics should be considered to efficiently locate bugs. We are also the first to propose a bug-locating method that takes these characteristics into account. The results from experiments indicate that the bug-locating cost that is represented as the number of executed quantum gates can be reduced with the proposed method compared with naive methods.

8.How can feature usage be tracked across product variants? Implicit Feedback in Software Product Lines

Authors:Oscar Díaz, Raul Medeiros, Mustafa Al-Hajjaji

Abstract: Implicit feedback involves collecting information about software usage to understand how and when the software is used. This research focuses on implicit feedback in the context of Software Product Lines (SPLs). Traditionally, product feedback is obtained by directly embedding 'trackers' into the code. However, in the case of SPLs, where products are part of a portfolio, directly coding into the product variant conflicts with the principle of reducing or eliminating direct coding. This distinction between SPL-centered feedback and product-based feedback lies in the artifact being tracked (the feature versus the product) and the tracking approach (indirect coding versus direct coding). Based on a case study, we propose that product derivation includes a second step that injects the trackers at the time of derivation, using a Feedback Model that complements the Configuration Model for feedback analysis. To test this approach, we introduce FEACKER, an extension to pure::variants. FEACKER injects trackers when the product variant is derived. We conducted a TAM evaluation on employees of pure-systems (n=8) and addressed observed discrepancies through a focus group (n=3). The results indicate agreement on the interest in conducting feedback analysis at the platform level and the perception that FEACKER seamlessly extends the capabilities of pure::variants.

9.A Rapid Prototyping Language Workbench for Textual DSLs based on Xtext: Vision and Progress

Authors:Weixing Zhang, Jan-Philipp Steghöfer, Regina Hebig, Daniel Strüber

Abstract: Metamodel-based DSL development in language workbenches like Xtext allows language engineers to focus more on metamodels and domain concepts rather than grammar details. However, the grammar generated from metamodels often requires manual modification, which can be tedious and time-consuming. Especially when it comes to rapid prototyping and language evolution, the grammar will be generated repeatedly, this means that language engineers need to repeat such manual modification back and forth. Previous work introduced GrammarOptimizer, which automatically improves the generated grammar using optimization rules. However, the optimization rules need to be configured manually, which lacks user-friendliness and convenience. In this paper, we present our vision for and current progress towards a language workbench that integrates GrammarOptimizer's grammar optimization rules to support rapid prototyping and evolution of metamodel-based languages. It provides a visual configuration of optimization rules and a real-time preview of the effects of grammar optimization to address the limitations of GrammarOptimizer. Furthermore, it supports the inference of a grammar based on examples from model instances and offers a selection of language styles. These features aim to enhance the automation level of metamodel-based DSL development with Xtext and assist language engineers in iterative development and rapid prototyping. Our paper discusses the potential and applications of this language workbench, as well as how it fills the gaps in existing language workbenches.

1.VFFINDER: A Graph-based Approach for Automated Silent Vulnerability-Fix Identification

Authors:Son Nguyen, Thanh Trong Vu, Hieu Dinh Vo

Abstract: The increasing reliance of software projects on third-party libraries has raised concerns about the security of these libraries due to hidden vulnerabilities. Managing these vulnerabilities is challenging due to the time gap between fixes and public disclosures. Moreover, a significant portion of open-source projects silently fix vulnerabilities without disclosure, impacting vulnerability management. Existing tools like OWASP heavily rely on public disclosures, hindering their effectiveness in detecting unknown vulnerabilities. To tackle this problem, automated identification of vulnerability-fixing commits has emerged. However, identifying silent vulnerability fixes remains challenging. This paper presents VFFINDER, a novel graph-based approach for automated silent vulnerability fix identification. VFFINDER captures structural changes using Abstract Syntax Trees (ASTs) and represents them in annotated ASTs. VFFINDER distinguishes vulnerability-fixing commits from non-fixing ones using attention-based graph neural network models to extract structural features. We conducted experiments to evaluate VFFINDER on a dataset of 36K+ fixing and non-fixing commits in 507 real-world C/C++ projects. Our results show that VFFINDER significantly improves the state-of-the-art methods by 39-83% in Precision, 19-148% in Recall, and 30-109% in F1. Especially, VFFINDER speeds up the silent fix identification process by up to 47% with the same review effort of 5% compared to the existing approaches.

2.Parsing Fortran-77 with proprietary extensions

Authors:Younoussa Sow, Larisa Safina, Léandre Brault, Papa Ibou Diouf, Stéphane Ducasse, Nicolas Anquetil

Abstract: Far from the latest innovations in software development, many organizations still rely on old code written in "obsolete" programming languages. Because this source code is old and proven it often contributes significantly to the continuing success of these organizations. Yet to keep the applications relevant and running in an evolving environment, they sometimes need to be updated or migrated to new languages or new platforms. One difficulty of working with these "veteran languages" is being able to parse the source code to build a representation of it. Parsing can also allow modern software development tools and IDEs to offer better support to these veteran languages. We initiated a project between our group and the Framatome company to help migrate old Fortran-77 with proprietary extensions (called Esope) into more modern Fortran. In this paper, we explain how we parsed the Esope language with a combination of island grammar and regular parser to build an abstract syntax tree of the code.

3.Using a Nearest-Neighbour, BERT-Based Approach for Scalable Clone Detection

Authors:Muslim Chochlov Deptment of Computer Science and Information Systems, University of Limerick, Ireland, Gul Aftab Ahmed Deptment of Computer Science, Trinity College Dublin, Ireland, James Vincent Patten Deptment of Computer Science and Information Systems, University of Limerick, Ireland, Guoxian Lu WN Digital IPD and Trustworthiness Enabling, Huawei Technologies Co., Ltd., Shanghai, China, Wei Hou Huawei Vulnerability Management Center, Huawei Technologies Co., Ltd., Shenzhen, Guangdong, China, David Gregg Deptment of Computer Science, Trinity College Dublin, Ireland, Jim Buckley Deptment of Computer Science and Information Systems, University of Limerick, Ireland

Abstract: Code clones can detrimentally impact software maintenance and manually detecting them in very large codebases is impractical. Additionally, automated approaches find detection of Type 3 and Type 4 (inexact) clones very challenging. While the most recent artificial deep neural networks (for example BERT-based artificial neural networks) seem to be highly effective in detecting such clones, their pairwise comparison of every code pair in the target system(s) is inefficient and scales poorly on large codebases. We therefore introduce SSCD, a BERT-based clone detection approach that targets high recall of Type 3 and Type 4 clones at scale (in line with our industrial partner's requirements). It does so by computing a representative embedding for each code fragment and finding similar fragments using a nearest neighbour search. SSCD thus avoids the pairwise-comparison bottleneck of other Neural Network approaches while also using parallel, GPU-accelerated search to tackle scalability. This paper details the approach and an empirical assessment towards configuring and evaluating that approach in industrial setting. The configuration analysis suggests that shorter input lengths and text-only based neural network models demonstrate better efficiency in SSCD, while only slightly decreasing effectiveness. The evaluation results suggest that SSCD is more effective than state-of-the-art approaches like SAGA and SourcererCC. It is also highly efficient: in its optimal setting, SSCD effectively locates clones in the entire 320 million LOC BigCloneBench (a standard clone detection benchmark) in just under three hours.

4.Improving students' code correctness and test completeness by informal specifications

Authors:Arno Broeders, Ruud Hermans, Sylvia Stuurman, Lex Bijlsma, Harrie Passier

Abstract: The quality of software produced by students is often poor. How to teach students to develop good quality software has long been a topic in computer science education and research. We must conclude that we still do not have a good answer to this question. Specifications are necessary to determine the correctness of software, to develop error-free software and to write complete tests. Several attempts have been made to teach students to write specifications before writing code. So far, that has not proven to be very successful: Students do not like to write a specification and do not see the benefits of writing specifications. In this paper we focus on the use of informal specifications. Instead of teaching students how to write specifications, we teach them how to use informal specifications to develop correct software. The results were surprising: the number of errors in software and the completeness of tests both improved considerably and, most importantly, students really appreciate the specifications. We think that if students appreciate specification, we have a key to teach them how to specify and to appreciate its value.

5.A study on the impact of pre-trained model on Just-In-Time defect prediction

Authors:Yuxiang Guo, Xiaopeng Gao, Zhenyu Zhang, W. K. Chan, Bo Jiang

Abstract: Previous researchers conducting Just-In-Time (JIT) defect prediction tasks have primarily focused on the performance of individual pre-trained models, without exploring the relationship between different pre-trained models as backbones. In this study, we build six models: RoBERTaJIT, CodeBERTJIT, BARTJIT, PLBARTJIT, GPT2JIT, and CodeGPTJIT, each with a distinct pre-trained model as its backbone. We systematically explore the differences and connections between these models. Specifically, we investigate the performance of the models when using Commit code and Commit message as inputs, as well as the relationship between training efficiency and model distribution among these six models. Additionally, we conduct an ablation experiment to explore the sensitivity of each model to inputs. Furthermore, we investigate how the models perform in zero-shot and few-shot scenarios. Our findings indicate that each model based on different backbones shows improvements, and when the backbone's pre-training model is similar, the training resources that need to be consumed are much more closer. We also observe that Commit code plays a significant role in defect detection, and different pre-trained models demonstrate better defect detection ability with a balanced dataset under few-shot scenarios. These results provide new insights for optimizing JIT defect prediction tasks using pre-trained models and highlight the factors that require more attention when constructing such models. Additionally, CodeGPTJIT and GPT2JIT achieved better performance than DeepJIT and CC2Vec on the two datasets respectively under 2000 training samples. These findings emphasize the effectiveness of transformer-based pre-trained models in JIT defect prediction tasks, especially in scenarios with limited training data.

6.Revisiting File Context for Source Code Summarization

Authors:Aakash Bansal, Chia-Yi Su, Collin McMillan

Abstract: Source code summarization is the task of writing natural language descriptions of source code. A typical use case is generating short summaries of subroutines for use in API documentation. The heart of almost all current research into code summarization is the encoder-decoder neural architecture, and the encoder input is almost always a single subroutine or other short code snippet. The problem with this setup is that the information needed to describe the code is often not present in the code itself -- that information often resides in other nearby code. In this paper, we revisit the idea of ``file context'' for code summarization. File context is the idea of encoding select information from other subroutines in the same file. We propose a novel modification of the Transformer architecture that is purpose-built to encode file context and demonstrate its improvement over several baselines. We find that file context helps on a subset of challenging examples where traditional approaches struggle.

7.Contextual Predictive Mutation Testing

Authors:Kush Jain, Uri Alon, Alex Groce, Claire Le Goues

Abstract: Mutation testing is a powerful technique for assessing and improving test suite quality that artificially introduces bugs and checks whether the test suites catch them. However, it is also computationally expensive and thus does not scale to large systems and projects. One promising recent approach to tackling this scalability problem uses machine learning to predict whether the tests will detect the synthetic bugs, without actually running those tests. However, existing predictive mutation testing approaches still misclassify 33% of detection outcomes on a randomly sampled set of mutant-test suite pairs. We introduce MutationBERT, an approach for predictive mutation testing that simultaneously encodes the source method mutation and test method, capturing key context in the input representation. Thanks to its higher precision, MutationBERT saves 33% of the time spent by a prior approach on checking/verifying live mutants. MutationBERT, also outperforms the state-of-the-art in both same project and cross project settings, with meaningful improvements in precision, recall, and F1 score. We validate our input representation, and aggregation approaches for lifting predictions from the test matrix level to the test suite level, finding similar improvements in performance. MutationBERT not only enhances the state-of-the-art in predictive mutation testing, but also presents practical benefits for real-world applications, both in saving developer time and finding hard to detect mutants.

8.Mind the Gap: The Difference Between Coverage and Mutation Score Can Guide Testing Efforts

Authors:Kush Jain, Goutamkumar Tulajappa Kalburgi, Claire Le Goues, Alex Groce

Abstract: An "adequate" test suite should effectively find all inconsistencies between a system's requirements/specifications and its implementation. Practitioners frequently use code coverage to approximate adequacy, while academics argue that mutation score may better approximate true (oracular) adequacy coverage. High code coverage is increasingly attainable even on large systems via automatic test generation, including fuzzing. In light of all of these options for measuring and improving testing effort, how should a QA engineer spend their time? We propose a new framework for reasoning about the extent, limits, and nature of a given testing effort based on an idea we call the oracle gap, or the difference between source code coverage and mutation score for a given software element. We conduct (1) a large-scale observational study of the oracle gap across popular Maven projects, (2) a study that varies testing and oracle quality across several of those projects and (3) a small-scale observational study of highly critical, well-tested code across comparable blockchain projects. We show that the oracle gap surfaces important information about the extent and quality of a test effort beyond either adequacy metric alone. In particular, it provides a way for practitioners to identify source files where it is likely a weak oracle tests important code.

1.Copiloting the Copilots: Fusing Large Language Models with Completion Engines for Automated Program Repair

Authors:Yuxiang Wei, Chunqiu Steven Xia, Lingming Zhang

Abstract: During Automated Program Repair (APR), it can be challenging to synthesize correct patches for real-world systems in general-purpose programming languages. Recent Large Language Models (LLMs) have been shown to be helpful "copilots" in assisting developers with various coding tasks, and have also been directly applied for patch synthesis. However, most LLMs treat programs as sequences of tokens, meaning that they are ignorant of the underlying semantics constraints of the target programming language. This results in plenty of statically invalid generated patches, impeding the practicality of the technique. Therefore, we propose Repilot, a framework to further copilot the AI "copilots" (i.e., LLMs) by synthesizing more valid patches during the repair process. Our key insight is that many LLMs produce outputs autoregressively (i.e., token by token), resembling human writing programs, which can be significantly boosted and guided through a Completion Engine. Repilot synergistically synthesizes a candidate patch through the interaction between an LLM and a Completion Engine, which 1) prunes away infeasible tokens suggested by the LLM and 2) proactively completes the token based on the suggestions provided by the Completion Engine. Our evaluation on a subset of the widely-used Defects4j 1.2 and 2.0 datasets shows that Repilot fixes 66 and 50 bugs, respectively, surpassing the best-performing baseline by 14 and 16 bugs fixed. More importantly, Repilot is capable of producing more valid and correct patches than the base LLM when given the same generation budget.

1.MaintainoMATE: A GitHub App for Intelligent Automation of Maintenance Activities

Authors:Anas Nadeem, Muhammad Usman Sarwar, Muhammad Zubair Malik

Abstract: Software development projects rely on issue tracking systems at the core of tracking maintenance tasks such as bug reports, and enhancement requests. Incoming issue-reports on these issue tracking systems must be managed in an effective manner. First, they must be labelled and then assigned to a particular developer with relevant expertise. This handling of issue-reports is critical and requires thorough scanning of the text entered in an issue-report making it a labor-intensive task. In this paper, we present a unified framework called MaintainoMATE, which is capable of automatically categorizing the issue-reports in their respective category and further assigning the issue-reports to a developer with relevant expertise. We use the Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers (BERT), as an underlying model for MaintainoMATE to learn the contextual information for automatic issue-report labeling and assignment tasks. We deploy the framework used in this work as a GitHub application. We empirically evaluate our approach on GitHub issue-reports to show its capability of assigning labels to the issue-reports. We were able to achieve an F1-score close to 80\%, which is comparable to existing state-of-the-art results. Similarly, our initial evaluations show that we can assign relevant developers to the issue-reports with an F1 score of 54\%, which is a significant improvement over existing approaches. Our initial findings suggest that MaintainoMATE has the potential of improving software quality and reducing maintenance costs by accurately automating activities involved in the maintenance processes. Our future work would be directed towards improving the issue-assignment module.

2.Effective Test Generation Using Pre-trained Large Language Models and Mutation Testing

Authors:Arghavan Moradi Dakhel, Amin Nikanjam, Vahid Majdinasab, Foutse Khomh, Michel C. Desmarais

Abstract: One of the critical phases in software development is software testing. Testing helps with identifying potential bugs and reducing maintenance costs. The goal of automated test generation tools is to ease the development of tests by suggesting efficient bug-revealing tests. Recently, researchers have leveraged Large Language Models (LLMs) of code to generate unit tests. While the code coverage of generated tests was usually assessed, the literature has acknowledged that the coverage is weakly correlated with the efficiency of tests in bug detection. To improve over this limitation, in this paper, we introduce MuTAP for improving the effectiveness of test cases generated by LLMs in terms of revealing bugs by leveraging mutation testing. Our goal is achieved by augmenting prompts with surviving mutants, as those mutants highlight the limitations of test cases in detecting bugs. MuTAP is capable of generating effective test cases in the absence of natural language descriptions of the Program Under Test (PUTs). We employ different LLMs within MuTAP and evaluate their performance on different benchmarks. Our results show that our proposed method is able to detect up to 28% more faulty human-written code snippets. Among these, 17% remained undetected by both the current state-of-the-art fully automated test generation tool (i.e., Pynguin) and zero-shot/few-shot learning approaches on LLMs. Furthermore, MuTAP achieves a Mutation Score (MS) of 93.57% on synthetic buggy code, outperforming all other approaches in our evaluation. Our findings suggest that although LLMs can serve as a useful tool to generate test cases, they require specific post-processing steps to enhance the effectiveness of the generated test cases which may suffer from syntactic or functional errors and may be ineffective in detecting certain types of bugs and testing corner cases PUTs.

3.Learning to Represent Patches

Authors:Xunzhu Tang, Haoye Tian, Zhenghan Chen, Weiguo Pian, Saad Ezzini, Abdoul Kader Kabore, Andrew Habib, Jacques Klein, Tegawende F. Bissyande

Abstract: Patch representation is crucial in automating various software engineering tasks, like determining patch accuracy or summarizing code changes. While recent research has employed deep learning for patch representation, focusing on token sequences or Abstract Syntax Trees (ASTs), they often miss the change's semantic intent and the context of modified lines. To bridge this gap, we introduce a novel method, Patcherizer. It delves into the intentions of context and structure, merging the surrounding code context with two innovative representations. These capture the intention in code changes and the intention in AST structural modifications pre and post-patch. This holistic representation aptly captures a patch's underlying intentions. Patcherizer employs graph convolutional neural networks for structural intention graph representation and transformers for intention sequence representation. We evaluated Patcherizer's embeddings' versatility in three areas: (1) Patch description generation, (2) Patch accuracy prediction, and (3) Patch intention identification. Our experiments demonstrate the representation's efficacy across all tasks, outperforming state-of-the-art methods. For example, in patch description generation, Patcherizer excels, showing an average boost of 19.39% in BLEU, 8.71% in ROUGE-L, and 34.03% in METEOR scores.

4.Safety of the Intended Functionality Concept Integration into a Validation Tool Suite

Authors:Víctor J. Expósito Jiménez, Bernhard Winkler, Joaquim M. Castella Triginer, Heiko Scharke, Hannes Schneider, Eugen Brenner, Georg Macher

Abstract: Nowadays, the increasing complexity of Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) and Automated Driving (AD) means that the industry must move towards a scenario-based approach to validation rather than relying on established technology-based methods. This new focus also requires the validation process to take into account Safety of the Intended Functionality (SOTIF), as many scenarios may trigger hazardous vehicle behaviour. Thus, this work demonstrates how the integration of the SOTIF process within an existing validation tool suite can be achieved. The necessary adaptations are explained with accompanying examples to aid comprehension of the approach.

5.JavaScript Dead Code Identification, Elimination, and Empirical Assessment

Authors:Ivano Malavolta, Kishan Nirghin, Gian Luca Scoccia, Simone Romano, Salvatore Lombardi, Giuseppe Scanniello, Patricia Lago

Abstract: Web apps are built by using a combination of HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. While building modern web apps, it is common practice to make use of third-party libraries and frameworks, as to improve developers' productivity and code quality. Alongside these benefits, the adoption of such libraries results in the introduction of JavaScript dead code, i.e., code implementing unused functionalities. The costs for downloading and parsing dead code can negatively contribute to the loading time and resource usage of web apps. The goal of our study is two-fold. First, we present Lacuna, an approach for automatically detecting and eliminating JavaScript dead code from web apps. The proposed approach supports both static and dynamic analyses, it is extensible and can be applied to any JavaScript code base, without imposing constraints on the coding style or on the use of specific JavaScript constructs. Secondly, by leveraging Lacuna we conduct an experiment to empirically evaluate the run-time overhead of JavaScript dead code in terms of energy consumption, performance, network usage, and resource usage in the context of mobile web apps. We applied Lacuna four times on 30 mobile web apps independently developed by third-party developers, each time eliminating dead code according to a different optimization level provided by Lacuna. Afterward, each different version of the web app is executed on an Android device, while collecting measures to assess the potential run-time overhead caused by dead code. Experimental results, among others, highlight that the removal of JavaScript dead code has a positive impact on the loading time of mobile web apps, while significantly reducing the number of bytes transferred over the network.

6.Native vs Web Apps: Comparing the Energy Consumption and Performance of Android Apps and their Web Counterparts

Authors:Ruben Horn, Abdellah Lahnaoui, Edgardo Reinoso, Sicheng Peng, Vadim Isakov, Tanjina Islam, Ivano Malavolta

Abstract: Context. Many Internet content platforms, such as Spotify and YouTube, provide their services via both native and Web apps. Even though those apps provide similar features to the end user, using their native version or Web counterpart might lead to different levels of energy consumption and performance. Goal. The goal of this study is to empirically assess the energy consumption and performance of native and Web apps in the context of Internet content platforms on Android. Method. We select 10 Internet content platforms across 5 categories. Then, we measure them based on the energy consumption, network traffic volume, CPU load, memory load, and frame time of their native and Web versions; then, we statistically analyze the collected measures and report our results. Results. We confirm that native apps consume significantly less energy than their Web counterparts, with large effect size. Web apps use more CPU and memory, with statistically significant difference and large effect size. Therefore, we conclude that native apps tend to require fewer hardware resources than their corresponding Web versions. The network traffic volume exhibits statistically significant difference in favour of native apps, with small effect size. Our results do not allow us to draw any conclusion in terms of frame time. Conclusions. Based on our results, we advise users to access Internet contents using native apps over Web apps, when possible. Also, the results of this study motivate further research on the optimization of the usage of runtime resources of mobile Web apps and Android browsers.

7.Toward Automatically Completing GitHub Workflows

Authors:Antonio Mastropaolo, Fiorella Zampetti, Massimiliano Di Penta, Gabriele Bavota

Abstract: Continuous integration and delivery (CI/CD) are nowadays at the core of software development. Their benefits come at the cost of setting up and maintaining the CI/CD pipeline, which requires knowledge and skills often orthogonal to those entailed in other software-related tasks. While several recommender systems have been proposed to support developers across a variety of tasks, little automated support is available when it comes to setting up and maintaining CI/CD pipelines. We present GH-WCOM (GitHub Workflow COMpletion), a Transformer-based approach supporting developers in writing a specific type of CI/CD pipelines, namely GitHub workflows. To deal with such a task, we designed an abstraction process to help the learning of the transformer while still making GH-WCOM able to recommend very peculiar workflow elements such as tool options and scripting elements. Our empirical study shows that GH-WCOM provides up to 34.23% correct predictions, and the model's confidence is a reliable proxy for the recommendations' correctness likelihood.

1.Collaborative, Code-Proximal Dynamic Software Visualization within Code Editors

Authors:Alexander Krause-Glau, Wilhelm Hasselbring

Abstract: Software visualizations are usually realized as standalone and isolated tools that use embedded code viewers within the visualization. In the context of program comprehension, only few approaches integrate visualizations into code editors, such as integrated development environments. This is surprising since professional developers consider reading source code as one of the most important ways to understand software, therefore spend a lot of time with code editors. In this paper, we introduce the design and proof-of-concept implementation for a software visualization approach that can be embedded into code editors. Our contribution differs from related work in that we use dynamic analysis of a software system's runtime behavior. Additionally, we incorporate distributed tracing. This enables developers to understand how, for example, the currently handled source code behaves as a fully deployed, distributed software system. Our visualization approach enhances common remote pair programming tools and is collaboratively usable by employing shared code cities. As a result, user interactions are synchronized between code editor and visualization, as well as broadcasted to collaborators. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first approach that combines code editors with collaboratively usable code cities. Therefore, we conducted a user study to collect first-time feedback regarding the perceived usefulness and perceived usability of our approach. We additionally collected logging information to provide more data regarding time spent in code cities that are embedded in code editors. Seven teams with two students each participated in that study. The results show that the majority of participants find our approach useful and would employ it for their own use. We provide each participant's video recording, raw results, and all steps to reproduce our experiment as supplementary package.

2.Provengo: A Tool Suite for Scenario Driven Model-Based Testing

Authors:Michael Bar-Sinai, Achiya Elyasaf, Gera Weiss, Yeshayahu Weiss

Abstract: We present Provengo, a comprehensive suite of tools designed to facilitate the implementation of Scenario-Driven Model-Based Testing (SDMBT), an innovative approach that utilizes scenarios to construct a model encompassing the user's perspective and the system's business value while also defining the desired outcomes. With the assistance of Provengo, testers gain the ability to effortlessly create natural user stories and seamlessly integrate them into a model capable of generating effective tests. The demonstration illustrates how SDMBT effectively addresses the bootstrapping challenge commonly encountered in model-based testing (MBT) by enabling incremental development, starting from simple models and gradually augmenting them with additional stories.

3.WUDI: A Human Involved Self-Adaptive Framework to Prevent Childhood Obesity in Internet of Things Environment

Authors:Euijong Lee, Jaemin Jung, Gee-Myung Moon, Seong-Whan Lee, Ji-Hoon Jeong

Abstract: The Internet of Things (IoT) connects people, devices, and information resources, in various domains to improve efficiency. The healthcare domain has been transformed by the integration of the IoT, leading to the development of digital healthcare solutions such as health monitoring, emergency detection, and remote operation. This integration has led to an increase in the health data collected from a variety of IoT sources. Consequently, advanced technologies are required to analyze health data, and artificial intelligence has been employed to extract meaningful insights from the data. Childhood overweight and obesity have emerged as some of the most serious global public health challenges, as they can lead to a variety of health-related problems and the early development of chronic diseases. To address this, a self-adaptive framework is proposed to prevent childhood obesity by using lifelog data from IoT environments, with human involvement being an important consideration in the framework. The framework uses an ensemble-based learning model to predict obesity using the lifelog data. Empirical experiments using lifelog data from smartphone applications were conducted to validate the effectiveness of human involvement and obesity prediction. The results demonstrated the efficiency of the proposed framework with human involvement in obesity prediction. The proposed framework can be applied in real-world healthcare services for childhood obesity.

4.Functional Shell and Reusable Components for Easy GUIs

Authors:D. Ben Knoble, Bogdan Popa

Abstract: Some object-oriented GUI toolkits tangle state management with rendering. Functional shells and observable toolkits like GUI Easy simplify and promote the creation of reusable views by analogy to functional programming. We have successfully used GUI Easy on small and large GUI projects. We report on our experience constructing and using GUI Easy and derive from that experience several architectural patterns and principles for building functional programs out of imperative systems.

5.Framework and Methodology for Verification of a Complex Scientific Simulation Software, Flash-X

Authors:Akash Dhruv, Rajeev Jain, Jared O'Neal, Klaus Weide, Anshu Dubey

Abstract: Computational science relies on scientific software as its primary instrument for scientific discovery. Therefore, similar to the use of other types of scientific instruments, correct software and the correct operation of the software is necessary for executing rigorous scientific investigations. Scientific software verification can be especially difficult, as users typically need to modify the software as part of a scientific study. Systematic methodologies for building test suites for scientific software are rare in the literature. Here, we describe a methodology that we have developed for Flash-X, a community simulation software for multiple scientific domains, that has composable components that can be permuted and combined in a multitude of ways to generate a wide range of applications. Ensuring sufficient code coverage by a test suite is particularly challenging due to this composability. Our methodology includes a consideration of trade-offs between meeting software quality goals, developer productivity, and meeting the scientific goals of the Flash-X user community.

1.Which Requirements Artifact Quality Defects are Automatically Detectable? A Case Study

Authors:Henning Femmer, Michael Unterkalmsteiner, Tony Gorschek

Abstract: [Context] The quality of requirements engineering artifacts, e.g. requirements specifications, is acknowledged to be an important success factor for projects. Therefore, many companies spend significant amounts of money to control the quality of their RE artifacts. To reduce spending and improve the RE artifact quality, methods were proposed that combine manual quality control, i.e. reviews, with automated approaches. [Problem] So far, we have seen various approaches to automatically detect certain aspects in RE artifacts. However, we still lack an overview what can and cannot be automatically detected. [Approach] Starting from an industry guideline for RE artifacts, we classify 166 existing rules for RE artifacts along various categories to discuss the share and the characteristics of those rules that can be automated. For those rules, that cannot be automated, we discuss the main reasons. [Contribution] We estimate that 53% of the 166 rules can be checked automatically either perfectly or with a good heuristic. Most rules need only simple techniques for checking. The main reason why some rules resist automation is due to imprecise definition. [Impact] By giving first estimates and analyses of automatically detectable and not automatically detectable rule violations, we aim to provide an overview of the potential of automated methods in requirements quality control.

2.Summary of the 4th International Workshop on Requirements Engineering and Testing (RET 2017)

Authors:Markus Borg, Elizabeth Bjarnason, Michael Unterkalmsteiner, Tingting Yu, Gregory Gay, Michael Felderer

Abstract: The RET (Requirements Engineering and Testing) workshop series provides a meeting point for researchers and practitioners from the two separate fields of Requirements Engineering (RE) and Testing. The long term aim is to build a community and a body of knowledge within the intersection of RE and Testing, i.e., RET. The 4th workshop was co-located with the 25th International Requirements Engineering Conference (RE'17) in Lisbon, Portugal and attracted about 20 participants. In line with the previous workshop instances, RET 2017 o ered an interactive setting with a keynote, an invited talk, paper presentations, and a concluding hands-on exercise.

3.Introducing Interactions in Multi-Objective Optimization of Software Architectures

Authors:Vittorio Cortellessa, J. Andres Diaz-Pace, Daniele Di Pompeo, Sebastian Frank, Pooyan Jamshidi, Michele Tucci, André van Hoorn

Abstract: Software architecture optimization aims to enhance non-functional attributes like performance and reliability while meeting functional requirements. Multi-objective optimization employs metaheuristic search techniques, such as genetic algorithms, to explore feasible architectural changes and propose alternatives to designers. However, the resource-intensive process may not always align with practical constraints. This study investigates the impact of designer interactions on multi-objective software architecture optimization. Designers can intervene at intermediate points in the fully automated optimization process, making choices that guide exploration towards more desirable solutions. We compare this interactive approach with the fully automated optimization process, which serves as the baseline. The findings demonstrate that designer interactions lead to a more focused solution space, resulting in improved architectural quality. By directing the search towards regions of interest, the interaction uncovers architectures that remain unexplored in the fully automated process.

4.Best performance and reliability for your time: budget-aware search-based optimization of software model refactoring

Authors:J. Andres Diaz-Pace, Daniele Di Pompeo, Michele Tucci

Abstract: Context: Software model optimization is a process that automatically generates design alternatives, typically to enhance quantifiable non-functional properties of software systems, such as performance and reliability. Multi-objective evolutionary algorithms have shown to be effective in this context for assisting the designer in identifying trade-offs between the desired non-functional properties. Objective: In this work, we investigate the effects of imposing a time budget to limit the search for design alternatives, which inevitably affects the quality of the resulting alternatives. Method: The effects of time budgets are analyzed by investigating both the quality of the generated design alternatives and their structural features when varying the budget and the genetic algorithm (NSGA-II, PESA2, SPEA2). This is achieved by employing multi-objective quality indicators and a tree-based representation of the search space. Results: The study reveals that the time budget significantly affects the quality of Pareto fronts, especially for performance and reliability. NSGA-II is the fastest algorithm, while PESA2 generates the highest-quality solutions. The imposition of a time budget results in structurally distinct models compared to those obtained without a budget, indicating that the search process is influenced by both the budget and algorithm selection. Conclusions: In software model optimization, imposing a time budget can be effective in saving optimization time, but designers should carefully consider the trade-off between time and solution quality in the Pareto front, along with the structural characteristics of the generated models. By making informed choices about the specific genetic algorithm, designers can achieve different trade-offs.

5.Exploring API Behaviours Through Generated Examples

Authors:Stefan Karlsson, John Hughes, Robbert Jongeling, Adnan Causevic, Daniel Sundmark

Abstract: Understanding the behaviour of a system's API can be hard. Giving users access to relevant examples of how an API behaves has been shown to make this easier for them. In addition, such examples can be used to verify expected behaviour or identify unwanted behaviours. Methods for automatically generating examples have existed for a long time. However, state-of-the-art methods rely on either white-box information, such as source code, or on formal specifications of the system behaviour. But what if you do not have access to either? e.g., when interacting with a third-party API. In this paper, we present an approach to automatically generate relevant examples of behaviours of an API, without requiring either source code or a formal specification of behaviour. Evaluation on an industry-grade REST API shows that our method can produce small and relevant examples that can help engineers to understand the system under exploration.

6.Multilevel Semantic Embedding of Software Patches: A Fine-to-Coarse Grained Approach Towards Security Patch Detection

Authors:Xunzhu Tang, zhenghan Chen, Saad Ezzini, Haoye Tian, Yewei Song, Jacques Klein, Tegawende F. Bissyande

Abstract: The growth of open-source software has increased the risk of hidden vulnerabilities that can affect downstream software applications. This concern is further exacerbated by software vendors' practice of silently releasing security patches without explicit warnings or common vulnerability and exposure (CVE) notifications. This lack of transparency leaves users unaware of potential security threats, giving attackers an opportunity to take advantage of these vulnerabilities. In the complex landscape of software patches, grasping the nuanced semantics of a patch is vital for ensuring secure software maintenance. To address this challenge, we introduce a multilevel Semantic Embedder for security patch detection, termed MultiSEM. This model harnesses word-centric vectors at a fine-grained level, emphasizing the significance of individual words, while the coarse-grained layer adopts entire code lines for vector representation, capturing the essence and interrelation of added or removed lines. We further enrich this representation by assimilating patch descriptions to obtain a holistic semantic portrait. This combination of multi-layered embeddings offers a robust representation, balancing word complexity, understanding code-line insights, and patch descriptions. Evaluating MultiSEM for detecting patch security, our results demonstrate its superiority, outperforming state-of-the-art models with promising margins: a 22.46\% improvement on PatchDB and a 9.21\% on SPI-DB in terms of the F1 metric.

7.Hyperbolic Code Retrieval: A Novel Approach for Efficient Code Search Using Hyperbolic Space Embeddings

Authors:Xunzhu Tang, zhenghan Chen, Saad Ezzini, Haoye Tian, Yewei Song, Jacques Klein, Tegawende F. Bissyande

Abstract: Within the realm of advanced code retrieval, existing methods have primarily relied on intricate matching and attention-based mechanisms. However, these methods often lead to computational and memory inefficiencies, posing a significant challenge to their real-world applicability. To tackle this challenge, we propose a novel approach, the Hyperbolic Code QA Matching (HyCoQA). This approach leverages the unique properties of Hyperbolic space to express connections between code fragments and their corresponding queries, thereby obviating the necessity for intricate interaction layers. The process commences with a reimagining of the code retrieval challenge, framed within a question-answering (QA) matching framework, constructing a dataset with triple matches characterized as \texttt{<}negative code, description, positive code\texttt{>}. These matches are subsequently processed via a static BERT embedding layer, yielding initial embeddings. Thereafter, a hyperbolic embedder transforms these representations into hyperbolic space, calculating distances between the codes and descriptions. The process concludes by implementing a scoring layer on these distances and leveraging hinge loss for model training. Especially, the design of HyCoQA inherently facilitates self-organization, allowing for the automatic detection of embedded hierarchical patterns during the learning phase. Experimentally, HyCoQA showcases remarkable effectiveness in our evaluations: an average performance improvement of 3.5\% to 4\% compared to state-of-the-art code retrieval techniques.

8.Large Language Models in Fault Localisation

Authors:Yonghao Wu, Zheng Li, Jie M. Zhang, Mike Papadakis, Mark Harman, Yong Liu

Abstract: Large Language Models (LLMs) have shown promise in multiple software engineering tasks including code generation, code summarisation, test generation and code repair. Fault localisation is essential for facilitating automatic program debugging and repair, and is demonstrated as a highlight at ChatGPT-4's launch event. Nevertheless, there has been little work understanding LLMs' capabilities for fault localisation in large-scale open-source programs. To fill this gap, this paper presents an in-depth investigation into the capability of ChatGPT-3.5 and ChatGPT-4, the two state-of-the-art LLMs, on fault localisation. Using the widely-adopted Defects4J dataset, we compare the two LLMs with the existing fault localisation techniques. We also investigate the stability and explanation of LLMs in fault localisation, as well as how prompt engineering and the length of code context affect the fault localisation effectiveness. Our findings demonstrate that within a limited code context, ChatGPT-4 outperforms all the existing fault localisation methods. Additional error logs can further improve ChatGPT models' localisation accuracy and stability, with an average 46.9% higher accuracy over the state-of-the-art baseline SmartFL in terms of TOP-1 metric. However, performance declines dramatically when the code context expands to the class-level, with ChatGPT models' effectiveness becoming inferior to the existing methods overall. Additionally, we observe that ChatGPT's explainability is unsatisfactory, with an accuracy rate of only approximately 30%. These observations demonstrate that while ChatGPT can achieve effective fault localisation performance under certain conditions, evident limitations exist. Further research is imperative to fully harness the potential of LLMs like ChatGPT for practical fault localisation applications.

9.Back to the Future: From Microservice to Monolith

Authors:Ruoyu Su, Xiaozhou Li, Davide Taibi

Abstract: Recently the trend of companies switching from microservice back to monolith has increased, leading to intense debate in the industry. We conduct a multivocal literature review, to investigate reasons for the phenomenon and key aspects to pay attention to during the switching back and analyze the opinions of other practitioners. The results pave the way for further research and provide guidance for industrial companies switching from microservice back to monolith.

10.PEM: Representing Binary Program Semantics for Similarity Analysis via a Probabilistic Execution Model

Authors:Xiangzhe Xu, Zhou Xuan, Shiwei Feng, Siyuan Cheng, Yapeng Ye, Qingkai Shi, Guanhong Tao, Le Yu, Zhuo Zhang, Xiangyu Zhang

Abstract: Binary similarity analysis determines if two binary executables are from the same source program. Existing techniques leverage static and dynamic program features and may utilize advanced Deep Learning techniques. Although they have demonstrated great potential, the community believes that a more effective representation of program semantics can further improve similarity analysis. In this paper, we propose a new method to represent binary program semantics. It is based on a novel probabilistic execution engine that can effectively sample the input space and the program path space of subject binaries. More importantly, it ensures that the collected samples are comparable across binaries, addressing the substantial variations of input specifications. Our evaluation on 9 real-world projects with 35k functions, and comparison with 6 state-of-the-art techniques show that PEM can achieve a precision of 96% with common settings, outperforming the baselines by 10-20%.

1.CodeMark: Imperceptible Watermarking for Code Datasets against Neural Code Completion Models

Authors:Zhensu Sun, Xiaoning Du, Fu Song, Li Li

Abstract: Code datasets are of immense value for training neural-network-based code completion models, where companies or organizations have made substantial investments to establish and process these datasets. Unluckily, these datasets, either built for proprietary or public usage, face the high risk of unauthorized exploits, resulting from data leakages, license violations, etc. Even worse, the ``black-box'' nature of neural models sets a high barrier for externals to audit their training datasets, which further connives these unauthorized usages. Currently, watermarking methods have been proposed to prohibit inappropriate usage of image and natural language datasets. However, due to domain specificity, they are not directly applicable to code datasets, leaving the copyright protection of this emerging and important field of code data still exposed to threats. To fill this gap, we propose a method, named CodeMark, to embed user-defined imperceptible watermarks into code datasets to trace their usage in training neural code completion models. CodeMark is based on adaptive semantic-preserving transformations, which preserve the exact functionality of the code data and keep the changes covert against rule-breakers. We implement CodeMark in a toolkit and conduct an extensive evaluation of code completion models. CodeMark is validated to fulfill all desired properties of practical watermarks, including harmlessness to model accuracy, verifiability, robustness, and imperceptibility.

2.STEAM: Simulating the InTeractive BEhavior of ProgrAMmers for Automatic Bug Fixing

Authors:Yuwei Zhang, Zhi Jin, Ying Xing, Ge Li

Abstract: Bug fixing holds significant importance in software development and maintenance. Recent research has made notable progress in exploring the potential of large language models (LLMs) for automatic bug fixing. However, existing studies often overlook the collaborative nature of bug resolution, treating it as a single-stage process. To overcome this limitation, we introduce a novel stage-wise framework named STEAM in this paper. The objective of STEAM is to simulate the interactive behavior of multiple programmers involved in various stages across the bug's life cycle. Taking inspiration from bug management practices, we decompose the bug fixing task into four distinct stages: bug reporting, bug diagnosis, patch generation, and patch verification. These stages are performed interactively by LLMs, aiming to imitate the collaborative abilities of programmers during the resolution of software bugs. By harnessing the collective contribution, STEAM effectively enhances the bug-fixing capabilities of LLMs. We implement STEAM by employing the powerful dialogue-based LLM -- ChatGPT. Our evaluation on the widely adopted bug-fixing benchmark demonstrates that STEAM has achieved a new state-of-the-art level of bug-fixing performance.

3.MELT: Mining Effective Lightweight Transformations from Pull Requests

Authors:Daniel Ramos, Hailie Mitchell, Inês Lynce, Vasco Manquinho, Ruben Martins, Claire Le Goues

Abstract: Software developers often struggle to update APIs, leading to manual, time-consuming, and error-prone processes. We introduce MELT, a new approach that generates lightweight API migration rules directly from pull requests in popular library repositories. Our key insight is that pull requests merged into open-source libraries are a rich source of information sufficient to mine API migration rules. By leveraging code examples mined from the library source and automatically generated code examples based on the pull requests, we infer transformation rules in \comby, a language for structural code search and replace. Since inferred rules from single code examples may be too specific, we propose a generalization procedure to make the rules more applicable to client projects. MELT rules are syntax-driven, interpretable, and easily adaptable. Moreover, unlike previous work, our approach enables rule inference to seamlessly integrate into the library workflow, removing the need to wait for client code migrations. We evaluated MELT on pull requests from four popular libraries, successfully mining 461 migration rules from code examples in pull requests and 114 rules from auto-generated code examples. Our generalization procedure increases the number of matches for mined rules by 9x. We applied these rules to client projects and ran their tests, which led to an overall decrease in the number of warnings and fixing some test cases demonstrating MELT's effectiveness in real-world scenarios.

4.The Effect of Stereotypes on Perceived Competence of Indigenous Software Practitioners: A Professional Photo

Authors:Mary Sánchez-Gordón, Ricardo Colomo-Palacios, Cathy Guevara-Vega, Antonio Quiña-Mera

Abstract: Context: Potential employers can readily find job candidates' photos through various online sources such as former employers' websites or professional and social networks. The alignment or 'fit' between a candidate and an organization is inferred in online photos through dress style and presentations of self. On the other hand, for candidates from under-represented groups like Indigenous people traditional clothing is an important and lively aspect that allows them to express belonging, enter ceremony, and show resistance.Objective: This exploratory study aims to empirically demonstrate whether traditional clothing in a picture affects the evaluation of candidates' competence for a position like a software developer in which clothing should not be crucial. Method: We plan a quasi-experimental design with both candidates (photo models) and participants (evaluators) from IT companies. It follows a 2 x 2 x 2 design with dress style (traditional / non-traditional clothing), gender and race/ethnicity of the candidates as within-subjects factors. In addition, we will explore the evaluator's gender and experience in hiring as between-subjects factors.

5.Distilled GPT for Source Code Summarization

Authors:Chia-Yi Su, Collin McMillan

Abstract: A code summary is a brief natural language description of source code. Summaries are usually only a single sentence long, and yet form the backbone of developer documentation. A short descriptions such as "changes all visible polygons to the color blue" can give a programmer a high-level idea of what code does without the effort of reading the code itself. Recently, products based on Large Language Models such as ChatGPT have demonstrated a strong ability to write these descriptions automatically. However, to use these tools, programmers must send their code to untrusted third parties for processing (e.g., via an API call). This loss of custody is not acceptable to many organizations. In this paper, we present an alternative: we train an open source model using sample output generated by GPT-3.5 in a process related to knowledge distillation. Our model is small enough (350m parameters) to be run on a single 16gb GPU, yet we show in our evaluation that it is large enough to mimic GPT-3.5 on this task.

1.Knowledge-Based Version Incompatibility Detection for Deep Learning

Authors:Zhongkai Zhao, Bonan Kou, Mohamed Yilmaz Ibrahim, Muhao Chen, Tianyi Zhang

Abstract: Version incompatibility issues are rampant when reusing or reproducing deep learning models and applications. Existing techniques are limited to library dependency specifications declared in PyPI. Therefore, these techniques cannot detect version issues due to undocumented version constraints or issues involving hardware drivers or OS. To address this challenge, we propose to leverage the abundant discussions of DL version issues from Stack Overflow to facilitate version incompatibility detection. We reformulate the problem of knowledge extraction as a Question-Answering (QA) problem and use a pre-trained QA model to extract version compatibility knowledge from online discussions. The extracted knowledge is further consolidated into a weighted knowledge graph to detect potential version incompatibilities when reusing a DL project. Our evaluation results show that (1) our approach can accurately extract version knowledge with 84% accuracy, and (2) our approach can accurately identify 65% of known version issues in 10 popular DL projects with a high precision (92%), while two state-of-the-art approaches can only detect 29% and 6% of these issues with 33% and 17% precision respectively.

2.Challenges of Testing an Evolving Cancer Registration Support System in Practice

Authors:Christoph Laaber, Tao Yue, Shaukat Ali, Thomas Schwitalla, Jan F. Nygård

Abstract: The Cancer Registry of Norway (CRN) is a public body responsible for capturing and curating cancer patient data histories to provide a unified access to research data and statistics for doctors, patients, and policymakers. For this purpose, CRN develops and operates a complex, constantly-evolving, and socio-technical software system. Recently, machine learning (ML) algorithms have been introduced into this system to augment the manual decisions made by humans with automated decision support from learned models. To ensure that the system is correct and robust and cancer patients' data are properly handled and do not violate privacy concerns, automated testing solutions are being developed. In this paper, we share the challenges that we identified when developing automated testing solutions at CRN. Such testing potentially impacts the quality of cancer data for years to come, which is also used by the system's stakeholders to make critical decisions. The challenges identified are not specific to CRN but are also valid in the context of other healthcare registries. We also provide some details on initial solutions that we are investigating to solve the identified challenges.

3.COCO: Testing Code Generation Systems via Concretized Instructions

Authors:Ming Yan, Junjie Chen, Jie M. Zhang, Xuejie Cao, Chen Yang, Mark Harman

Abstract: Code generation systems have been extensively developed in recent years to generate source code based on natural language instructions. However, despite their advancements, these systems still face robustness issues where even slightly different instructions can result in significantly different code semantics. Robustness is critical for code generation systems, as it can have significant impacts on software development, software quality, and trust in the generated code. Although existing testing techniques for general text-to-text software can detect some robustness issues, they are limited in effectiveness due to ignoring the characteristics of code generation systems. In this work, we propose a novel technique COCO to test the robustness of code generation systems. It exploits the usage scenario of code generation systems to make the original programming instruction more concrete by incorporating features known to be contained in the original code. A robust system should maintain code semantics for the concretized instruction, and COCO detects robustness inconsistencies when it does not. We evaluated COCO on eight advanced code generation systems, including commercial tools such as Copilot and ChatGPT, using two widely-used datasets. Our results demonstrate the effectiveness of COCO in testing the robustness of code generation systems, outperforming two techniques adopted from general text-to-text software testing by 466.66% and 104.02%, respectively. Furthermore, concretized instructions generated by COCO can help reduce robustness inconsistencies by 18.35% to 53.91% through fine-tuning.

4.On the Impact of Language Selection for Training and Evaluating Programming Language Models

Authors:Jonathan Katzy, Maliheh Izadi, Arie van Deursen

Abstract: The recent advancements in Transformer-based Language Models have demonstrated significant potential in enhancing the multilingual capabilities of these models. The remarkable progress made in this domain not only applies to natural language tasks but also extends to the domain of programming languages. Despite the ability of these models to learn from multiple languages, evaluations typically focus on particular combinations of the same languages. In this study, we evaluate the similarity of programming languages by analyzing their representations using a CodeBERT-based model. Our experiments reveal that token representation in languages such as C++, Python, and Java exhibit proximity to one another, whereas the same tokens in languages such as Mathematica and R display significant dissimilarity. Our findings suggest that this phenomenon can potentially result in performance challenges when dealing with diverse languages. Thus, we recommend using our similarity measure to select a diverse set of programming languages when training and evaluating future models.

5.SoTaNa: The Open-Source Software Development Assistant

Authors:Ensheng Shi, Fengji Zhang, Yanlin Wang, Bei Chen, Lun Du, Hongyu Zhang, Shi Han, Dongmei Zhang, Hongbin Sun

Abstract: Software development plays a crucial role in driving innovation and efficiency across modern societies. To meet the demands of this dynamic field, there is a growing need for an effective software development assistant. However, existing large language models represented by ChatGPT suffer from limited accessibility, including training data and model weights. Although other large open-source models like LLaMA have shown promise, they still struggle with understanding human intent. In this paper, we present SoTaNa, an open-source software development assistant. SoTaNa utilizes ChatGPT to generate high-quality instruction-based data for the domain of software engineering and employs a parameter-efficient fine-tuning approach to enhance the open-source foundation model, LLaMA. We evaluate the effectiveness of \our{} in answering Stack Overflow questions and demonstrate its capabilities. Additionally, we discuss its capabilities in code summarization and generation, as well as the impact of varying the volume of generated data on model performance. Notably, SoTaNa can run on a single GPU, making it accessible to a broader range of researchers. Our code, model weights, and data are public at \url{}.

6.Investigating the Impact of Vocabulary Difficulty and Code Naturalness on Program Comprehension

Authors:Bin Lin, Gregorio Robles

Abstract: Context: Developers spend most of their time comprehending source code during software development. Automatically assessing how readable and understandable source code is can provide various benefits in different tasks, such as task triaging and code reviews. While several studies have proposed approaches to predict software readability and understandability, most of them only focus on local characteristics of source code. Besides, the performance of understandability prediction is far from satisfactory. Objective: In this study, we aim to assess readability and understandability from the perspective of language acquisition. More specifically, we would like to investigate whether code readability and understandability are correlated with the naturalness and vocabulary difficulty of source code. Method: To assess code naturalness, we adopted the cross-entropy metric, while we use a manually crafted list of code elements with their assigned advancement levels to assess the vocabulary difficulty. We will conduct a statistical analysis to understand their correlations and analyze whether code naturalness and vocabulary difficulty can be used to improve the performance of code readability and understandability prediction methods. The study will be conducted on existing datasets.

7.Communicating on Security within Software Development Issue Tracking

Authors:Léon McGregor, Manuel Maarek, Hans-Wolfgang Loidl

Abstract: During software development, balancing security and non security issues is challenging. We focus on security awareness and approaches taken by non-security experts using software development issue trackers when considering security. We first analyse interfaces from prominent issue trackers to see how they support security communication and how they integrate security scoring. Then, we investigate through a small scale user study what criteria developers take when prioritising issues, in particular observing their attitudes to security. We find projects make reference to CVSS summaries (Common Vulnerability Scoring System), often alongside CVE reports (Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures), but issue trackers do not often have interfaces designed for this. Users in our study were not comfortable with CVSS analysis, though were able to reason in a manner compatible with CVSS. Detailed explanations and advice were seen as helpful in making security decisions. This suggests that adding improvements to communication through CVSS-like questioning in issue tracking software can elicit better security interactions.

8.Does Asking Clarifying Questions Increases Confidence in Generated Code? On the Communication Skills of Large Language Models

Authors:Jie JW Wu

Abstract: Large language models (LLMs) have significantly improved the ability to perform tasks in the field of code generation. However, there is still a gap between LLMs being capable coders and being top-tier software engineers. Based on the observation that top-level software engineers often ask clarifying questions to reduce ambiguity in both requirements and coding solutions, we argue that the same should be applied to LLMs for code generation tasks. By asking probing questions in various topics before generating the final code, the challenges of programming with LLMs, such as unclear intent specification, lack of computational thinking, and undesired code quality, may be alleviated. This, in turn, increases confidence in the generated code. In this work, we explore how to leverage better communication skills to achieve greater confidence in generated code. We propose a communication-centered process that uses an LLM-generated communicator to identify issues with high ambiguity or low confidence in problem descriptions and generated code. We then ask clarifying questions to obtain responses from users for refining the code.

1.kTrans: Knowledge-Aware Transformer for Binary Code Embedding

Authors:Wenyu Zhu, Hao Wang, Yuchen Zhou, Jiaming Wang, Zihan Sha, Zeyu Gao, Chao Zhang

Abstract: Binary Code Embedding (BCE) has important applications in various reverse engineering tasks such as binary code similarity detection, type recovery, control-flow recovery and data-flow analysis. Recent studies have shown that the Transformer model can comprehend the semantics of binary code to support downstream tasks. However, existing models overlooked the prior knowledge of assembly language. In this paper, we propose a novel Transformer-based approach, namely kTrans, to generate knowledge-aware binary code embedding. By feeding explicit knowledge as additional inputs to the Transformer, and fusing implicit knowledge with a novel pre-training task, kTrans provides a new perspective to incorporating domain knowledge into a Transformer framework. We inspect the generated embeddings with outlier detection and visualization, and also apply kTrans to 3 downstream tasks: Binary Code Similarity Detection (BCSD), Function Type Recovery (FTR) and Indirect Call Recognition (ICR). Evaluation results show that kTrans can generate high-quality binary code embeddings, and outperforms state-of-the-art (SOTA) approaches on downstream tasks by 5.2%, 6.8%, and 12.6% respectively. kTrans is publicly available at:

2.Prompt-Enhanced Software Vulnerability Detection Using ChatGPT

Authors:Chenyuan Zhang, Hao Liu, Jiutian Zeng, Kejing Yang, Yuhong Li, Hui Li

Abstract: With the increase in software vulnerabilities that cause significant economic and social losses, automatic vulnerability detection has become essential in software development and maintenance. Recently, large language models (LLMs) like GPT have received considerable attention due to their stunning intelligence, and some studies consider using ChatGPT for vulnerability detection. However, they do not fully consider the characteristics of LLMs, since their designed questions to ChatGPT are simple without a specific prompt design tailored for vulnerability detection. This paper launches a study on the performance of software vulnerability detection using ChatGPT with different prompt designs. Firstly, we complement previous work by applying various improvements to the basic prompt. Moreover, we incorporate structural and sequential auxiliary information to improve the prompt design. Besides, we leverage ChatGPT's ability of memorizing multi-round dialogue to design suitable prompts for vulnerability detection. We conduct extensive experiments on two vulnerability datasets to demonstrate the effectiveness of prompt-enhanced vulnerability detection using ChatGPT. We also analyze the merit and demerit of using ChatGPT for vulnerability detection.

3.How are We Detecting Inconsistent Method Names? An Empirical Study from Code Review Perspective

Authors:Kisub Kim, Xin Zhou, Dongsun Kim, Julia Lawall, Kui Liu, Tegawendé F. Bissyandé, Jacques Klein, Jaekwon Lee, David Lo

Abstract: Proper naming of methods can make program code easier to understand, and thus enhance software maintainability. Yet, developers may use inconsistent names due to poor communication or a lack of familiarity with conventions within the software development lifecycle. To address this issue, much research effort has been invested into building automatic tools that can check for method name inconsistency and recommend consistent names. However, existing datasets generally do not provide precise details about why a method name was deemed improper and required to be changed. Such information can give useful hints on how to improve the recommendation of adequate method names. Accordingly, we construct a sample method-naming benchmark, ReName4J, by matching name changes with code reviews. We then present an empirical study on how state-of-the-art techniques perform in detecting or recommending consistent and inconsistent method names based on ReName4J. The main purpose of the study is to reveal a different perspective based on reviewed names rather than proposing a complete benchmark. We find that the existing techniques underperform on our review-driven benchmark, both in inconsistent checking and the recommendation. We further identify potential biases in the evaluation of existing techniques, which future research should consider thoroughly.

4.Towards Semi-Markov Model-based Dependability Evaluation of VM-based Multi-Domain Service Function Chain

Authors:Lina Liu, Jing Bai, Xiaolin Chang, Fumio Machida, Kishor S. Trivedi, Haoran Zhu

Abstract: In NFV networks, service functions (SFs) can be deployed on virtual machines (VMs) across multiple domains and then form a service function chain (MSFC) for end-to-end network service provision. However, any software component in a VM-based MSFC must experience software aging issue after a long period of operation. This paper quantitatively investigates the capability of proactive rejuvenation techniques in reducing the damage of software aging on a VM-based MSFC. We develop a semi-Markov model to capture the behaviors of SFs, VMs and virtual machine monitors (VMMs) from software aging to recovery under the condition that failure times and recovery times follow general distributions. We derive the formulas for calculating the steady-state availability and reliability of the VM-based MSFC composed of multiple SFs running on VMs hosted by VMMs. Sensitivity analysis is also conducted to identify potential dependability bottlenecks.

5.Pre-training Code Representation with Semantic Flow Graph for Effective Bug Localization

Authors:Yali Du, Zhongxing Yu

Abstract: Enlightened by the big success of pre-training in natural language processing, pre-trained models for programming languages have been widely used to promote code intelligence in recent years. In particular, BERT has been used for bug localization tasks and impressive results have been obtained. However, these BERT-based bug localization techniques suffer from two issues. First, the pre-trained BERT model on source code does not adequately capture the deep semantics of program code. Second, the overall bug localization models neglect the necessity of large-scale negative samples in contrastive learning for representations of changesets and ignore the lexical similarity between bug reports and changesets during similarity estimation. We address these two issues by 1) proposing a novel directed, multiple-label code graph representation named Semantic Flow Graph (SFG), which compactly and adequately captures code semantics, 2) designing and training SemanticCodeBERT based on SFG, and 3) designing a novel Hierarchical Momentum Contrastive Bug Localization technique (HMCBL). Evaluation results show that our method achieves state-of-the-art performance in bug localization.

6.Understanding Container-based Services under Software Aging: Dependability and Performance Views

Authors:Jing Bai, Xiaolin Chang, Fumio Machida, Kishor S. Trivedi

Abstract: Container technology, as the key enabler behind microservice architectures, is widely applied in Cloud and Edge Computing. A long and continuous running of operating system (OS) host-ing container-based services can encounter software aging that leads to performance deterioration and even causes system fail-ures. OS rejuvenation techniques can mitigate the impact of software aging but the rejuvenation trigger interval needs to be carefully determined to reduce the downtime cost due to rejuve-nation. This paper proposes a comprehensive semi-Markov-based approach to quantitatively evaluate the effect of OS reju-venation on the dependability and the performance of a con-tainer-based service. In contrast to the existing studies, we nei-ther restrict the distributions of time intervals of events to be exponential nor assume that backup resources are always avail-able. Through the numerical study, we show the optimal con-tainer-migration trigger intervals that can maximize the de-pendability or minimize the performance of a container-based service.

7.Understanding Solidity Event Logging Practices in the Wild

Authors:Lantian Li, Yejian Liang, Zhihao Liu, Zhongxing Yu

Abstract: Writing logging messages is a well-established conventional programming practice, and it is of vital importance for a wide variety of software development activities. The logging mechanism in Solidity programming is enabled by the high-level event feature, but up to now there lacks study for understanding Solidity event logging practices in the wild. To fill this gap, we in this paper provide the first quantitative characteristic study of the current Solidity event logging practices using 2,915 popular Solidity projects hosted on GitHub. The study methodically explores the pervasiveness of event logging, the goodness of current event logging practices, and in particular the reasons for event logging code evolution, and delivers 8 original and important findings. The findings notably include the existence of a large percentage of independent event logging code modifications, and the underlying reasons for different categories of independent event logging code modifications are diverse (for instance, bug fixing and gas saving). We additionally give the implications of our findings, and these implications can enlighten developers, researchers, tool builders, and language designers to improve the event logging practices. To illustrate the potential benefits of our study, we develop a proof-of-concept checker on top of one of our findings and the checker effectively detects problematic event logging code that consumes extra gas in 35 popular GitHub projects and 9 project owners have already confirmed the detected issues.

8.Automated Test Generation for Medical Rules Web Services: A Case Study at the Cancer Registry of Norway

Authors:Christoph Laaber, Tao Yue, Shaukat Ali, Thomas Schwitalla, Jan F. Nygård

Abstract: The Cancer Registry of Norway (CRN) collects, curates, and manages data related to cancer patients in Norway, supported by an interactive, human-in-the-loop, socio-technical decision support software system. Automated software testing of this software system is inevitable; however, currently, it is limited in CRN's practice. To this end, we present an industrial case study to evaluate an AI-based system-level testing tool, i.e., EvoMaster, in terms of its effectiveness in testing CRN's software system. In particular, we focus on GURI, CRN's medical rule engine, which is a key component at the CRN. We test GURI with EvoMaster's black-box and white-box tools and study their test effectiveness regarding code coverage, errors found, and domain-specific rule coverage. The results show that all EvoMaster tools achieve a similar code coverage; i.e., around 19% line, 13% branch, and 20% method; and find a similar number of errors; i.e., 1 in GURI's code. Concerning domain-specific coverage, EvoMaster's black-box tool is the most effective in generating tests that lead to applied rules; i.e., 100% of the aggregation rules and between 12.86% and 25.81% of the validation rules; and to diverse rule execution results; i.e., 86.84% to 89.95% of the aggregation rules and 0.93% to 1.72% of the validation rules pass, and 1.70% to 3.12% of the aggregation rules and 1.58% to 3.74% of the validation rules fail. We further observe that the results are consistent across 10 versions of the rules. Based on these results, we recommend using EvoMaster's black-box tool to test GURI since it provides good results and advances the current state of practice at the CRN. Nonetheless, EvoMaster needs to be extended to employ domain-specific optimization objectives to improve test effectiveness further. Finally, we conclude with lessons learned and potential research directions, which we believe are generally applicable.

9.Software Startups -- A Research Agenda

Authors:Michael Unterkalmsteiner, Pekka Abrahamsson, Xiaofeng Wang, Anh Nguyen-Duc, Syed M. Ali Shah, Sohaib Shahid Bajwa, Guido H. Baltes, Kieran Conboy, Eoin Cullina, Denis Dennehy, Henry Edison, Carlos Fernández-Sánchez, Juan Garbajosa, Tony Gorschek, Eriks Klotins, Laura Hokkanen, Fabio Kon, Ilaria Lunesu, Michele Marchesi, Lorraine Morgan, Markku Oivo, Christoph Selig, Pertti Seppänen, Roger Sweetman, Pasi Tyrväinen, Christina Ungerer, Agustín Yagüe

Abstract: Software startup companies develop innovative, software-intensive products within limited time frames and with few resources, searching for sustainable and scalable business models. Software startups are quite distinct from traditional mature software companies, but also from micro-, small-, and medium-sized enterprises, introducing new challenges relevant for software engineering research. This paper's research agenda focuses on software engineering in startups, identifying, in particular, 70+ research questions in the areas of supporting startup engineering activities, startup evolution models and patterns, ecosystems and innovation hubs, human aspects in software startups, applying startup concepts in non-startup environments, and methodologies and theories for startup research. We connect and motivate this research agenda with past studies in software startup research, while pointing out possible future directions. While all authors of this research agenda have their main background in Software Engineering or Computer Science, their interest in software startups broadens the perspective to the challenges, but also to the opportunities that emerge from multi-disciplinary research. Our audience is therefore primarily software engineering researchers, even though we aim at stimulating collaborations and research that crosses disciplinary boundaries. We believe that with this research agenda we cover a wide spectrum of the software startup industry current needs.

10.Requirements Quality Assurance in Industry: Why, What and How?

Authors:Michael Unterkalmsteiner, Tony Gorschek

Abstract: Context and Motivation: Natural language is the most common form to specify requirements in industry. The quality of the specification depends on the capability of the writer to formulate requirements aimed at different stakeholders: they are an expression of the customer's needs that are used by analysts, designers and testers. Given this central role of requirements as a mean to communicate intention, assuring their quality is essential to reduce misunderstandings that lead to potential waste. Problem: Quality assurance of requirement specifications is largely a manual effort that requires expertise and domain knowledge. However, this demanding cognitive process is also congested by trivial quality issues that should not occur in the first place. Principal ideas: We propose a taxonomy of requirements quality assurance complexity that characterizes cognitive load of verifying a quality aspect from the human perspective, and automation complexity and accuracy from the machine perspective. Contribution: Once this taxonomy is realized and validated, it can serve as the basis for a decision framework of automated requirements quality assurance support.

1.Ensembling Uncertainty Measures to Improve Safety of Black-Box Classifiers

Authors:Tommaso Zoppi, Andrea Ceccarelli, Andrea Bondavalli

Abstract: Machine Learning (ML) algorithms that perform classification may predict the wrong class, experiencing misclassifications. It is well-known that misclassifications may have cascading effects on the encompassing system, possibly resulting in critical failures. This paper proposes SPROUT, a Safety wraPper thROugh ensembles of UncertainTy measures, which suspects misclassifications by computing uncertainty measures on the inputs and outputs of a black-box classifier. If a misclassification is detected, SPROUT blocks the propagation of the output of the classifier to the encompassing system. The resulting impact on safety is that SPROUT transforms erratic outputs (misclassifications) into data omission failures, which can be easily managed at the system level. SPROUT has a broad range of applications as it fits binary and multi-class classification, comprising image and tabular datasets. We experimentally show that SPROUT always identifies a huge fraction of the misclassifications of supervised classifiers, and it is able to detect all misclassifications in specific cases. SPROUT implementation contains pre-trained wrappers, it is publicly available and ready to be deployed with minimal effort.

2.State Merging with Quantifiers in Symbolic Execution

Authors:David Trabish, Noam Rinetzky, Sharon Shoham, Vaibhav Sharma

Abstract: We address the problem of constraint encoding explosion which hinders the applicability of state merging in symbolic execution. Specifically, our goal is to reduce the number of disjunctions and \emph{if-then-else} expressions introduced during state merging. The main idea is to dynamically partition the symbolic states into merging groups according to a similar uniform structure detected in their path constraints, which allows to efficiently encode the merged path constraint and memory using quantifiers. To address the added complexity of solving quantified constraints, we propose a specialized solving procedure that reduces the solving time in many cases. Our evaluation shows that our approach can lead to significant performance gains.

3.Using the TypeScript compiler to fix erroneous Node.js snippets

Authors:Brittany Reid, Christoph Treude, Markus Wagner

Abstract: Most online code snippets do not run. This means that developers looking to reuse code from online sources must manually find and fix errors. We present an approach for automatically evaluating and correcting errors in Node.js code snippets: Node Code Correction (NCC). NCC leverages the ability of the TypeScript compiler to generate errors and inform code corrections through the combination of TypeScript's built-in codefixes, our own targeted fixes, and deletion of erroneous lines. Compared to existing approaches using linters, our findings suggest that NCC is capable of detecting a larger number of errors per snippet and more error types, and it is more efficient at fixing snippets. We find that 73.7% of the code snippets in NPM documentation have errors; with the use of NCC's corrections, this number was reduced to 25.1%. Our evaluation confirms that the use of the TypeScript compiler to inform code corrections is a promising strategy to aid in the reuse of code snippets from online sources.

4.On Using Information Retrieval to Recommend Machine Learning Good Practices for Software Engineers

Authors:Laura Cabra-Acela, Anamaria Mojica-Hanke, Mario Linares-Vásquez, Steffen Herbold

Abstract: Machine learning (ML) is nowadays widely used for different purposes and in several disciplines. From self-driving cars to automated medical diagnosis, machine learning models extensively support users' daily activities, and software engineering tasks are no exception. Not embracing good ML practices may lead to pitfalls that hinder the performance of an ML system and potentially lead to unexpected results. Despite the existence of documentation and literature about ML best practices, many non-ML experts turn towards gray literature like blogs and Q&A systems when looking for help and guidance when implementing ML systems. To better aid users in distilling relevant knowledge from such sources, we propose a recommender system that recommends ML practices based on the user's context. As a first step in creating a recommender system for machine learning practices, we implemented Idaka. A tool that provides two different approaches for retrieving/generating ML best practices: i) an information retrieval (IR) engine and ii) a large language model. The IR-engine uses BM25 as the algorithm for retrieving the practices, and a large language model, in our case Alpaca. The platform has been designed to allow comparative studies of best practices retrieval tools. Idaka is publicly available at GitHub: Video:

5.Resiliency Analysis of LLM generated models for Industrial Automation

Authors:Oluwatosin Ogundare, Gustavo Quiros Araya, Ioannis Akrotirianakis, Ankit Shukla

Abstract: This paper proposes a study of the resilience and efficiency of automatically generated industrial automation and control systems using Large Language Models (LLMs). The approach involves modeling the system using percolation theory to estimate its resilience and formulating the design problem as an optimization problem subject to constraints. Techniques from stochastic optimization and regret analysis are used to find a near-optimal solution with provable regret bounds. The study aims to provide insights into the effectiveness and reliability of automatically generated systems in industrial automation and control, and to identify potential areas for improvement in their design and implementation.

6.Bugsplainer: Leveraging Code Structures to Explain Software Bugs with Neural Machine Translation

Authors:Parvez Mahbub, Mohammad Masudur Rahman, Ohiduzzaman Shuvo, Avinash Gopal

Abstract: Software bugs cost the global economy billions of dollars each year and take up ~50% of the development time. Once a bug is reported, the assigned developer attempts to identify and understand the source code responsible for the bug and then corrects the code. Over the last five decades, there has been significant research on automatically finding or correcting software bugs. However, there has been little research on automatically explaining the bugs to the developers, which is essential but a highly challenging task. In this paper, we propose Bugsplainer, a novel web-based debugging solution that generates natural language explanations for software bugs by learning from a large corpus of bug-fix commits. Bugsplainer leverages code structures to reason about a bug and employs the fine-tuned version of a text generation model, CodeT5, to generate the explanations. Tool video:

1.On-Premise AIOps Infrastructure for a Software Editor SME: An Experience Report

Authors:Anes Bendimerad, Youcef Remil, Romain Mathonat, Mehdi Kaytoue

Abstract: Information Technology has become a critical component in various industries, leading to an increased focus on software maintenance and monitoring. With the complexities of modern software systems, traditional maintenance approaches have become insufficient. The concept of AIOps has emerged to enhance predictive maintenance using Big Data and Machine Learning capabilities. However, exploiting AIOps requires addressing several challenges related to the complexity of data and incident management. Commercial solutions exist, but they may not be suitable for certain companies due to high costs, data governance issues, and limitations in covering private software. This paper investigates the feasibility of implementing on-premise AIOps solutions by leveraging open-source tools. We introduce a comprehensive AIOps infrastructure that we have successfully deployed in our company, and we provide the rationale behind different choices that we made to build its various components. Particularly, we provide insights into our approach and criteria for selecting a data management system and we explain its integration. Our experience can be beneficial for companies seeking to internally manage their software maintenance processes with a modern AIOps approach.

2.Distinguishing Look-Alike Innocent and Vulnerable Code by Subtle Semantic Representation Learning and Explanation

Authors:Chao Ni, Xin Yin, Kaiwen Yang, Dehai Zhao, Zhenchang Xing, Xin Xia

Abstract: Though many deep learning (DL)-based vulnerability detection approaches have been proposed and indeed achieved remarkable performance, they still have limitations in the generalization as well as the practical usage. More precisely, existing DL-based approaches (1) perform negatively on prediction tasks among functions that are lexically similar but have contrary semantics; (2) provide no intuitive developer-oriented explanations to the detected results. In this paper, we propose a novel approach named SVulD, a function-level Subtle semantic embedding for Vulnerability Detection along with intuitive explanations, to alleviate the above limitations. Specifically, SVulD firstly trains a model to learn distinguishing semantic representations of functions regardless of their lexical similarity. Then, for the detected vulnerable functions, SVulD provides natural language explanations (e.g., root cause) of results to help developers intuitively understand the vulnerabilities. To evaluate the effectiveness of SVulD, we conduct large-scale experiments on a widely used practical vulnerability dataset and compare it with four state-of-the-art (SOTA) approaches by considering five performance measures. The experimental results indicate that SVulD outperforms all SOTAs with a substantial improvement (i.e., 23.5%-68.0% in terms of F1-score, 15.9%-134.8% in terms of PR-AUC and 7.4%-64.4% in terms of Accuracy). Besides, we conduct a user-case study to evaluate the usefulness of SVulD for developers on understanding the vulnerable code and the participants' feedback demonstrates that SVulD is helpful for development practice.

3.The Software Heritage License Dataset (2022 Edition)

Authors:Jesús M. González-Barahona URJC, Sergio Montes-Leon URJC, Gregorio Robles URJC, Stefano Zacchiroli IP Paris, LTCI

Abstract: Context: When software is released publicly, it is common to include with it either the full text of the license or licenses under which it is published, or a detailed reference to them. Therefore public licenses, including FOSS (free, open source software) licenses, are usually publicly available in source code repositories.Objective: To compile a dataset containing as many documents as possible that contain the text of software licenses, or references to the license terms. Once compiled, characterize the dataset so that it can be used for further research, or practical purposes related to license analysis.Method: Retrieve from Software Heritage-the largest publicly available archive of FOSS source code-all versions of all files whose names are commonly used to convey licensing terms. All retrieved documents will be characterized in various ways, using automated and manual analyses.Results: The dataset consists of 6.9 million unique license files. Additional metadata about shipped license files is also provided, making the dataset ready to use in various contexts, including: file length measures, MIME type, SPDX license (detected using ScanCode), and oldest appearance. The results of a manual analysis of 8102 documents is also included, providing a ground truth for further analysis. The dataset is released as open data as an archive file containing all deduplicated license files, plus several portable CSV files with metadata, referencing files via cryptographic checksums.Conclusions: Thanks to the extensive coverage of Software Heritage, the dataset presented in this paper covers a very large fraction of all software licenses for public code. We have assembled a large body of software licenses, characterized it quantitatively and qualitatively, and validated that it is mostly composed of licensing information and includes almost all known license texts. The dataset can be used to conduct empirical studies on open source licensing, training of automated license classifiers, natural language processing (NLP) analyses of legal texts, as well as historical and phylogenetic studies on FOSS licensing. It can also be used in practice to improve tools detecting licenses in source code.

4.LEAP: Efficient and Automated Test Method for NLP Software

Authors:Mingxuan Xiao, Yan Xiao, Hai Dong, Shunhui Ji, Pengcheng Zhang

Abstract: The widespread adoption of DNNs in NLP software has highlighted the need for robustness. Researchers proposed various automatic testing techniques for adversarial test cases. However, existing methods suffer from two limitations: weak error-discovering capabilities, with success rates ranging from 0% to 24.6% for BERT-based NLP software, and time inefficiency, taking 177.8s to 205.28s per test case, making them challenging for time-constrained scenarios. To address these issues, this paper proposes LEAP, an automated test method that uses LEvy flight-based Adaptive Particle swarm optimization integrated with textual features to generate adversarial test cases. Specifically, we adopt Levy flight for population initialization to increase the diversity of generated test cases. We also design an inertial weight adaptive update operator to improve the efficiency of LEAP's global optimization of high-dimensional text examples and a mutation operator based on the greedy strategy to reduce the search time. We conducted a series of experiments to validate LEAP's ability to test NLP software and found that the average success rate of LEAP in generating adversarial test cases is 79.1%, which is 6.1% higher than the next best approach (PSOattack). While ensuring high success rates, LEAP significantly reduces time overhead by up to 147.6s compared to other heuristic-based methods. Additionally, the experimental results demonstrate that LEAP can generate more transferable test cases and significantly enhance the robustness of DNN-based systems.

5.Multi-Objective Improvement of Android Applications

Authors:James Callan, Justyna Petke

Abstract: Non-functional properties, such as runtime or memory use, are important to mobile app users and developers, as they affect user experience. Previous work on automated improvement of non-functional properties in mobile apps failed to address the inherent trade-offs between such properties. We propose a practical approach and the first open-source tool, GIDroid (2023), for multi-objective automated improvement of Android apps. In particular, we use Genetic improvement, a search-based technique that navigates the space of software variants to find improved software. We use a simulation-based testing framework to greatly improve the speed of search. GIDroid contains three state-of-the-art multi-objective algorithms, and two new mutation operators, which cache the results of method calls. Genetic improvement relies on testing to validate patches. Previous work showed that tests in open-source Android applications are scarce. We thus wrote tests for 21 versions of 7 Android apps, creating a new benchmark for performance improvements. We used GIDroid to improve versions of mobile apps where developers had previously found improvements to runtime, memory, and bandwidth use. Our technique automatically re-discovers 64% of existing improvements. We then applied our approach to current versions of software in which there were no known improvements. We were able to improve execution time by up to 35%, and memory use by up to 33% in these apps.

6.Towards an Understanding of Large Language Models in Software Engineering Tasks

Authors:Zibin Zheng, Kaiwen Ning, Jiachi Chen, Yanlin Wang, Wenqing Chen, Lianghong Guo, Weicheng Wang

Abstract: Large Language Models (LLMs) have drawn widespread attention and research due to their astounding performance in tasks such as text generation and reasoning. Derivative products, like ChatGPT, have been extensively deployed and highly sought after. Meanwhile, the evaluation and optimization of LLMs in software engineering tasks, such as code generation, have become a research focus. However, there is still a lack of systematic research on the application and evaluation of LLMs in the field of software engineering. Therefore, this paper is the first to comprehensively investigate and collate the research and products combining LLMs with software engineering, aiming to answer two questions: (1) What are the current integrations of LLMs with software engineering? (2) Can LLMs effectively handle software engineering tasks? To find the answers, we have collected related literature as extensively as possible from seven mainstream databases, and selected 123 papers for analysis. We have categorized these papers in detail and reviewed the current research status of LLMs from the perspective of seven major software engineering tasks, hoping this will help researchers better grasp the research trends and address the issues when applying LLMs. Meanwhile, we have also organized and presented papers with evaluation content to reveal the performance and effectiveness of LLMs in various software engineering tasks, providing guidance for researchers and developers to optimize.

7.Recommending Analogical APIs via Knowledge Graph Embedding

Authors:Mingwei Liu, Yanjun Yang, Yiling Lou, Xin Peng, Zhong Zhou, Xueying Du, Tianyong Yang

Abstract: Library migration, which re-implements the same software behavior by using a different library instead of using the current one, has been widely observed in software evolution. One essential part of library migration is to find an analogical API that could provide the same functionality as current ones. However, given the large number of libraries/APIs, manually finding an analogical API could be very time-consuming and error-prone. Researchers have developed multiple automated analogical API recommendation techniques. Documentation-based methods have particularly attracted significant interest. Despite their potential, these methods have limitations, such as a lack of comprehensive semantic understanding in documentation and scalability challenges. In this work, we propose KGE4AR, a novel documentation-based approach that leverages knowledge graph (KG) embedding to recommend analogical APIs during library migration. Specifically, KGE4AR proposes a novel unified API KG to comprehensively and structurally represent three types of knowledge in documentation, which can better capture the high-level semantics. Moreover, KGE4AR then proposes to embed the unified API KG into vectors, enabling more effective and scalable similarity calculation. We build KGE4AR' s unified API KG for 35,773 Java libraries and assess it in two API recommendation scenarios: with and without target libraries. Our results show that KGE4AR substantially outperforms state-of-the-art documentation-based techniques in both evaluation scenarios in terms of all metrics (e.g., 47.1%-143.0% and 11.7%-80.6% MRR improvements in each scenario). Additionally, we explore KGE4AR' s scalability, confirming its effective scaling with the growing number of libraries.

1.When Less is Enough: Positive and Unlabeled Learning Model for Vulnerability Detection

Authors:Xin-Cheng Wen, Xinchen Wang, Cuiyun Gao, Shaohua Wang, Yang Liu, Zhaoquan Gu

Abstract: Automated code vulnerability detection has gained increasing attention in recent years. The deep learning (DL)-based methods, which implicitly learn vulnerable code patterns, have proven effective in vulnerability detection. The performance of DL-based methods usually relies on the quantity and quality of labeled data. However, the current labeled data are generally automatically collected, such as crawled from human-generated commits, making it hard to ensure the quality of the labels. Prior studies have demonstrated that the non-vulnerable code (i.e., negative labels) tends to be unreliable in commonly-used datasets, while vulnerable code (i.e., positive labels) is more determined. Considering the large numbers of unlabeled data in practice, it is necessary and worth exploring to leverage the positive data and large numbers of unlabeled data for more accurate vulnerability detection. In this paper, we focus on the Positive and Unlabeled (PU) learning problem for vulnerability detection and propose a novel model named PILOT, i.e., PositIve and unlabeled Learning mOdel for vulnerability deTection. PILOT only learns from positive and unlabeled data for vulnerability detection. It mainly contains two modules: (1) A distance-aware label selection module, aiming at generating pseudo-labels for selected unlabeled data, which involves the inter-class distance prototype and progressive fine-tuning; (2) A mixed-supervision representation learning module to further alleviate the influence of noise and enhance the discrimination of representations.

2.Software Entity Recognition with Noise-Robust Learning

Authors:Tai Nguyen, Yifeng Di, Joohan Lee, Muhao Chen, Tianyi Zhang

Abstract: Recognizing software entities such as library names from free-form text is essential to enable many software engineering (SE) technologies, such as traceability link recovery, automated documentation, and API recommendation. While many approaches have been proposed to address this problem, they suffer from small entity vocabularies or noisy training data, hindering their ability to recognize software entities mentioned in sophisticated narratives. To address this challenge, we leverage the Wikipedia taxonomy to develop a comprehensive entity lexicon with 79K unique software entities in 12 fine-grained types, as well as a large labeled dataset of over 1.7M sentences. Then, we propose self-regularization, a noise-robust learning approach, to the training of our software entity recognition (SER) model by accounting for many dropouts. Results show that models trained with self-regularization outperform both their vanilla counterparts and state-of-the-art approaches on our Wikipedia benchmark and two Stack Overflow benchmarks. We release our models, data, and code for future research.

3.Incorprating Prompt tuning for Commit classification with prior Knowledge

Authors:Jiajun Tong, Zhixiao Wang, Xiaobin Rui

Abstract: Commit Classification(CC) is an important task in software maintenance since it helps software developers classify code changes into different types according to their nature and purpose. This allows them to better understand how their development efforts are progressing, identify areas where they need improvement. However, existing methods are all discriminative models, usually with complex architectures that require additional output layers to produce class label probabilities. Moreover, they require a large amount of labeled data for fine-tuning, and it is difficult to learn effective classification boundaries in the case of limited labeled data. To solve above problems, we propose a generative framework that Incorporating prompt-tuning for commit classification with prior knowledge (IPCK), which simplifies the model structure and learns features across different tasks. It can still reach the SOTA performance with only limited samples. Firstly, we proposed a generative framework based on T5. This encoder-decoder construction method unifies different CC task into a text2text problem, which simplifies the structure of the model by not requiring an extra output layer. Second, instead of fine-tuning, we design an prompt-tuning solution which can be adopted in few-shot scenarios with only limit samples. Furthermore, we incorporate prior knowledge via an external knowledge graph to map the probabilities of words into the final labels in the speech machine step to improve performance in few-shot scenarios. Extensive experiments on two open available datasets show that our framework can solve the CC problem simply but effectively in few-shot and zeroshot scenarios, while improving the adaptability of the model without requiring a large amount of training samples for fine-tuning.

4.Large Language Models for Software Engineering: A Systematic Literature Review

Authors:Xinyi Hou, Yanjie Zhao, Yue Liu, Zhou Yang, Kailong Wang, Li Li, Xiapu Luo, David Lo, John Grundy, Haoyu Wang

Abstract: Large Language Models (LLMs) have significantly impacted numerous domains, notably including Software Engineering (SE). Nevertheless, a well-rounded understanding of the application, effects, and possible limitations of LLMs within SE is still in its early stages. To bridge this gap, our systematic literature review takes a deep dive into the intersection of LLMs and SE, with a particular focus on understanding how LLMs can be exploited in SE to optimize processes and outcomes. Through a comprehensive review approach, we collect and analyze a total of 229 research papers from 2017 to 2023 to answer four key research questions (RQs). In RQ1, we categorize and provide a comparative analysis of different LLMs that have been employed in SE tasks, laying out their distinctive features and uses. For RQ2, we detail the methods involved in data collection, preprocessing, and application in this realm, shedding light on the critical role of robust, well-curated datasets for successful LLM implementation. RQ3 allows us to examine the specific SE tasks where LLMs have shown remarkable success, illuminating their practical contributions to the field. Finally, RQ4 investigates the strategies employed to optimize and evaluate the performance of LLMs in SE, as well as the common techniques related to prompt optimization. Armed with insights drawn from addressing the aforementioned RQs, we sketch a picture of the current state-of-the-art, pinpointing trends, identifying gaps in existing research, and flagging promising areas for future study.

5.EALink: An Efficient and Accurate Pre-trained Framework for Issue-Commit Link Recovery

Authors:Chenyuan Zhang, Yanlin Wang, Zhao Wei, Yong Xu, Juhong Wang, Hui Li, Rongrong Ji

Abstract: Issue-commit links, as a type of software traceability links, play a vital role in various software development and maintenance tasks. However, they are typically deficient, as developers often forget or fail to create tags when making commits. Existing studies have deployed deep learning techniques, including pretrained models, to improve automatic issue-commit link recovery.Despite their promising performance, we argue that previous approaches have four main problems, hindering them from recovering links in large software projects. To overcome these problems, we propose an efficient and accurate pre-trained framework called EALink for issue-commit link recovery. EALink requires much fewer model parameters than existing pre-trained methods, bringing efficient training and recovery. Moreover, we design various techniques to improve the recovery accuracy of EALink. We construct a large-scale dataset and conduct extensive experiments to demonstrate the power of EALink. Results show that EALink outperforms the state-of-the-art methods by a large margin (15.23%-408.65%) on various evaluation metrics. Meanwhile, its training and inference overhead is orders of magnitude lower than existing methods.

6.A Large-scale Benchmark for Log Parsing

Authors:Zhihan Jiang, Jinyang Liu, Junjie Huang, Yichen Li, Yintong Huo, Jiazhen Gu, Zhuangbin Chen, Jieming Zhu, Michael R. Lyu

Abstract: Log data is pivotal in activities like anomaly detection and failure diagnosis in the automated maintenance of software systems. Due to their unstructured format, log parsing is often required to transform them into a structured format for automated analysis. A variety of log parsers exist, making it vital to benchmark these tools to comprehend their features and performance. However, existing datasets for log parsing are limited in terms of scale and representativeness, posing challenges for studies that aim to evaluate or develop log parsers. This problem becomes more pronounced when these parsers are evaluated for production use. To address these issues, we introduce a new collection of large-scale annotated log datasets, named LogPub, which more accurately mirrors log data observed in real-world software systems. LogPub comprises 14 datasets, each averaging 3.6 million log lines. Utilizing LogPub, we re-evaluate 15 log parsers in a more rigorous and practical setting. We also propose a new evaluation metric to lessen the sensitivity of current metrics to imbalanced data distribution. Furthermore, we are the first to scrutinize the detailed performance of log parsers on logs that represent rare system events and offer comprehensive information for system troubleshooting. Parsing such logs accurately is vital yet challenging. We believe that our work could shed light on the design and evaluation of log parsers in more realistic settings, thereby facilitating their implementation in production systems.

1.End-to-End Test Coverage Metrics in Microservice Systems: An Automated Approach

Authors:Amr Elsayed, Tomas Cerny, Jorge Yero Salazar, Austin Lehman, Joshua Hunter, Ashley Bickham, Davide Taibi

Abstract: Microservice architecture gains momentum by fueling systems with cloud-native benefits, scalability, and decentralized evolution. However, new challenges emerge for end-to-end (E2E) testing. Testers who see the decentralized system through the user interface might assume their tests are comprehensive, covering all middleware endpoints scattered across microservices. However, they do not have instruments to verify such assumptions. This paper introduces test coverage metrics for evaluating the extent of E2E test suite coverage for microservice endpoints. Next, it presents an automated approach to compute these metrics to provide feedback on the completeness of E2E test suites. Furthermore, a visual perspective is provided to highlight test coverage across the system's microservices to guide on gaps in test suites. We implement a proof-of-concept tool and perform a case study on a well-established system benchmark showing it can generate conclusive feedback on test suite coverage over system endpoints.

2.Domain Adaptive Code Completion via Language Models and Decoupled Domain Databases

Authors:Ze Tang, Jidong Ge, Shangqing Liu, Tingwei Zhu, Tongtong Xu, Liguo Huang, Bin Luo

Abstract: Large Language Models (LLMs) have demonstrated remarkable performance in code completion. However, due to the lack of domain-specific knowledge, they may not be optimal in completing code that requires intensive domain knowledge for example completing the library names. Although there are several works that have confirmed the effectiveness of fine-tuning techniques to adapt language models for code completion in specific domains. They are limited by the need for constant fine-tuning of the model when the project is in constant iteration. To address this limitation, in this paper, we propose $k$NM-LM, a retrieval-augmented language model (R-LM), that integrates domain knowledge into language models without fine-tuning. Different from previous techniques, our approach is able to automatically adapt to different language models and domains. Specifically, it utilizes the in-domain code to build the retrieval-based database decoupled from LM, and then combines it with LM through Bayesian inference to complete the code. The extensive experiments on the completion of intra-project and intra-scenario have confirmed that $k$NM-LM brings about appreciable enhancements when compared to CodeGPT and UnixCoder. A deep analysis of our tool including the responding speed, storage usage, specific type code completion, and API invocation completion has confirmed that $k$NM-LM provides satisfactory performance, which renders it highly appropriate for domain adaptive code completion. Furthermore, our approach operates without the requirement for direct access to the language model's parameters. As a result, it can seamlessly integrate with black-box code completion models, making it easy to integrate our approach as a plugin to further enhance the performance of these models.

3.AutoLog: A Log Sequence Synthesis Framework for Anomaly Detection

Authors:Yintong Huo, Yichen Li, Yuxin Su, Pinjia He, Zifan Xie, Michael R. Lyu

Abstract: The rapid progress of modern computing systems has led to a growing interest in informative run-time logs. Various log-based anomaly detection techniques have been proposed to ensure software reliability. However, their implementation in the industry has been limited due to the lack of high-quality public log resources as training datasets. While some log datasets are available for anomaly detection, they suffer from limitations in (1) comprehensiveness of log events; (2) scalability over diverse systems; and (3) flexibility of log utility. To address these limitations, we propose AutoLog, the first automated log generation methodology for anomaly detection. AutoLog uses program analysis to generate run-time log sequences without actually running the system. AutoLog starts with probing comprehensive logging statements associated with the call graphs of an application. Then, it constructs execution graphs for each method after pruning the call graphs to find log-related execution paths in a scalable manner. Finally, AutoLog propagates the anomaly label to each acquired execution path based on human knowledge. It generates flexible log sequences by walking along the log execution paths with controllable parameters. Experiments on 50 popular Java projects show that AutoLog acquires significantly more (9x-58x) log events than existing log datasets from the same system, and generates log messages much faster (15x) with a single machine than existing passive data collection approaches. We hope AutoLog can facilitate the benchmarking and adoption of automated log analysis techniques.

4.Software Development in Startup Companies: The Greenfield Startup Model

Authors:Carmine Giardino, Nicolò Paternoster, Michael Unterkalmsteiner, Tony Gorschek, Pekka Abrahamsson

Abstract: Software startups are newly created companies with no operating history and oriented towards producing cutting-edge products. However, despite the increasing importance of startups in the economy, few scientific studies attempt to address software engineering issues, especially for early-stage startups. If anything, startups need engineering practices of the same level or better than those of larger companies, as their time and resources are more scarce, and one failed project can put them out of business. In this study we aim to improve understanding of the software development strategies employed by startups. We performed this state-of-practice investigation using a grounded theory approach. We packaged the results in the Greenfield Startup Model (GSM), which explains the priority of startups to release the product as quickly as possible. This strategy allows startups to verify product and market fit, and to adjust the product trajectory according to early collected user feedback. The need to shorten time-to-market, by speeding up the development through low-precision engineering activities, is counterbalanced by the need to restructure the product before targeting further growth. The resulting implications of the GSM outline challenges and gaps, pointing out opportunities for future research to develop and validate engineering practices in the startup context.

5.Summary of the 3rd International Workshop on Requirements Engineering and Testing

Authors:Michael Unterkalmsteiner, Gregory Gay, Michael Felderer, Elizabeth Bjarnason, Markus Borg, Mirko Morandini

Abstract: The RET (Requirements Engineering and Testing) workshop series provides a meeting point for researchers and practitioners from the two separate fields of Requirements Engineering (RE) and Testing. The goal is to improve the connection and alignment of these two areas through an exchange of ideas, challenges, practices, experiences and results. The long term aim is to build a community and a body of knowledge within the intersection of RE and Testing, i.e. RET. The 3rd workshop was held in co-location with REFSQ 2016 in Gothenburg, Sweden. The workshop continued in the same interactive vein as the predecessors and included a keynote, paper presentations with ample time for discussions, and panels. In order to create an RET knowledge base, this crosscutting area elicits contributions from both RE and Testing, and from both researchers and practitioners. A range of papers were presented from short positions papers to full research papers that cover connections between the two fields.

6.Test Code Refactoring Unveiled: Where and How Does It Affect Test Code Quality and Effectiveness?

Authors:Luana Martins, Valeria Pontillo, Heitor Costa, Filomena Ferrucci, Fabio Palomba, Ivan Machado

Abstract: Context. Refactoring has been widely investigated in the past in relation to production code quality, yet still little is known on how developers apply refactoring on test code. Specifically, there is still a lack of investigation into how developers typically refactor test code and its effects on test code quality and effectiveness. Objective. This paper presents a research agenda aimed to bridge this gap of knowledge by investigating (1) whether test refactoring actually targets test classes affected by quality and effectiveness concerns and (2) the extent to which refactoring contributes to the improvement of test code quality and effectiveness. Method. We plan to conduct an exploratory mining software repository study to collect test refactoring data of open-source Java projects from GitHub and statistically analyze them in combination with quality metrics, test smells, and code/mutation coverage indicators. Furthermore, we will measure how refactoring operations impact the quality and effectiveness of test code.

7.How Do Java Developers Reuse StackOverflow Answers in Their GitHub Projects?

Authors:Juntong Chen, Kulendra Kumar Kaushal, Rutwik Kulkarni, Na Meng

Abstract: StackOverflow (SO) is a widely used question-and-answer (Q\&A) website for software developers and computer scientists. GitHub is an online development platform used for storing, tracking, and collaborating on software projects. Prior work relates the information mined from both platforms to link user accounts or compare developers' activities across platforms. However, not much work is done to characterize the SO answers reused by GitHub projects. For this paper, we did an empirical study by mining the SO answers reused by Java projects available on GitHub. We created a hybrid approach of clone detection, keyword-based search, and manual inspection, to identify the answer(s) actually leveraged by developers. Based on the identified answers, we further studied topics of the discussion threads, answer characteristics (e.g., scores, ages, code lengths, and text lengths), and developers' reuse practices. We observed that most reused answers offer programs to implement specific coding tasks. Among all analyzed SO discussion threads, the reused answers often have relatively higher scores, older ages, longer code, and longer text than unused answers. In only 9% of scenarios (40/430), developers fully copied answer code for reuse. In the remaining scenarios, they reused partial code or created brand new code from scratch. Our study characterized 130 SO discussion threads referred to by Java developers in 357 GitHub projects. Our empirical findings can guide SO answerers to provide better answers, and shed lights on future research related to SO and GitHub.

8.Visually Analyzing Company-wide Software Service Dependencies: An Industrial Case Study

Authors:Sebastian Baltes, Brian Pfitzmann, Thomas Kowark, Christoph Treude, Fabian Beck

Abstract: Managing dependencies between software services is a crucial task for any company operating cloud applications. Visualizations can help to understand and maintain these complex dependencies. In this paper, we present a force-directed service dependency visualization and filtering tool that has been developed and used within SAP. The tool's use cases include guiding service retirement as well as understanding service deployment landscapes and their relationship to the company's organizational structure. We report how we built and adapted the tool under strict time constraints to address the requirements of our users. We further share insights on how we enabled internal adoption. For us, starting with a minimal viable visualization and then quickly responding to user feedback was essential for convincing users of the tool's value. The final version of the tool enabled users to visually understand company-wide service consumption, supporting data-driven decision making.

9.Incrementalizing Production CodeQL Analyses

Authors:Tamás Szabó

Abstract: Instead of repeatedly re-analyzing from scratch, an incremental static analysis only analyzes a codebase once completely, and then it updates the previous results based on the code changes. While this sounds promising to achieve speed-ups, the reality is that sophisticated static analyses typically employ features that can ruin incremental performance, such as inter-procedurality or context-sensitivity. In this study, we set out to explore whether incrementalization can help to achieve speed-ups for production CodeQL analyses that provide automated feedback on pull requests on GitHub. We first empirically validate the idea by measuring the potential for reuse on real-world codebases, and then we create a prototype incremental solver for CodeQL that exploits incrementality. We report on experimental results showing that we can indeed achieve update times proportional to the size of the code change, and we also discuss the limitations of our prototype.

10.An Image is Worth a Thousand Toxic Words: A Metamorphic Testing Framework for Content Moderation Software

Authors:Wenxuan Wang, Jingyuan Huang, Jen-tse Huang, Chang Chen, Jiazhen Gu, Pinjia He, Michael R. Lyu

Abstract: The exponential growth of social media platforms has brought about a revolution in communication and content dissemination in human society. Nevertheless, these platforms are being increasingly misused to spread toxic content, including hate speech, malicious advertising, and pornography, leading to severe negative consequences such as harm to teenagers' mental health. Despite tremendous efforts in developing and deploying textual and image content moderation methods, malicious users can evade moderation by embedding texts into images, such as screenshots of the text, usually with some interference. We find that modern content moderation software's performance against such malicious inputs remains underexplored. In this work, we propose OASIS, a metamorphic testing framework for content moderation software. OASIS employs 21 transform rules summarized from our pilot study on 5,000 real-world toxic contents collected from 4 popular social media applications, including Twitter, Instagram, Sina Weibo, and Baidu Tieba. Given toxic textual contents, OASIS can generate image test cases, which preserve the toxicity yet are likely to bypass moderation. In the evaluation, we employ OASIS to test five commercial textual content moderation software from famous companies (i.e., Google Cloud, Microsoft Azure, Baidu Cloud, Alibaba Cloud and Tencent Cloud), as well as a state-of-the-art moderation research model. The results show that OASIS achieves up to 100% error finding rates. Moreover, through retraining the models with the test cases generated by OASIS, the robustness of the moderation model can be improved without performance degradation.

1.CodeCoT and Beyond: Learning to Program and Test like a Developer

Authors:Dong Huang, Qingwen Bu, Heming Cui

Abstract: In natural language processing, transformer-based large language models (LLMs) like GPT-x models developed by OpenAI have revolutionized the landscape. Despite their impressive capabilities, these models often encounter challenges when handling tasks that differ from their training data, resulting in compromised performance. To address this, few-shot learning has emerged as a valuable technique, allowing LLMs to adapt with minimal task-specific data. One innovative strategy, known as Chain-of-Thought Prompting (CoT), has been introduced to guide LLMs in revealing cognitive processes during multi-step reasoning. In this paper, we propose Code Chain-of-Thought~(CodeCoT), which consists of two components: the Vanilla CodeCoT and the Self-exam CodeCoT. The latter incorporates self-examination, empowering the model to iteratively generate code, formulate test cases, and refine its outputs. Specifically, the process entails the generation of test examples by the model corresponding to the code it is tasked to implement. If it fails on the test examples, then it regenerates the code based on the erroneous code and associated error types. Through comprehensive experiments, we observed that both techniques significantly enhance code generation accuracy across various LLM variants. Our evaluation results reveal that CodeCoT improves the code generation effectiveness, including an unprecedented pass@1 accuracy of 79.27\% using the Self-exam CodeCoT approach on the gpt-3.5-turbo-0613 model in the HumanEval dataset.

2.Are They All Good? Studying Practitioners' Expectations on the Readability of Log Messages

Authors:Zhenhao Li, An Ran Chen, Xing Hu, Xin Xia, Tse-Hsun Chen, Weiyi Shang

Abstract: Developers write logging statements to generate logs that provide run-time information for various tasks. The readability of log messages in the logging statements (i.e., the descriptive text) is rather crucial to the value of the generated logs. Immature log messages may slow down or even obstruct the process of log analysis. Despite the importance of log messages, there is still a lack of standards on what constitutes good readability in log messages and how to write them. In this paper, we conduct a series of interviews with 17 industrial practitioners to investigate their expectations on the readability of log messages. Through the interviews, we derive three aspects related to the readability of log messages, including Structure, Information, and Wording, along with several specific practices to improve each aspect. We validate our findings through a series of online questionnaire surveys and receive positive feedback from the participants. We then manually investigate the readability of log messages in large-scale open source systems and find that a large portion (38.1%) of the log messages have inadequate readability. Motivated by such observation, we further explore the potential of automatically classifying the readability of log messages using deep learning and machine learning models. We find that both deep learning and machine learning models can effectively classify the readability of log messages with a balanced accuracy above 80.0% on average. Our study provides comprehensive guidelines for composing log messages to further improve practitioners' logging practices.

3.Towards Automatically Addressing Self-Admitted Technical Debt: How Far Are We?

Authors:Antonio Mastropaolo, Massimiliano Di Penta, Gabriele Bavota

Abstract: Upon evolving their software, organizations and individual developers have to spend a substantial effort to pay back technical debt, i.e., the fact that software is released in a shape not as good as it should be, e.g., in terms of functionality, reliability, or maintainability. This paper empirically investigates the extent to which technical debt can be automatically paid back by neural-based generative models, and in particular models exploiting different strategies for pre-training and fine-tuning. We start by extracting a dateset of 5,039 Self-Admitted Technical Debt (SATD) removals from 595 open-source projects. SATD refers to technical debt instances documented (e.g., via code comments) by developers. We use this dataset to experiment with seven different generative deep learning (DL) model configurations. Specifically, we compare transformers pre-trained and fine-tuned with different combinations of training objectives, including the fixing of generic code changes, SATD removals, and SATD-comment prompt tuning. Also, we investigate the applicability in this context of a recently-available Large Language Model (LLM)-based chat bot. Results of our study indicate that the automated repayment of SATD is a challenging task, with the best model we experimented with able to automatically fix ~2% to 8% of test instances, depending on the number of attempts it is allowed to make. Given the limited size of the fine-tuning dataset (~5k instances), the model's pre-training plays a fundamental role in boosting performance. Also, the ability to remove SATD steadily drops if the comment documenting the SATD is not provided as input to the model. Finally, we found general-purpose LLMs to not be a competitive approach for addressing SATD.

4.On the Evaluation of Neural Code Translation: Taxonomy and Benchmark

Authors:Mingsheng Jiao, Tingrui Yu, Xuan Li, Guanjie Qiu, Xiaodong Gu, Beijun Shen

Abstract: In recent years, neural code translation has gained increasing attention. While most of the research focuses on improving model architectures and training processes, we notice that the evaluation process and benchmark for code translation models are severely limited: they primarily treat source code as natural languages and provide a holistic accuracy score while disregarding the full spectrum of model capabilities across different translation types and complexity. In this paper, we present a comprehensive investigation of four state-of-the-art models and analyze in-depth the advantages and limitations of three existing benchmarks. Based on the empirical results, we develop a taxonomy that categorizes code translation tasks into four primary types according to their complexity and knowledge dependence: token level (type 1), syntactic level (type 2), library level (type 3), and algorithm level (type 4). We then conduct a thorough analysis of how existing approaches perform across these four categories. Our findings indicate that while state-of-the-art code translation models excel in type-1 and type-2 translations, they struggle with knowledge-dependent ones such as type-3 and type-4. Existing benchmarks are biased towards trivial translations, such as keyword mapping. To overcome these limitations, we construct G-TransEval, a new benchmark by manually curating type-3 and type-4 translation pairs and unit test cases. Results on our new benchmark suggest that G-TransEval can exhibit more comprehensive and finer-grained capability of code translation models and thus provide a more rigorous evaluation. Our studies also provide more insightful findings and suggestions for future research, such as building type-3 and type-4 training data and ensembling multiple pretraining approaches.

5.Who is the Real Hero? Measuring Developer Contribution via Multi-dimensional Data Integration

Authors:Yuqiang Sun, Zhengzi Xu, Chengwei Liu, Yiran Zhang, Yang Liu

Abstract: Proper incentives are important for motivating developers in open-source communities, which is crucial for maintaining the development of open-source software healthy. To provide such incentives, an accurate and objective developer contribution measurement method is needed. However, existing methods rely heavily on manual peer review, lacking objectivity and transparency. The metrics of some automated works about effort estimation use only syntax-level or even text-level information, such as changed lines of code, which lack robustness. Furthermore, some works about identifying core developers provide only a qualitative understanding without a quantitative score or have some project-specific parameters, which makes them not practical in real-world projects. To this end, we propose CValue, a multidimensional information fusion-based approach to measure developer contributions. CValue extracts both syntax and semantic information from the source code changes in four dimensions: modification amount, understandability, inter-function and intra-function impact of modification. It fuses the information to produce the contribution score for each of the commits in the projects. Experimental results show that CValue outperforms other approaches by 19.59% on 10 real-world projects with manually labeled ground truth. We validated and proved that the performance of CValue, which takes 83.39 seconds per commit, is acceptable to be applied in real-world projects. Furthermore, we performed a large-scale experiment on 174 projects and detected 2,282 developers having inflated commits. Of these, 2,050 developers did not make any syntax contribution; and 103 were identified as bots.

6.Log Parsing Evaluation in the Era of Modern Software Systems

Authors:Stefan Petrescu, Floris den Hengst, Alexandru Uta, Jan S. Rellermeyer

Abstract: Due to the complexity and size of modern software systems, the amount of logs generated is tremendous. Hence, it is infeasible to manually investigate these data in a reasonable time, thereby requiring automating log analysis to derive insights about the functioning of the systems. Motivated by an industry use-case, we zoom-in on one integral part of automated log analysis, log parsing, which is the prerequisite to deriving any insights from logs. Our investigation reveals problematic aspects within the log parsing field, particularly its inefficiency in handling heterogeneous real-world logs. We show this by assessing the 14 most-recognized log parsing approaches in the literature using (i) nine publicly available datasets, (ii) one dataset comprised of combined publicly available data, and (iii) one dataset generated within the infrastructure of a large bank. Subsequently, toward improving log parsing robustness in real-world production scenarios, we propose a tool, Logchimera, that enables estimating log parsing performance in industry contexts through generating synthetic log data that resemble industry logs. Our contributions serve as a foundation to consolidate past research efforts, facilitate future research advancements, and establish a strong link between research and industry log parsing.

7.Automated and Context-Aware Repair of Color-Related Accessibility Issues for Android Apps

Authors:Yuxin Zhang, Sen Chen, Lingling Fan, Chunyang Chen, Xiaohong Li

Abstract: Approximately 15% of the world's population is suffering from various disabilities or impairments. However, many mobile UX designers and developers disregard the significance of accessibility for those with disabilities when developing apps. A large number of studies and some effective tools for detecting accessibility issues have been conducted and proposed to mitigate such a severe problem. However, compared with detection, the repair work is obviously falling behind. Especially for the color-related accessibility issues, which is one of the top issues in apps with a greatly negative impact on vision and user experience. Apps with such issues are difficult to use for people with low vision and the elderly. Unfortunately, such an issue type cannot be directly fixed by existing repair techniques. To this end, we propose Iris, an automated and context-aware repair method to fix the color-related accessibility issues (i.e., the text contrast issues and the image contrast issues) for apps. By leveraging a novel context-aware technique that resolves the optimal colors and a vital phase of attribute-to-repair localization, Iris not only repairs the color contrast issues but also guarantees the consistency of the design style between the original UI page and repaired UI page. Our experiments unveiled that Iris can achieve a 91.38% repair success rate with high effectiveness and efficiency. The usefulness of Iris has also been evaluated by a user study with a high satisfaction rate as well as developers' positive feedback. 9 of 40 submitted pull requests on GitHub repositories have been accepted and merged into the projects by app developers, and another 4 developers are actively discussing with us for further repair. Iris is publicly available to facilitate this new research direction.

8.Personalized First Issue Recommender for Newcomers in Open Source Projects

Authors:Wenxin Xiao, Jingyue Li, Hao He, Ruiqiao Qiu, Minghui Zhou

Abstract: Many open source projects provide good first issues (GFIs) to attract and retain newcomers. Although several automated GFI recommenders have been proposed, existing recommenders are limited to recommending generic GFIs without considering differences between individual newcomers. However, we observe mismatches between generic GFIs and the diverse background of newcomers, resulting in failed attempts, discouraged onboarding, and delayed issue resolution. To address this problem, we assume that personalized first issues (PFIs) for newcomers could help reduce the mismatches. To justify the assumption, we empirically analyze 37 newcomers and their first issues resolved across multiple projects. We find that the first issues resolved by the same newcomer share similarities in task type, programming language, and project domain. These findings underscore the need for a PFI recommender to improve over state-of-the-art approaches. For that purpose, we identify features that influence newcomers' personalized selection of first issues by analyzing the relationship between possible features of the newcomers and the characteristics of the newcomers' chosen first issues. We find that the expertise preference, OSS experience, activeness, and sentiment of newcomers drive their personalized choice of the first issues. Based on these findings, we propose a Personalized First Issue Recommender (PFIRec), which employs LamdaMART to rank candidate issues for a given newcomer by leveraging the identified influential features. We evaluate PFIRec using a dataset of 68,858 issues from 100 GitHub projects. The evaluation results show that PFIRec outperforms existing first issue recommenders, potentially doubling the probability that the top recommended issue is suitable for a specific newcomer and reducing one-third of a newcomer's unsuccessful attempts to identify suitable first issues, in the median.

9.Enhancing API Documentation through BERTopic Modeling and Summarization

Authors:AmirHossein Naghshzan, Sylvie Ratte

Abstract: As the amount of textual data in various fields, including software development, continues to grow, there is a pressing demand for efficient and effective extraction and presentation of meaningful insights. This paper presents a unique approach to address this need, focusing on the complexities of interpreting Application Programming Interface (API) documentation. While official API documentation serves as a primary source of information for developers, it can often be extensive and lacks user-friendliness. In light of this, developers frequently resort to unofficial sources like Stack Overflow and GitHub. Our novel approach employs the strengths of BERTopic for topic modeling and Natural Language Processing (NLP) to automatically generate summaries of API documentation, thereby creating a more efficient method for developers to extract the information they need. The produced summaries and topics are evaluated based on their performance, coherence, and interoperability. The findings of this research contribute to the field of API documentation analysis by providing insights into recurring topics, identifying common issues, and generating potential solutions. By improving the accessibility and efficiency of API documentation comprehension, our work aims to enhance the software development process and empower developers with practical tools for navigating complex APIs.

10.Hyperfuzzing: black-box security hypertesting with a grey-box fuzzer

Authors:Daniel Blackwell, Ingolf Becker, David Clark

Abstract: Information leakage is a class of error that can lead to severe consequences. However unlike other errors, it is rarely explicitly considered during the software testing process. LeakFuzzer advances the state of the art by using a noninterference security property together with a security flow policy as an oracle. As the tool extends the state of the art fuzzer, AFL++, LeakFuzzer inherits the advantages of AFL++ such as scalability, automated input generation, high coverage and low developer intervention. The tool can detect the same set of errors that a normal fuzzer can detect, with the addition of being able to detect violations of secure information flow policies. We evaluated LeakFuzzer on a diverse set of 10 C and C++ benchmarks containing known information leaks, ranging in size from just 80 to over 900k lines of code. Seven of these are taken from real-world CVEs including Heartbleed and a recent error in PostgreSQL. Given 20 24-hour runs, LeakFuzzer can find 100% of the leaks in the SUTs whereas existing techniques using such as the CBMC model checker and AFL++ augmented with different sanitizers can only find 40% at best.

11.A Comparative Study of Text Embedding Models for Semantic Text Similarity in Bug Reports

Authors:Avinash Patil, Kihwan Han, Sabyasachi Mukhopadhyay

Abstract: Bug reports are an essential aspect of software development, and it is crucial to identify and resolve them quickly to ensure the consistent functioning of software systems. Retrieving similar bug reports from an existing database can help reduce the time and effort required to resolve bugs. In this paper, we compared the effectiveness of semantic textual similarity methods for retrieving similar bug reports based on a similarity score. We explored several embedding models such as TF-IDF (Baseline), FastText, Gensim, BERT, and ADA. We used the Software Defects Data containing bug reports for various software projects to evaluate the performance of these models. Our experimental results showed that BERT generally outperformed the rest of the models regarding recall, followed by ADA, Gensim, FastText, and TFIDF. Our study provides insights into the effectiveness of different embedding methods for retrieving similar bug reports and highlights the impact of selecting the appropriate one for this task. Our code is available on GitHub.

1.Emergent Software Service Platform and its Application in a Smart Mobility Setting

Authors:Nils Wilken, Christoph Knieke, Eric Nyakam, Andreas Rausch, Christian Schindler, Christian Bartelt, Nikolaus Ziebura

Abstract: The development dynamics of digital innovations for industry, business, and society are producing complex system conglomerates that can no longer be designed centrally and hierarchically in classic development processes. Instead, systems are evolving in DevOps processes in which heterogeneous actors act together on an open platform. Influencing and controlling such dynamically and autonomously changing system landscapes is currently a major challenge and a fundamental interest of service users and providers, as well as operators of the platform infrastructures. In this paper, we propose an architecture for such an emergent software service platform. A software platform that implements this architecture with the underlying engineering methodology is demonstrated by a smart parking lot scenario.

2.Boosting Commit Classification with Contrastive Learning

Authors:Jiajun Tong, Zhixiao Wang, Xiaobin Rui

Abstract: Commit Classification (CC) is an important task in software maintenance, which helps software developers classify code changes into different types according to their nature and purpose. It allows developers to understand better how their development efforts are progressing, identify areas where they need improvement, and make informed decisions about when and how to release new software versions. However, existing models need lots of manually labeled data for fine-tuning processes, and ignore sentence-level semantic information, which is often essential for discovering the difference between diverse commits. Therefore, it is still challenging to solve CC in fewshot scenario. To solve the above problems, we propose a contrastive learning-based commit classification framework. Firstly, we generate $K$ sentences and pseudo-labels according to the labels of the dataset, which aims to enhance the dataset. Secondly, we randomly group the augmented data $N$ times to compare their similarity with the positive $T_p^{|C|}$ and negative $T_n^{|C|}$ samples. We utilize individual pretrained sentence transformers (ST)s to efficiently obtain the sentence-level embeddings from different features respectively. Finally, we adopt the cosine similarity function to limit the distribution of vectors, similar vectors are more adjacent. The light fine-tuned model is then applied to the label prediction of incoming commits. Extensive experiments on two open available datasets demonstrate that our framework can solve the CC problem simply but effectively in fewshot scenarios, while achieving state-of-the-art(SOTA) performance and improving the adaptability of the model without requiring a large number of training samples for fine-tuning. The code, data, and trained models are available at

3.Techniques for Improving the Energy Efficiency of Mobile Apps: A Taxonomy and Systematic Literature Review

Authors:Stefan Huber, Tobias Lorey, Michael Felderer

Abstract: Building energy efficient software is an increasingly important task for mobile developers. However, a cumulative body of knowledge of techniques that support this goal does not exist. We conduct a systematic literature review to gather information on existing techniques that allow developers to increase energy efficiency in mobile apps. Based on a synthesis of the 91 included primary studies, we propose a taxonomy of techniques for improving the energy efficiency in mobile apps. The taxonomy includes seven main categories of techniques and serves as a collection of available methods for developers and as a reference guide for software testers when performing energy efficiency testing by the means of benchmark tests.

4.DataRaceBench V1.4.1 and DataRaceBench-ML V0.1: Benchmark Suites for Data Race Detection

Authors:Le Chen, Wenhao Wu, Stephen F. Siegel, Pei-Hung Lin, Chunhua Liao

Abstract: Data races pose a significant threat in multi-threaded parallel applications due to their negative impact on program correctness. DataRaceBench, an open-source benchmark suite, is specifically crafted to assess these data race detection tools in a systematic and measurable manner. Machine learning techniques have recently demonstrated considerable potential in high-performance computing (HPC) program analysis and optimization. However, these techniques require specialized data formats for training and refinement. This paper presents the latest update to DataRaceBench, incorporating new data race contributions from Wu et al. \cite{wu2023model}, and introduces a derived dataset named DataRaceBench-ML (DRB-ML) \cite{drbml}. DRB-ML aligns with the emerging trend of machine learning and large language models. Originating from DataRaceBench, this dataset includes detailed labels that denote the presence of a data race and provides comprehensive details of associated variables, such as variable names, line numbers, and the operation (read/write). Unique to DRB-ML, we have also integrated a series of tailored prompt-response pairs specifically designed for LLM fine-tuning.

1.LogPrompt: Prompt Engineering Towards Zero-Shot and Interpretable Log Analysis

Authors:Yilun Liu, Shimin Tao, Weibin Meng, Jingyu Wang, Wenbing Ma, Yanqing Zhao, Yuhang Chen, Hao Yang, Yanfei Jiang, Xun Chen

Abstract: Automated log analysis is crucial in modern software-intensive systems for ensuring reliability and resilience throughout software maintenance and engineering life cycles. Existing methods perform tasks such as log parsing and log anomaly detection by providing a single prediction value without interpretation. However, given the increasing volume of system events, the limited interpretability of analysis results hinders analysts' trust and their ability to take appropriate actions. Moreover, these methods require substantial in-domain training data, and their performance declines sharply (by up to 62.5%) in online scenarios involving unseen logs from new domains, a common occurrence due to rapid software updates. In this paper, we propose LogPrompt, a novel zero-shot and interpretable log analysis approach. LogPrompt employs large language models (LLMs) to perform zero-shot log analysis tasks via a suite of advanced prompt strategies tailored for log tasks, which enhances LLMs' performance by up to 107.5% compared with simple prompts. Experiments on nine publicly available evaluation datasets across two tasks demonstrate that LogPrompt, despite using no training data, outperforms existing approaches trained on thousands of logs by up to around 50%. We also conduct a human evaluation of LogPrompt's interpretability, with six practitioners possessing over 10 years of experience, who highly rated the generated content in terms of usefulness and readability (averagely 4.42/5). LogPrompt also exhibits remarkable compatibility with open-source and smaller-scale LLMs, making it flexible for practical deployment.

2.Software Engineering Knowledge Areas in Startup Companies: A Mapping Study

Authors:Eriks Klotins, Michael Unterkalmsteiner, Tony Gorschek

Abstract: Background - Startup companies are becoming important suppliers of innovative and software intensive products. The failure rate among startups is high due to lack of resources, immaturity, multiple influences and dynamic technologies. However, software product engineering is the core activity in startups, therefore inadequacies in applied engineering practices might be a significant contributing factor for high failure rates. Aim - This study identifies and categorizes software engineering knowledge areas utilized in startups to map out the state-of-art, identifying gaps for further research. Method - We perform a systematic literature mapping study, applying snowball sampling to identify relevant primary studies. Results - We have identified 54 practices from 14 studies. Although 11 of 15 main knowledge areas from SWEBOK are covered, a large part of categories is not. Conclusions - Existing research does not provide reliable support for software engineering in any phase of a startup life cycle. Transfer of results to other startups is difficult due to low rigor in current studies.

3.Prism: Revealing Hidden Functional Clusters from Massive Instances in Cloud Systems

Authors:Jinyang Liu, Zhihan Jiang, Jiazhen Gu, Junjie Huang, Zhuangbin Chen, Cong Feng, Zengyin Yang, Yongqiang Yang, Michael R. Lyu

Abstract: Ensuring the reliability of cloud systems is critical for both cloud vendors and customers. Cloud systems often rely on virtualization techniques to create instances of hardware resources, such as virtual machines. However, virtualization hinders the observability of cloud systems, making it challenging to diagnose platform-level issues. To improve system observability, we propose to infer functional clusters of instances, i.e., groups of instances having similar functionalities. We first conduct a pilot study on a large-scale cloud system, i.e., Huawei Cloud, demonstrating that instances having similar functionalities share similar communication and resource usage patterns. Motivated by these findings, we formulate the identification of functional clusters as a clustering problem and propose a non-intrusive solution called Prism. Prism adopts a coarse-to-fine clustering strategy. It first partitions instances into coarse-grained chunks based on communication patterns. Within each chunk, Prism further groups instances with similar resource usage patterns to produce fine-grained functional clusters. Such a design reduces noises in the data and allows Prism to process massive instances efficiently. We evaluate Prism on two datasets collected from the real-world production environment of Huawei Cloud. Our experiments show that Prism achieves a v-measure of ~0.95, surpassing existing state-of-the-art solutions. Additionally, we illustrate the integration of Prism within monitoring systems for enhanced cloud reliability through two real-world use cases.

4.Assessing requirements engineering and software test alignment -- Five case studies

Authors:Michael Unterkalmsteiner, Tony Gorschek, Robert Feldt, Eriks Klotins

Abstract: The development of large, software-intensive systems is a complex undertaking that we generally tackle by a divide and conquer strategy. Companies thereby face the challenge of coordinating individual aspects of software development, in particular between requirements engineering (RE) and software testing (ST). A lack of REST alignment can not only lead to wasted effort but also to defective software. However, before a company can improve the mechanisms of coordination they need to be understood first. With REST-bench we aim at providing an assessment tool that illustrates the coordination in software development projects and identify concrete improvement opportunities. We have developed REST-bench on the sound fundamentals of a taxonomy on REST alignment methods and validated the method in five case studies. Following the principles of technical action research, we collaborated with five companies, applying REST-bench and iteratively improving the method based on the lessons we learned. We applied REST-bench both in Agile and plan-driven environments, in projects lasting from weeks to years, and staffed as large as 1000 employees. The improvement opportunities we identified and the feedback we received indicate that the assessment was effective and efficient. Furthermore, participants confirmed that their understanding on the coordination between RE and ST improved.

5.From Commit Message Generation to History-Aware Commit Message Completion

Authors:Aleksandra Eliseeva, Yaroslav Sokolov, Egor Bogomolov, Yaroslav Golubev, Danny Dig, Timofey Bryksin

Abstract: Commit messages are crucial to software development, allowing developers to track changes and collaborate effectively. Despite their utility, most commit messages lack important information since writing high-quality commit messages is tedious and time-consuming. The active research on commit message generation (CMG) has not yet led to wide adoption in practice. We argue that if we could shift the focus from commit message generation to commit message completion and use previous commit history as additional context, we could significantly improve the quality and the personal nature of the resulting commit messages. In this paper, we propose and evaluate both of these novel ideas. Since the existing datasets lack historical data, we collect and share a novel dataset called CommitChronicle, containing 10.7M commits across 20 programming languages. We use this dataset to evaluate the completion setting and the usefulness of the historical context for state-of-the-art CMG models and GPT-3.5-turbo. Our results show that in some contexts, commit message completion shows better results than generation, and that while in general GPT-3.5-turbo performs worse, it shows potential for long and detailed messages. As for the history, the results show that historical information improves the performance of CMG models in the generation task, and the performance of GPT-3.5-turbo in both generation and completion.

6.Maat: Performance Metric Anomaly Anticipation for Cloud Services with Conditional Diffusion

Authors:Cheryl Lee, Tianyi Yang, Zhuangbin Chen, Yuxin Su, Michael R. Lyu

Abstract: Ensuring the reliability and user satisfaction of cloud services necessitates prompt anomaly detection followed by diagnosis. Existing techniques for anomaly detection focus solely on real-time detection, meaning that anomaly alerts are issued as soon as anomalies occur. However, anomalies can propagate and escalate into failures, making faster-than-real-time anomaly detection highly desirable for expediting downstream analysis and intervention. This paper proposes Maat, the first work to address anomaly anticipation of performance metrics in cloud services. Maat adopts a novel two-stage paradigm for anomaly anticipation, consisting of metric forecasting and anomaly detection on forecasts. The metric forecasting stage employs a conditional denoising diffusion model to enable multi-step forecasting in an auto-regressive manner. The detection stage extracts anomaly-indicating features based on domain knowledge and applies isolation forest with incremental learning to detect upcoming anomalies. Thus, our method can uncover anomalies that better conform to human expertise. Evaluation on three publicly available datasets demonstrates that Maat can anticipate anomalies faster than real-time comparatively or more effectively compared with state-of-the-art real-time anomaly detectors. We also present cases highlighting Maat's success in forecasting abnormal metrics and discovering anomalies.

7.Research Software Engineering in 2030

Authors:Daniel S. Katz, Simon Hettrick

Abstract: This position paper for an invited talk on the "Future of eScience" discusses the Research Software Engineering Movement and where it might be in 2030. Because of the authors' experiences, it is aimed globally but with examples that focus on the United States and United Kingdom.

1.SOTIF-Compliant Scenario Generation Using Semi-Concrete Scenarios and Parameter Sampling

Authors:Lukas Birkemeyer, Julian Fuchs, Alessio Gambi, Ina Schaefer

Abstract: The SOTIF standard (ISO 21448) requires scenario-based testing to verify and validate Advanced Driver Assistance Systems and Automated Driving Systems but does not suggest any practical way to do so effectively and efficiently. Existing scenario generation approaches either focus on exploring or exploiting the scenario space. This generally leads to test suites that cover many known cases but potentially miss edge cases or focused test suites that are effective but also contain less diverse scenarios. To generate SOTIF-compliant test suites that achieve higher coverage and find more faults, this paper proposes semi-concrete scenarios and combines them with parameter sampling to adequately balance scenario space exploration and exploitation. Semi-concrete scenarios enable combinatorial scenario generation techniques that systematically explore the scenario space, while parameter sampling allows for the exploitation of continuous parameters. Our experimental results show that the proposed concept can generate more effective test suites than state-of-the-art coverage-based sampling. Moreover, our results show that including a feedback mechanism to drive parameter sampling further increases test suites' effectiveness.

2.Understanding Hackers' Work: An Empirical Study of Offensive Security Practitioners

Authors:Andreas Happe, Jürgen Cito

Abstract: Offensive security-tests are a common way to pro-actively discover potential vulnerabilities. They are performed by specialists, often called penetration-testers or white-hat hackers. The chronic lack of available white-hat hackers prevents sufficient security test coverage of software. Research into automation tries to alleviate this problem by improving the efficiency of security testing. To achieve this, researchers and tool builders need a solid understanding of how hackers work, their assumptions, and pain points. In this paper, we present a first data-driven exploratory qualitative study of twelve security professionals, their work and problems occurring therein. We perform a thematic analysis to gain insights into the execution of security assignments, hackers' thought processes and encountered challenges. This analysis allows us to conclude with recommendations for researchers and tool builders to increase the efficiency of their automation and identify novel areas for research.

3.Hue: A User-Adaptive Parser for Hybrid Logs

Authors:Junjielong Xu, Qiuai Fu, Zhouruixing Zhu, Yutong Cheng, Zhijing Li, Yuchi Ma, Pinjia He

Abstract: Log parsing, which extracts log templates from semi-structured logs and produces structured logs, is the first and the most critical step in automated log analysis. While existing log parsers have achieved decent results, they suffer from two major limitations by design. First, they do not natively support hybrid logs that consist of both single-line logs and multi-line logs (\eg Java Exception and Hadoop Counters). Second, they fall short in integrating domain knowledge in parsing, making it hard to identify ambiguous tokens in logs. This paper defines a new research problem, \textit{hybrid log parsing}, as a superset of traditional log parsing tasks, and proposes \textit{Hue}, the first attempt for hybrid log parsing via a user-adaptive manner. Specifically, Hue converts each log message to a sequence of special wildcards using a key casting table and determines the log types via line aggregating and pattern extracting. In addition, Hue can effectively utilize user feedback via a novel merge-reject strategy, making it possible to quickly adapt to complex and changing log templates. We evaluated Hue on three hybrid log datasets and sixteen widely-used single-line log datasets (\ie Loghub). The results show that Hue achieves an average grouping accuracy of 0.845 on hybrid logs, which largely outperforms the best results (0.563 on average) obtained by existing parsers. Hue also exhibits SOTA performance on single-line log datasets. Furthermore, Hue has been successfully deployed in a real production environment for daily hybrid log parsing.

4.Conformance Checking for Pushdown Reactive Systems based on Visibly Pushdown Languages

Authors:Adilson Luiz Bonifacio

Abstract: Testing pushdown reactive systems is deemed important to guarantee a precise and robust software development process. Usually, such systems can be specified by the formalism of Input/Output Visibly Pushdown Labeled Transition System (IOVPTS), where the interaction with the environment is regulated by a pushdown memory. Hence a conformance checking can be applied in a testing process to verify whether an implementation is in compliance to a specification using an appropriate conformance relation. In this work we establish a novelty conformance relation based on Visibly Pushdown Languages (VPLs) that can model sets of desirable and undesirable behaviors of systems. Further, we show that test suites with a complete fault coverage can be generated using this conformance relation for pushdown reactive systems.

1.Understanding and Remediating Open-Source License Incompatibilities in the PyPI Ecosystem

Authors:Weiwei Xu, Hao He, Kai Gao, Minghui Zhou

Abstract: The reuse and distribution of open-source software must be in compliance with its accompanying open-source license. In modern packaging ecosystems, maintaining such compliance is challenging because a package may have a complex multi-layered dependency graph with many packages, any of which may have an incompatible license. Although prior research finds that license incompatibilities are prevalent, empirical evidence is still scarce in some modern packaging ecosystems (e.g., PyPI). It also remains unclear how developers remediate the license incompatibilities in the dependency graphs of their packages (including direct and transitive dependencies), let alone any automated approaches. To bridge this gap, we conduct a large-scale empirical study of license incompatibilities and their remediation practices in the PyPI ecosystem. We find that 7.27% of the PyPI package releases have license incompatibilities and 61.3% of them are caused by transitive dependencies, causing challenges in their remediation; for remediation, developers can apply one of the five strategies: migration, removal, pinning versions, changing their own licenses, and negotiation. Inspired by our findings, we propose SILENCE, an SMT-solver-based approach to recommend license incompatibility remediations with minimal costs in package dependency graph. Our evaluation shows that the remediations proposed by SILENCE can match 19 historical real-world cases (except for migrations not covered by an existing knowledge base) and have been accepted by five popular PyPI packages whose developers were previously unaware of their license incompatibilities.

2.Decentralised Governance for Foundation Model based Systems: Exploring the Role of Blockchain in Responsible AI

Authors:Yue Liu, Qinghua Lu, Liming Zhu, Hye-Young Paik

Abstract: Foundation models are increasingly attracting interest worldwide for their distinguished capabilities and potential to perform a wide variety of tasks. Nevertheless, people are concerned about whether foundation model based AI systems are properly governed to ensure trustworthiness of foundation model based AI systems and to prevent misuse that could harm humans, society and the environment. In this paper, we identify eight governance challenges in the entire lifecycle of foundation model based AI systems regarding the three fundamental dimensions of governance: decision rights, incentives, and accountability. Furthermore, we explore the potential of blockchain as a solution to address the challenges by providing a distributed ledger to facilitate decentralised governance. We present an architecture that demonstrates how blockchain can be leveraged to realise governance in foundation model based AI systems.

3.How Early Participation Determines Long-Term Sustained Activity in GitHub Projects?

Authors:Wenxin Xiao, Hao He, Weiwei Xu, Yuxia Zhang, Minghui Zhou

Abstract: Although the open source model bears many advantages in software development, open source projects are always hard to sustain. Previous research on open source sustainability mainly focuses on projects that have already reached a certain level of maturity (e.g., with communities, releases, and downstream projects). However, limited attention is paid to the development of (sustainable) open source projects in their infancy, and we believe an understanding of early sustainability determinants is crucial for project initiators, incubators, newcomers, and users. In this paper, we aim to explore the relationship between early participation factors and long-term project sustainability. We leverage a novel methodology that measures the early participation of 290,255 GitHub projects during the first three months with reference to the Blumberg model, trains an XGBoost model to predict project's two-year sustained activity, and interprets the trained model using LIME. We quantitatively show that early participants have a positive effect on project's future sustained activity if they have prior experience in OSS project incubation and demonstrate concentrated focus and steady commitment. Participation from non-code contributors and detailed contribution documentation also promote project's sustained activity. Compared with individual projects, building a community that consists of more experienced core developers and more active peripheral developers is important for organizational projects. This study provides unique insights into the incubation and recognition of sustainable open source projects, and our interpretable prediction approach can also offer guidance to open source project initiators and newcomers.

4.Validation-Driven Development

Authors:Sebastian Stock, Atif Mashkoor, Alexander Egyed

Abstract: Formal methods play a fundamental role in asserting the correctness of requirements specifications. However, historically, formal method experts have primarily focused on verifying those specifications. Although equally important, validation of requirements specifications often takes the back seat. This paper introduces a validation-driven development (VDD) process that prioritizes validating requirements in formal development. The VDD process is built upon problem frames - a requirements analysis approach - and validation obligations (VOs) - the concept of breaking down the overall validation of a specification and linking it to refinement steps. The effectiveness of the VDD process is demonstrated through a case study in the aviation industry.

5.Safeguarding Learning-based Control for Smart Energy Systems with Sampling Specifications

Authors:Chih-Hong Cheng, Venkatesh Prasad Venkataramanan, Pragya Kirti Gupta, Yun-Fei Hsu, Simon Burton

Abstract: We study challenges using reinforcement learning in controlling energy systems, where apart from performance requirements, one has additional safety requirements such as avoiding blackouts. We detail how these safety requirements in real-time temporal logic can be strengthened via discretization into linear temporal logic (LTL), such that the satisfaction of the LTL formulae implies the satisfaction of the original safety requirements. The discretization enables advanced engineering methods such as synthesizing shields for safe reinforcement learning as well as formal verification, where for statistical model checking, the probabilistic guarantee acquired by LTL model checking forms a lower bound for the satisfaction of the original real-time safety requirements.

6.Scaling Up Toward Automated Black-box Reverse Engineering of Context-Free Grammars

Authors:Mohammad Rifat Arefin, Suraj Shetiya, Zili Wang, Christoph Csallner

Abstract: Black-box context-free grammar inference is a hard problem as in many practical settings it only has access to a limited number of example programs. The state-of-the-art approach Arvada heuristically generalizes grammar rules starting from flat parse trees and is non-deterministic to explore different generalization sequences. We observe that many of Arvada's generalization steps violate common language concept nesting rules. We thus propose to pre-structure input programs along these nesting rules, apply learnt rules recursively, and make black-box context-free grammar inference deterministic. The resulting TreeVada yielded faster runtime and higher-quality grammars in an empirical comparison.

1.Uncovering the Hidden Potential of Event-Driven Architecture: A Research Agenda

Authors:Luan Lazzari, Kleinner Farias

Abstract: Event-driven architecture has been widely adopted in the software industry, emerging as an alternative to modular development to support rapid adaptations of constantly evolving systems. However, little is known about the effects of event-driven architecture on performance, stability, and software monitoring, among others. Consequently, professionals end up adopting it without any empirical evidence about its impact. Even worse, the current literature lacks studies that point to which emerging research directions need to be explored. This article proposes an agenda for future research based on the scarcity of literature in the field of event-oriented architecture. This agenda was derived from a literature review and a case study carried out, as well as from the authors' experience. Eight main topics were explored in this work: performance analysis, empirical studies, architectural stability, challenges to adopting, monitoring event streams, effects on software performance, broader challenges for adoption, and better monitoring of event-driven architecture. The findings reported help the researchers and developers in prioritizing the critical difficulties for uncovering the hidden potential of event-driven architecture. Finally, this article seeks to help researchers and professionals by proposing an agenda as a starting point for their research.

1.Evaluating and Optimizing the Effectiveness of Neural Machine Translation in Supporting Code Retrieval Models: A Study on the CAT Benchmark

Authors:Hung Phan, Ali Jannesari

Abstract: Neural Machine Translation (NMT) is widely applied in software engineering tasks. The effectiveness of NMT for code retrieval relies on the ability to learn from the sequence of tokens in the source language to the sequence of tokens in the target language. While NMT performs well in pseudocode-to-code translation, it might have challenges in learning to translate from natural language query to source code in newly curated real-world code documentation/ implementation datasets. In this work, we analyze the performance of NMT in natural language-to-code translation in the newly curated CAT benchmark that includes the optimized versions of three Java datasets TLCodeSum, CodeSearchNet, Funcom, and a Python dataset PCSD. Our evaluation shows that NMT has low accuracy, measured by CrystalBLEU and Meteor metrics in this task. To alleviate the duty of NMT in learning complex representation of source code, we propose ASTTrans Representation, a tailored representation of an Abstract Syntax Tree (AST) using a subset of non-terminal nodes. We show that the classical approach NMT performs significantly better in learning ASTTrans Representation over code tokens with up to 36% improvement on Meteor score. Moreover, we leverage ASTTrans Representation to conduct combined code search processes from the state-of-the-art code search processes using GraphCodeBERT and UniXcoder. Our NMT models of learning ASTTrans Representation can boost the Mean Reciprocal Rank of these state-of-the-art code search processes by up to 3.08% and improve 23.08% of queries' results over the CAT benchmark.

1.A Comparative Study of Code Generation using ChatGPT 3.5 across 10 Programming Languages

Authors:Alessio Buscemi

Abstract: Large Language Models (LLMs) are advanced Artificial Intelligence (AI) systems that have undergone extensive training using large datasets in order to understand and produce language that closely resembles that of humans. These models have reached a level of proficiency where they are capable of successfully completing university exams across several disciplines and generating functional code to handle novel problems. This research investigates the coding proficiency of ChatGPT 3.5, a LLM released by OpenAI in November 2022, which has gained significant recognition for its impressive text generating and code creation capabilities. The skill of the model in creating code snippets is evaluated across 10 various programming languages and 4 different software domains. Based on the findings derived from this research, major unexpected behaviors and limitations of the model have been identified. This study aims to identify potential areas for development and examine the ramifications of automated code generation on the evolution of programming languages and on the tech industry.

2.A Dataset and Analysis of Open-Source Machine Learning Products

Authors:Nadia Nahar, Haoran Zhang, Grace Lewis, Shurui Zhou, Christian Kästner

Abstract: Machine learning (ML) components are increasingly incorporated into software products, yet developers face challenges in transitioning from ML prototypes to products. Academic researchers struggle to propose solutions to these challenges and evaluate interventions because they often do not have access to close-sourced ML products from industry. In this study, we define and identify open-source ML products, curating a dataset of 262 repositories from GitHub, to facilitate further research and education. As a start, we explore six broad research questions related to different development activities and report 21 findings from a sample of 30 ML products from the dataset. Our findings reveal a variety of development practices and architectural decisions surrounding different types and uses of ML models that offer ample opportunities for future research innovations. We also find very little evidence of industry best practices such as model testing and pipeline automation within the open-source ML products, which leaves room for further investigation to understand its potential impact on the development and eventual end-user experience for the products.

3.Fair and Inclusive Participatory Budgeting: Voter Experience with Cumulative and Quadratic Voting Interfaces

Authors:Thomas Welling, Fatemeh Banaie Heravan, Abhinav Sharma, Lodewijk Gelauff, Regula Haenggli, Evangelos Pournaras

Abstract: Cumulative and quadratic voting are two distributional voting methods that are expressive, promoting fairness and inclusion, particularly in the realm of participatory budgeting. Despite these benefits, graphical voter interfaces for cumulative and quadratic voting are complex to implement and use effectively. As a result, such methods have not seen yet widespread adoption on digital voting platforms. This paper addresses the challenge by introducing an implementation and evaluation of cumulative and quadratic voting within a state-of-the-art voting platform: Stanford Participatory Budgeting. The findings of the study show that while voters prefer simple methods, the more expressive (and complex) cumulative voting becomes the preferred one compared to k-ranking voting that is simpler but less expressive. The implemented voting interface elements are found useful and support the observed voters' preferences for more expressive voting methods. *

4.The Inverse Transparency Toolchain: A Fully Integrated and Quickly Deployable Data Usage Logging Infrastructure

Authors:Valentin Zieglmeier

Abstract: Inverse transparency is created by making all usages of employee data visible to them. This requires tools that handle the logging and storage of usage information, and making logged data visible to data owners. For research and teaching contexts that integrate inverse transparency, creating this required infrastructure can be challenging. The Inverse Transparency Toolchain presents a flexible solution for such scenarios. It can be easily deployed and is tightly integrated. With it, we successfully handled use cases covering empirical studies with users, prototyping in university courses, and experimentation with our industry partner.

1.Expediting Neural Network Verification via Network Reduction

Authors:Yuyi Zhong, Ruiwei Wang, Siau-Cheng Khoo

Abstract: A wide range of verification methods have been proposed to verify the safety properties of deep neural networks ensuring that the networks function correctly in critical applications. However, many well-known verification tools still struggle with complicated network architectures and large network sizes. In this work, we propose a network reduction technique as a pre-processing method prior to verification. The proposed method reduces neural networks via eliminating stable ReLU neurons, and transforming them into a sequential neural network consisting of ReLU and Affine layers which can be handled by the most verification tools. We instantiate the reduction technique on the state-of-the-art complete and incomplete verification tools, including alpha-beta-crown, VeriNet and PRIMA. Our experiments on a large set of benchmarks indicate that the proposed technique can significantly reduce neural networks and speed up existing verification tools. Furthermore, the experiment results also show that network reduction can improve the availability of existing verification tools on many networks by reducing them into sequential neural networks.

2.Mitigating Persistence of Open-Source Vulnerabilities in Maven Ecosystem

Authors:Lyuye Zhang, Chengwei Liu, Sen Chen, Zhengzi Xu, Lingling Fan, Lida Zhao, Yiran Zhang, Yang Liu

Abstract: Vulnerabilities from third-party libraries (TPLs) have been unveiled to threaten the Maven ecosystem. Despite patches being released promptly after vulnerabilities are disclosed, the libraries and applications in the community still use the vulnerable versions, which makes the vulnerabilities persistent in the Maven ecosystem (e.g., the notorious Log4Shell still greatly influences the Maven ecosystem nowadays from 2021). Both academic and industrial researchers have proposed user-oriented standards and solutions to address vulnerabilities, while such solutions fail to tackle the ecosystem-wide persistent vulnerabilities because it requires a collective effort from the community to timely adopt patches without introducing breaking issues. To seek an ecosystem-wide solution, we first carried out an empirical study to examine the prevalence of persistent vulnerabilities in the Maven ecosystem. Then, we identified affected libraries for alerts by implementing an algorithm monitoring downstream dependents of vulnerabilities based on an up-to-date dependency graph. Based on them, we further quantitatively revealed that patches blocked by upstream libraries caused the persistence of vulnerabilities. After reviewing the drawbacks of existing countermeasures, to address them, we proposed a solution for range restoration (Ranger) to automatically restore the compatible and secure version ranges of dependencies for downstream dependents. The automatic restoration requires no manual effort from the community, and the code-centric compatibility assurance ensures smooth upgrades to patched versions. Moreover, Ranger along with the ecosystem monitoring can timely alert developers of blocking libraries and suggest flexible version ranges to rapidly unblock patch versions. By evaluation, Ranger could restore 75.64% of ranges which automatically remediated 90.32% of vulnerable downstream projects.

3.Evaluating and Explaining Large Language Models for Code Using Syntactic Structures

Authors:David N Palacio, Alejandro Velasco, Daniel Rodriguez-Cardenas, Kevin Moran, Denys Poshyvanyk

Abstract: Large Language Models (LLMs) for code are a family of high-parameter, transformer-based neural networks pre-trained on massive datasets of both natural and programming languages. These models are rapidly being employed in commercial AI-based developer tools, such as GitHub CoPilot. However, measuring and explaining their effectiveness on programming tasks is a challenging proposition, given their size and complexity. The methods for evaluating and explaining LLMs for code are inextricably linked. That is, in order to explain a model's predictions, they must be reliably mapped to fine-grained, understandable concepts. Once this mapping is achieved, new methods for detailed model evaluations are possible. However, most current explainability techniques and evaluation benchmarks focus on model robustness or individual task performance, as opposed to interpreting model predictions. To this end, this paper introduces ASTxplainer, an explainability method specific to LLMs for code that enables both new methods for LLM evaluation and visualizations of LLM predictions that aid end-users in understanding model predictions. At its core, ASTxplainer provides an automated method for aligning token predictions with AST nodes, by extracting and aggregating normalized model logits within AST structures. To demonstrate the practical benefit of ASTxplainer, we illustrate the insights that our framework can provide by performing an empirical evaluation on 12 popular LLMs for code using a curated dataset of the most popular GitHub projects. Additionally, we perform a user study examining the usefulness of an ASTxplainer-derived visualization of model predictions aimed at enabling model users to explain predictions. The results of these studies illustrate the potential for ASTxplainer to provide insights into LLM effectiveness, and aid end-users in understanding predictions.

4.Spellburst: A Node-based Interface for Exploratory Creative Coding with Natural Language Prompts

Authors:Tyler Angert, Miroslav Ivan Suzara, Jenny Han, Christopher Lawrence Pondoc, Hariharan Subramonyam

Abstract: Creative coding tasks are often exploratory in nature. When producing digital artwork, artists usually begin with a high-level semantic construct such as a "stained glass filter" and programmatically implement it by varying code parameters such as shape, color, lines, and opacity to produce visually appealing results. Based on interviews with artists, it can be effortful to translate semantic constructs to program syntax, and current programming tools don't lend well to rapid creative exploration. To address these challenges, we introduce Spellburst, a large language model (LLM) powered creative-coding environment. Spellburst provides (1) a node-based interface that allows artists to create generative art and explore variations through branching and merging operations, (2) expressive prompt-based interactions to engage in semantic programming, and (3) dynamic prompt-driven interfaces and direct code editing to seamlessly switch between semantic and syntactic exploration. Our evaluation with artists demonstrates Spellburst's potential to enhance creative coding practices and inform the design of computational creativity tools that bridge semantic and syntactic spaces.

5.Simulating the Software Development Lifecycle: The Waterfall Model

Authors:Antonios Saravanos New York University, Mathew X. Curinga MIXI: Manhattan Institute for STEM and the Imagination, Adelphi University

Abstract: (1) Background: This study employs a simulation-based approach, adapting the waterfall model, to provides estimates for projects and individual phase completion times. Additionally, it pin-points potential efficiency issues stemming from a suboptimal resource level. It further demonstrates how one can go on to identify a resource level that effectively eliminates bottlenecks and curtails the idle time of resources. (2) Methods: We implement our software development lifecycle using SimPy, a discrete-event simulation framework written in Python. Our model is executed on 100 projects of varying sizes over three stages. The first, pre-optimization, provides insight based on the initial set of resources. This is followed by the optimization stage, which serves to identify the optimal number of resources to eliminate bottlenecks and minimize idle time. The third stage, post-optimization, evaluates the resource optimized model. (3) Results: The analysis of the simulation-generated data reveals the presence of resource bottlenecks during the pre-optimization stage, particularly in the implementation phase. These dissipate after optimization. (4) Conclusions: The findings emphasize the advantage of using simulation as a safe and effective way to experiment and plan for software development projects. Such simulations also allow those man-aging software development projects to make accurate, evidence-based projections as to phase and project completion times and identify optimal resource levels and their interplay. In particular, understanding the tradeoffs between experiencing delayed completion times and procuring additional resources to alleviate any bottlenecks.

1.SOTIF-Compliant Scenario Generation Using Semi-Concrete Scenarios and Parameter Sampling

Authors:Lukas Birkemeyer, Christian King, Ina Schaefer

Abstract: Scenario-based testing is considered state-of-the-art to verify and validate Advanced Driver Assistance Systems or Automated Driving Systems. Due to the official launch of the SOTIF-standard (ISO 21448), scenario-based testing becomes more and more relevant for releasing those Highly Automated Driving Systems. However, an essential missing detail prevent the practical application of the SOTIF-standard: How to practically generate scenarios for scenario-based testing? In this paper, we perform a Systematic Literature Review to identify techniques that generate scenarios complying with requirements of the SOTIF-standard. We classify existing scenario generation techniques and evaluate the characteristics of generated scenarios wrt. SOTIF requirements. We investigate which details of the real-world are covered by generated scenarios, whether scenarios are specific for a system under test or generic, and whether scenarios are designed to minimize the set of unknown and hazardous scenarios. We conclude that scenarios generated with existing techniques do not comply with requirements implied by the SOTIF-standard; hence, we propose directions for future research.

2.Who Answers It Better? An In-Depth Analysis of ChatGPT and Stack Overflow Answers to Software Engineering Questions

Authors:Samia Kabir, David N. Udo-Imeh, Bonan Kou, Tianyi Zhang

Abstract: Q&A platforms have been an integral part of the web-help-seeking behavior of programmers over the past decade. However, with the recent introduction of ChatGPT, the paradigm of web-help-seeking behavior is experiencing a shift. Despite the popularity of ChatGPT, no comprehensive study has been conducted to evaluate the characteristics or usability of ChatGPT's answers to software engineering questions. To bridge the gap, we conducted the first in-depth analysis of ChatGPT's answers to 517 Stack Overflow (SO) questions and examined the correctness, consistency, comprehensiveness, and conciseness of ChatGPT's answers. Furthermore, we conducted a large-scale linguistic analysis, and a user study to understand the characteristics of ChatGPT answers from linguistic and human aspects. Our analysis shows that 52\% of ChatGPT answers are incorrect and 77\% are verbose. Nonetheless, ChatGPT answers are still preferred 39.34\% of the time due to their comprehensiveness and well-articulated language style. Our result implies the necessity of close examination and rectification of errors in ChatGPT, at the same time creating awareness among its users of the risks associated with seemingly correct ChatGPT answers.

3.Hybrid Search method for Zermelo's navigation problem

Authors:Daniel Precioso, Robert Milson, Louis Bu, Yvonne Menchions, David Gómez-Ullate

Abstract: In this paper, we present a novel algorithm called the Hybrid Search algorithm that integrates the Zermelo's Navigation Initial Value Problem with the Ferraro-Mart\'in de Diego-Almagro algorithm to find the optimal route for a vessel to reach its destination. Our algorithm is designed to work in both Euclidean and spherical spaces and utilizes a heuristic that allows the vessel to move forward while remaining within a predetermined search cone centred around the destination. This approach not only improves efficiency but also includes obstacle avoidance, making it well-suited for real-world applications. We evaluate the performance of the Hybrid Search algorithm on synthetic vector fields and real ocean currents data, demonstrating its effectiveness and performance.

1.Targeted Control-flow Transformations for Mitigating Path Explosion in Dynamic Symbolic Execution

Authors:Charitha Saumya, Rohan Gangaraju, Kirshanthan Sundararajah, Milind Kulkarni

Abstract: Dynamic symbolic execution (DSE) suffers from path explosion problem when the target program has many conditional branches. Classical approach for managing the path explosion problem is dynamic state merging. Dynamic state merging combines similar symbolic program states together to avoid the exponential growth of states in DSE. However, state merging still requires solver invocations at each branch point of the program even when both paths of the branch is feasible and, the best path search strategy for DSE may not create the best state merging opportunities. Some drawbacks of state merging can be mitigated by compile-time state merging i.e. branch elimination by converting control-flow into data-flow. In this paper, we propose a non-semantics preserving but failure-preserving compiler technique for removing expensive symbolic branches in a program to improve the scalability of DSE. We develop a framework for detecting spurious bugs that can be inserted by our transformation. Finally, we show that our transformation can significantly improve the performance of exhaustive DSE on variety of benchmarks and helps in achieving more coverage in a large real-world subjects within a limited time budget.

2.Tool-Supported Architecture-Based Data Flow Analysis for Confidentiality

Authors:Felix Schwickerath, Nicolas Boltz, Sebastian Hahner, Maximilian Walter, Christopher Gerking, Robert Heinrich

Abstract: Through the increasing interconnection between various systems, the need for confidential systems is increasing. Confidential systems share data only with authorized entities. However, estimating the confidentiality of a system is complex, and adjusting an already deployed software is costly. Thus, it is helpful to have confidentiality analyses, which can estimate the confidentiality already at design time. Based on an existing data-flow-based confidentiality analysis concept, we reimplemented a data flow analysis as a Java-based tool. The tool uses the software architecture to identify access violations based on the data flow. The evaluation for our tool indicates that we can analyze similar scenarios and scale for certain scenarios better than the existing analysis.

1.Quantum Software Engineering Challenges from Developers' Perspective: Mapping Research Challenges to the Proposed Workflow Model

Authors:Majid Haghparast, Tommi Mikkonen, Jukka K. Nurminen, Vlad Stirbu

Abstract: Despite the increasing interest in quantum computing, the aspect of development to achieve cost-effective and reliable quantum software applications has been slow. One barrier is the software engineering of quantum programs, which can be approached from two directions. On the one hand, many software engineering practices, debugging in particular, are bound to classical computing. On the other hand, quantum programming is closely associated with the phenomena of quantum physics, and consequently, the way we express programs resembles the early days of programming. Moreover, much of the software engineering research today focuses on agile development, where computing cycles are cheap and new software can be rapidly deployed and tested, whereas in the quantum context, executions may consume lots of energy, and test runs may require lots of work to interpret. In this paper, we aim at bridging this gap by starting with the quantum computing workflow and by mapping existing software engineering research to this workflow. Based on the mapping, we then identify directions for software engineering research for quantum computing.

2.Towards Understanding the Capability of Large Language Models on Code Clone Detection: A Survey

Authors:Shihan Dou, Junjie Shan, Haoxiang Jia, Wenhao Deng, Zhiheng Xi, Wei He, Yueming Wu, Tao Gui, Yang Liu, Xuanjing Huang

Abstract: Code cloning, the duplication of code fragments, is common in software development. While some reuse aids productivity, excessive cloning hurts maintainability and introduces bugs. Hence, automatic code clone detection is vital. Meanwhile, large language models (LLMs) possess diverse code-related knowledge, making them versatile for various software engineering challenges. However, LLMs' performance in code clone detection is unclear and needs more study for accurate assessment.In this paper, we provide the first comprehensive evaluation of LLMs for clone detection, covering different clone types, languages, and prompts. We find advanced LLMs excel in detecting complex semantic clones, surpassing existing methods. Adding intermediate reasoning steps via chain-of-thought prompts noticeably enhances performance. Additionally, representing code as vector embeddings, especially with text encoders, effectively aids clone detection.Lastly, the ability of LLMs to detect code clones differs among various programming languages. Our study suggests that LLMs have potential for clone detection due to their language capabilities, offering insights for developing robust LLM-based methods to enhance software engineering.

3.Handling Communication via APIs for Microservices

Authors:Vini Kanvar, Ridhi Jain, Srikanth Tamilselvam

Abstract: Enterprises in their journey to the cloud, want to decompose their monolith applications into microservices to maximize cloud benefits. Current research focuses a lot on how to partition the monolith into smaller clusters that perform well across standard metrics like coupling, cohesion, etc. However, there is little research done on taking the partitions, identifying their dependencies between the microservices, exploring ways to further reduce the dependencies, and making appropriate code changes to enable robust communication without modifying the application behaviour. In this work, we discuss the challenges with the conventional techniques of communication using JSON and propose an alternative way of ID-passing via APIs. We also devise an algorithm to reduce the number of APIs. For this, we construct subgraphs of methods and their associated variables in each class and relocate them to their more functionally aligned microservices. Our quantitative and qualitative studies on five public Java applications clearly demonstrate that our refactored microservices using ID have decidedly better time and memory complexities than JSON. Our automation reduces 40-60\% of the manual refactoring efforts.

4.TEASMA: A Practical Approach for the Test Assessment of Deep Neural Networks using Mutation Analysis

Authors:Amin Abbasishahkoo, Mahboubeh Dadkhah, Lionel Briand, Dayi Lin

Abstract: Successful deployment of Deep Neural Networks (DNNs), particularly in safety-critical systems, requires their validation with an adequate test set to ensure a sufficient degree of confidence in test outcomes. Mutation analysis, one of the main techniques for measuring test adequacy in traditional software, has been adapted to DNNs in recent years. This technique is based on generating mutants that aim to be representative of actual faults and thus can be used for test adequacy assessment. In this paper, we investigate for the first time whether mutation operators that directly modify the trained DNN model (i.e., post-training) can be used for reliably assessing the test inputs of DNNs. We propose and evaluate TEASMA, an approach based on post-training mutation for assessing the adequacy of DNN's test sets. In practice, TEASMA allows engineers to decide whether they will be able to trust test results and thus validate the DNN before its deployment. Based on a DNN model's training set, TEASMA provides a methodology to build accurate prediction models of the Fault Detection Rate (FDR) of a test set from its mutation score, thus enabling its assessment. Our large empirical evaluation, across multiple DNN models, shows that predicted FDR values have a strong linear correlation (R2 >= 0.94) with actual values. Consequently, empirical evidence suggests that TEASMA provides a reliable basis for confidently deciding whether to trust test results or improve the test set.

1.Patch Space Exploration using Static Analysis Feedback

Authors:Yuntong Zhang, Andreea Costea, Ridwan Shariffdeen, Davin McCall, Abhik Roychoudhury

Abstract: Automated Program Repair (APR) techniques typically rely on a given test-suite to guide the repair process. Apart from the need to provide test oracles, this makes the produced patches prone to test data over-fitting. In this work, instead of relying on test cases, we show how to automatically repair memory safety issues, by leveraging static analysis (specifically Incorrectness Separation Logic) to guide repair. Our proposed approach learns what a desirable patch is by inspecting how close a patch is to fixing the bug based on the feedback from incorrectness separation logic based static analysis (specifically the Pulse analyser), and turning this information into a distribution of probabilities over context free grammars. Furthermore, instead of focusing on heuristics for reducing the search space of patches, we make repair scalable by creating classes of equivalent patches according to the effect they have on the symbolic heap, and then invoking the validation oracle only once per class of patch equivalence. This allows us to efficiently discover repairs even in the presence of a large pool of patch candidates offered by our generic patch synthesis mechanism. Experimental evaluation of our approach was conducted by repairing real world memory errors in OpenSSL, swoole and other subjects. The evaluation results show the scalability and efficacy of our approach in automatically producing high quality patches.

2.Artifact: Measuring and Mitigating Gaps in Structural Testing

Authors:Soneya Binta Hossain, Matthew B. Dwyer, Sebastian Elbaum, Anh Nguyen-Tuong

Abstract: The artifact used for evaluating the experimental results of Measuring and Mitigating Gaps in Structural Testing is publicly available on GitHub, Software Heritage and figshare, and is reusable. The artifact consists of necessary data, tools, scripts, and detailed documentation for running the experiments and reproducing the results shown in the paper. We have also provided a VirtualBox VM image allowing users to quickly setup and reproduce the results. Users are expected to be familiar using the VirtualBox software and Linux platform for evaluating or reusing the artifact.

3.Program Repair by Fuzzing over Patch and Input Space

Authors:Yuntong Zhang, Ridwan Shariffdeen, Gregory J. Duck, Jiaqi Tan, Abhik Roychoudhury

Abstract: Fuzz testing (fuzzing) is a well-known method for exposing bugs/vulnerabilities in software systems. Popular fuzzers, such as AFL, use a biased random search over the domain of program inputs, where 100s or 1000s of inputs (test cases) are executed per second in order to expose bugs. If a bug is discovered, it can either be fixed manually by the developer or fixed automatically using an Automated Program Repair (APR) tool. Like fuzzing, many existing APR tools are search-based, but over the domain of patches rather than inputs. In this paper, we propose search-based program repair as patch-level fuzzing. The basic idea is to adapt a fuzzer (AFL) to fuzz over the patch space rather than the input space. Thus we use a patch-space fuzzer to explore a patch space, while using a traditional input level fuzzer to rule out patch candidates and help in patch selection. To improve the throughput, we propose a compilation-free patch validation methodology, where we execute the original (unpatched) program natively, then selectively interpret only the specific patched statements and expressions. Since this avoids (re)compilation, we show that compilation-free patch validation can achieve a similar throughput as input-level fuzzing (100s or 1000s of execs/sec). We show that patch-level fuzzing and input-level fuzzing can be combined, for a co-exploration of both spaces in order to find better quality patches. Such a collaboration between input-level fuzzing and patch-level fuzzing is then employed to search over candidate fix locations, as well as patch candidates in each fix location.

1.Verified Scalable Parallel Computing with Why3

Authors:Olivia Proust LMV, Frédéric Loulergue LMV

Abstract: BSML is a pure functional library for the multi-paradigm language OCaml. BSML embodies the principles of the Bulk Synchronous Parallel (BSP) model, a model of scalable parallel computing. We propose a formalization of BSML primitives with WhyML, the specification language of Why3 and specify and prove the correctness of most of the BSML standard library. Finally, we develop and verify the correctness of a small BSML application.

2.Large Language Models for Education: Grading Open-Ended Questions Using ChatGPT

Authors:Gustavo Pinto, Isadora Cardoso-Pereira, Danilo Monteiro Ribeiro, Danilo Lucena, Alberto de Souza, Kiev Gama

Abstract: As a way of addressing increasingly sophisticated problems, software professionals face the constant challenge of seeking improvement. However, for these individuals to enhance their skills, their process of studying and training must involve feedback that is both immediate and accurate. In the context of software companies, where the scale of professionals undergoing training is large, but the number of qualified professionals available for providing corrections is small, delivering effective feedback becomes even more challenging. To circumvent this challenge, this work presents an exploration of using Large Language Models (LLMs) to support the correction process of open-ended questions in technical training. In this study, we utilized ChatGPT to correct open-ended questions answered by 42 industry professionals on two topics. Evaluating the corrections and feedback provided by ChatGPT, we observed that it is capable of identifying semantic details in responses that other metrics cannot observe. Furthermore, we noticed that, in general, subject matter experts tended to agree with the corrections and feedback given by ChatGPT.

3.An Empirical Study on Log-based Anomaly Detection Using Machine Learning

Authors:Shan Ali, Chaima Boufaied, Domenico Bianculli, Paula Branco, Lionel Briand, Nathan Aschbacher

Abstract: The growth of systems complexity increases the need of automated techniques dedicated to different log analysis tasks such as Log-based Anomaly Detection (LAD). The latter has been widely addressed in the literature, mostly by means of different deep learning techniques. Nevertheless, the focus on deep learning techniques results in less attention being paid to traditional Machine Learning (ML) techniques, which may perform well in many cases, depending on the context and the used datasets. Further, the evaluation of different ML techniques is mostly based on the assessment of their detection accuracy. However, this is is not enough to decide whether or not a specific ML technique is suitable to address the LAD problem. Other aspects to consider include the training and prediction time as well as the sensitivity to hyperparameter tuning. In this paper, we present a comprehensive empirical study, in which we evaluate different supervised and semi-supervised, traditional and deep ML techniques w.r.t. four evaluation criteria: detection accuracy, time performance, sensitivity of detection accuracy as well as time performance to hyperparameter tuning. The experimental results show that supervised traditional and deep ML techniques perform very closely in terms of their detection accuracy and prediction time. Moreover, the overall evaluation of the sensitivity of the detection accuracy of the different ML techniques to hyperparameter tuning shows that supervised traditional ML techniques are less sensitive to hyperparameter tuning than deep learning techniques. Further, semi-supervised techniques yield significantly worse detection accuracy than supervised techniques.

4.Towards Formal Verification of a TPM Software Stack

Authors:Yani Ziani, Nikolai Kosmatov, Frédéric Loulergue, Daniel Gracia Pérez, Téo Bernier

Abstract: The Trusted Platform Module (TPM) is a cryptoprocessor designed to protect integrity and security of modern computers. Communications with the TPM go through the TPM Software Stack (TSS), a popular implementation of which is the open-source library tpm2-tss. Vulnerabilities in its code could allow attackers to recover sensitive information and take control of the system. This paper describes a case study on formal verification of tpm2-tss using the Frama-C verification platform. Heavily based on linked lists and complex data structures, the library code appears to be highly challenging for the verification tool. We present several issues and limitations we faced, illustrate them with examples and present solutions that allowed us to verify functional properties and the absence of runtime errors for a representative subset of functions. We describe verification results and desired tool improvements necessary to achieve a full formal verification of the target code.

5.Contrastive Learning for API Aspect Analysis

Authors:G. M. Shahariar, Tahmid Hasan, Anindya Iqbal, Gias Uddin

Abstract: We present a novel approach - CLAA - for API aspect detection in API reviews that utilizes transformer models trained with a supervised contrastive loss objective function. We evaluate CLAA using performance and impact analysis. For performance analysis, we utilized a benchmark dataset on developer discussions collected from Stack Overflow and compare the results to those obtained using state-of-the-art transformer models. Our experiments show that contrastive learning can significantly improve the performance of transformer models in detecting aspects such as Performance, Security, Usability, and Documentation. For impact analysis, we performed empirical and developer study. On a randomly selected and manually labeled 200 online reviews, CLAA achieved 92% accuracy while the SOTA baseline achieved 81.5%. According to our developer study involving 10 participants, the use of 'Stack Overflow + CLAA' resulted in increased accuracy and confidence during API selection. Replication package:

1.Private-Library-Oriented Code Generation with Large Language Models

Authors:Daoguang Zan, Bei Chen, Yongshun Gong, Junzhi Cao, Fengji Zhang, Bingchao Wu, Bei Guan, Yilong Yin, Yongji Wang

Abstract: Large language models (LLMs), such as Codex and GPT-4, have recently showcased their remarkable code generation abilities, facilitating a significant boost in coding efficiency. This paper will delve into utilizing LLMs for code generation in private libraries, as they are widely employed in everyday programming. Despite their remarkable capabilities, generating such private APIs poses a formidable conundrum for LLMs, as they inherently lack exposure to these private libraries during pre-training. To address this challenge, we propose a novel framework that emulates the process of programmers writing private code. This framework comprises two modules: APIFinder first retrieves potentially useful APIs from API documentation; and APICoder then leverages these retrieved APIs to generate private code. Specifically, APIFinder employs vector retrieval techniques and allows user involvement in the retrieval process. For APICoder, it can directly utilize off-the-shelf code generation models. To further cultivate explicit proficiency in invoking APIs from prompts, we continuously pre-train a reinforced version of APICoder, named CodeGenAPI. Our goal is to train the above two modules on vast public libraries, enabling generalization to private ones. Meanwhile, we create four private library benchmarks, including TorchDataEval, TorchDataComplexEval, MonkeyEval, and BeatNumEval, and meticulously handcraft test cases for each benchmark to support comprehensive evaluations. Numerous experiments on the four benchmarks consistently affirm the effectiveness of our approach. Furthermore, deeper analysis is also conducted to glean additional insights.

2.Optimising Highly-Parallel Simulation-Based Verification of Cyber-Physical Systems

Authors:Toni Mancini, Igor Melatti, Enrico Tronci

Abstract: Cyber-Physical Systems (CPSs), comprising both software and physical components, arise in many industry-relevant domains and are often mission- or safety-critical. System-Level Verification (SLV) of CPSs aims at certifying that given (e.g., safety or liveness) specifications are met, or at estimating the value of some KPIs, when the system runs in its operational environment, i.e., in presence of inputs (from users or other systems) and/or of additional, uncontrolled disturbances. To enable SLV of complex systems from the early design phases, the currently most adopted approach envisions the simulation of a system model under the (time bounded) operational scenarios of interest. Simulation-based SLV can be computationally prohibitive (years of sequential simulation), since model simulation is computationally intensive and the set of scenarios of interest can huge. We present a technique that, given a collection of scenarios of interest (extracted from mass-storage databases or from symbolic structures, e.g., constraint-based scenario generators), computes parallel shortest simulation campaigns, which drive a possibly large number of system model simulators running in parallel in a HPC infrastructure through all (and only) those scenarios in the user-defined (possibly random) order, by wisely avoiding multiple simulations of repeated trajectories, thus minimising the overall completion time, compatibly with the available simulator memory capacity. Our experiments on Modelica/FMU and Simulink case study models with up to ~200 million scenarios show that our optimisation yields speedups as high as 8x. This, together with the enabled massive parallelisation, makes practically viable (a few weeks in a HPC infrastructure) verification tasks (both statistical and exhaustive, with respect to the given set of scenarios) which would otherwise take inconceivably long time.

3.Exploring a Test Data-Driven Method for Selecting and Constraining Metamorphic Relations

Authors:Alejandra Duque-Torres, Dietmar Pfahl, Claus Klammer, Stefan Fischer

Abstract: Identifying and selecting high-quality Metamorphic Relations (MRs) is a challenge in Metamorphic Testing (MT). While some techniques for automatically selecting MRs have been proposed, they are either domain-specific or rely on strict assumptions about the applicability of a pre-defined MRs. This paper presents a preliminary evaluation of MetaTrimmer, a method for selecting and constraining MRs based on test data. MetaTrimmer comprises three steps: generating random test data inputs for the SUT (Step 1), performing test data transformations and logging MR violations (Step 2), and conducting manual inspections to derive constraints (Step 3). The novelty of MetaTrimmer is its avoidance of complex prediction models that require labeled datasets regarding the applicability of MRs. Moreover, MetaTrimmer facilitates the seamless integration of MT with advanced fuzzing for test data generation. In a preliminary evaluation, MetaTrimmer shows the potential to overcome existing limitations and enhance MR effectiveness.

4.Towards Automatic Generation of Amplified Regression Test Oracles

Authors:Alejandra Duque-Torres, Claus Klammer, Dietmar Pfahl, Stefan Fischer, Rudolf Ramler

Abstract: Regression testing is crucial in ensuring that pure code refactoring does not adversely affect existing software functionality, but it can be expensive, accounting for half the cost of software maintenance. Automated test case generation reduces effort but may generate weak test suites. Test amplification is a promising solution that enhances tests by generating additional or improving existing ones, increasing test coverage, but it faces the test oracle problem. To address this, we propose a test oracle derivation approach that uses object state data produced during System Under Test (SUT) test execution to amplify regression test oracles. The approach monitors the object state during test execution and compares it to the previous version to detect any changes in relation to the SUT's intended behaviour. Our preliminary evaluation shows that the proposed approach can enhance the detection of behaviour changes substantially, providing initial evidence of its effectiveness.

5.Exploring Moral Principles Exhibited in OSS: A Case Study on GitHub Heated Issues

Authors:Ramtin Ehsani, Rezvaneh Rezapour, Preetha Chatterjee

Abstract: To foster collaboration and inclusivity in Open Source Software (OSS) projects, it is crucial to understand and detect patterns of toxic language that may drive contributors away, especially those from underrepresented communities. Although machine learning-based toxicity detection tools trained on domain-specific data have shown promise, their design lacks an understanding of the unique nature and triggers of toxicity in OSS discussions, highlighting the need for further investigation. In this study, we employ Moral Foundations Theory to examine the relationship between moral principles and toxicity in OSS. Specifically, we analyze toxic communications in GitHub issue threads to identify and understand five types of moral principles exhibited in text, and explore their potential association with toxic behavior. Our preliminary findings suggest a possible link between moral principles and toxic comments in OSS communications, with each moral principle associated with at least one type of toxicity. The potential of MFT in toxicity detection warrants further investigation.

6.An Introduction to Software Ecosystems

Authors:Tom Mens, Coen De Roover

Abstract: This chapter defines and presents different kinds of software ecosystems. The focus is on the development, tooling and analytics aspects of software ecosystems, i.e., communities of software developers and the interconnected software components (e.g., projects, libraries, packages, repositories, plug-ins, apps) they are developing and maintaining. The technical and social dependencies between these developers and software components form a socio-technical dependency network, and the dynamics of this network change over time. We classify and provide several examples of such ecosystems. The chapter also introduces and clarifies the relevant terms needed to understand and analyse these ecosystems, as well as the techniques and research methods that can be used to analyse different aspects of these ecosystems.

1.StubCoder: Automated Generation and Repair of Stub Code for Mock Objects

Authors:Hengcheng Zhu, Lili Wei, Valerio Terragni, Yepang Liu, Shing-Chi Cheung, Jiarong Wu, Qin Sheng, Bing Zhang, Lihong Song

Abstract: Mocking is an essential unit testing technique for isolating the class under test (CUT) from its dependencies. Developers often leverage mocking frameworks to develop stub code that specifies the behaviors of mock objects. However, developing and maintaining stub code is labor-intensive and error-prone. In this paper, we present StubCoder to automatically generate and repair stub code for regression testing. StubCoder implements a novel evolutionary algorithm that synthesizes test-passing stub code guided by the runtime behavior of test cases. We evaluated our proposed approach on 59 test cases from 13 open-source projects. Our evaluation results show that StubCoder can effectively generate stub code for incomplete test cases without stub code and repair obsolete test cases with broken stub code.

2.New Interaction Paradigm for Complex EDA Software Leveraging GPT

Authors:Boyu Han, Xinyu Wang, Yifan Wang, Junyu Yan, Yidong Tian

Abstract: In the rapidly growing field of electronic design automation (EDA), professional software such as KiCad, Cadence , and Altium Designer provide increasingly extensive design functionalities. However, the intricate command structure and high learning curve create a barrier, particularly for novice printed circuit board (PCB) designers. This results in difficulties in selecting appropriate functions or plugins for varying design purposes, compounded by the lack of intuitive learning methods beyond traditional documentation, videos, and online forums. To address this challenge, an artificial intelligence (AI) interaction assist plugin for EDA software named SmartonAl is developed here, also KiCad is taken as the first example. SmartonAI is inspired by the HuggingGPT framework and employs large language models, such as GPT and BERT, to facilitate task planning and execution. On receiving a designer request, SmartonAI conducts a task breakdown and efficiently executes relevant subtasks, such as analysis of help documentation paragraphs and execution of different plugins, along with leveraging the built-in schematic and PCB manipulation functions in both SmartonAl itself and software. Our preliminary results demonstrate that SmartonAI can significantly streamline the PCB design process by simplifying complex commands into intuitive language-based interactions. By harnessing the powerful language capabilities of ChatGPT and the rich design functions of KiCad, the plugin effectively bridges the gap between complex EDA software and user-friendly interaction. Meanwhile, the new paradigm behind SmartonAI can also extend to other complex software systems, illustrating the immense potential of AI-assisted user interfaces in advancing digital interactions across various domains.

3.Using Gameplay Videos for Detecting Issues in Video Games

Authors:Emanuela Guglielmi, Simone Scalabrino, Gabriele Bavota, Rocco Oliveto

Abstract: Context. The game industry is increasingly growing in recent years. Every day, millions of people play video games, not only as a hobby, but also for professional competitions (e.g., e-sports or speed-running) or for making business by entertaining others (e.g., streamers). The latter daily produce a large amount of gameplay videos in which they also comment live what they experience. But no software and, thus, no video game is perfect: Streamers may encounter several problems (such as bugs, glitches, or performance issues) while they play. Also, it is unlikely that they explicitly report such issues to developers. The identified problems may negatively impact the user's gaming experience and, in turn, can harm the reputation of the game and of the producer. Objective. In this paper, we propose and empirically evaluate GELID, an approach for automatically extracting relevant information from gameplay videos by (i) identifying video segments in which streamers experienced anomalies; (ii) categorizing them based on their type (e.g., logic or presentation); clustering them based on (iii) the context in which appear (e.g., level or game area) and (iv) on the specific issue type (e.g., game crashes). Method. We manually defined a training set for step 2 of GELID (categorization) and a test set for validating in isolation the four components of GELID. In total, we manually segmented, labeled, and clustered 170 videos related to 3 video games, defining a dataset containing 604 segments. Results. While in steps 1 (segmentation) and 4 (specific issue clustering) GELID achieves satisfactory results, it shows limitations on step 3 (game context clustering) and, above all, step 2 (categorization).

4.Literature Survey on how to cluster and define Living Labs, Real World Laboratories and similar research infrastructures

Authors:Troung Giang Luu, Tanja Zylowski, Sascha Alpers, Andreas Oberweis

Abstract: In today's world, where societal challenges in the areas of digitalization, demographic change and sustainability are becoming increasingly complex, new innovation structures are needed to meet these challenges. Living Labs or also Real World Laboratories prove to be such. Through their applied methods such as co-creation, they integrate users into research, making it more user-centric. Which other research infrastructures exist and how they can be differentiated is presented in this paper on the basis of a systematic literature research. Furthermore, methods for user integration are examined and provided in the form of an overview.

5.On the Suitability of Hugging Face Hub for Empirical Studies

Authors:Adem Ait, Javier Luis Cánovas Izquierdo, Jordi Cabot

Abstract: Background. The development of empirical studies in software engineering mainly relies on the data available on code hosting platforms, being GitHub the most representative. Nevertheless, in the last years, the emergence of Machine Learning (ML) has led to the development of platforms specifically designed for developing ML-based projects, being Hugging Face Hub (HFH) the most popular one. With over 250k repositories, and growing fast, HFH is becoming a promising ecosystem of ML artifacts and therefore a potential source of data for empirical studies. However, so far there have been no studies evaluating the potential of HFH for such studies. Objective. In this proposal for a registered report, we aim at performing an exploratory study of the current state of HFH in order to investigate its suitability to be used as a source platform for empirical studies. Method. We conduct a qualitative and quantitative analysis of HFH for empirical studies. The former will be performed by comparing the features of HFH with those of other code hosting platforms, such as GitHub and GitLab. The latter will be performed by analyzing the data available in HFH.

6.CodeLens: An Interactive Tool for Visualizing Code Representations

Authors:Yuejun Guo, Seifeddine Bettaieb, Qiang Hu, Yves Le Traon, Qiang Tang

Abstract: Representing source code in a generic input format is crucial to automate software engineering tasks, e.g., applying machine learning algorithms to extract information. Visualizing code representations can further enable human experts to gain an intuitive insight into the code. Unfortunately, as of today, there is no universal tool that can simultaneously visualise different types of code representations. In this paper, we introduce a tool, CodeLens, which provides a visual interaction environment that supports various representation methods and helps developers understand and explore them. CodeLens is designed to support multiple programming languages, such as Java, Python, and JavaScript, and four types of code representations, including sequence of tokens, abstract syntax tree (AST), data flow graph (DFG), and control flow graph (CFG). By using CodeLens, developers can quickly visualize the specific code representation and also obtain the represented inputs for models of code. The Web-based interface of CodeLens is available at The demonstration video can be found at

7.Multilingual Code Co-Evolution Using Large Language Models

Authors:Jiyang Zhang, Pengyu Nie, Junyi Jessy Li, Milos Gligoric

Abstract: Many software projects implement APIs and algorithms in multiple programming languages. Maintaining such projects is tiresome, as developers have to ensure that any change (e.g., a bug fix or a new feature) is being propagated, timely and without errors, to implementations in other programming languages. In the world of ever-changing software, using rule-based translation tools (i.e., transpilers) or machine learning models for translating code from one language to another provides limited value. Translating each time the entire codebase from one language to another is not the way developers work. In this paper, we target a novel task: translating code changes from one programming language to another using large language models (LLMs). We design and implement the first LLM, dubbed Codeditor, to tackle this task. Codeditor explicitly models code changes as edit sequences and learns to correlate changes across programming languages. To evaluate Codeditor, we collect a corpus of 6,613 aligned code changes from 8 pairs of open-source software projects implementing similar functionalities in two programming languages (Java and C#). Results show that Codeditor outperforms the state-of-the-art approaches by a large margin on all commonly used automatic metrics. Our work also reveals that Codeditor is complementary to the existing generation-based models, and their combination ensures even greater performance.

1.Mining Reddit Data to Elicit Students' Requirements During COVID-19 Pandemic

Authors:Shadikur Rahman, Faiz Ahmed, Maleknaz Nayebi

Abstract: Data-driven requirements engineering leverages the abundance of openly accessible and crowdsourced information on the web. By incorporating user feedback provided about a software product, such as reviews in mobile app stores, these approaches facilitate the identification of issues, bug fixes, and implementation of change requests. However, relying solely on user feedback about a software product limits the possibility of eliciting all requirements, as users may not always have a clear understanding of their exact needs from the software, despite their wealth of experience with the problem, event, or challenges they encounter and use the software to assist them. In this study, we propose a shift in requirements elicitation, focusing on gathering feedback related to the problem itself rather than relying solely on feedback about the software product. We conducted a case study on student requirements during the COVID-19 pandemic in a higher education institution. We gathered their communications from Reddit during the pandemic and employed multiple machine-learning and natural language processing techniques to identify requirement sentences. We achieved the F-score of 0.79 using Naive Bayes with TF-IDF when benchmarking multiple techniques. The results lead us to believe that mining requirements from communication about a problem are feasible. While we present the preliminary results, we envision a future where these requirements complement conventionally elicited requirements and help to close the requirements gap.

2.Sources of Opacity in Computer Systems: Towards a Comprehensive Taxonomy

Authors:Sara Mann, Barnaby Crook, Lena Kästner, Astrid Schomäcker, Timo Speith

Abstract: Modern computer systems are ubiquitous in contemporary life yet many of them remain opaque. This poses significant challenges in domains where desiderata such as fairness or accountability are crucial. We suggest that the best strategy for achieving system transparency varies depending on the specific source of opacity prevalent in a given context. Synthesizing and extending existing discussions, we propose a taxonomy consisting of eight sources of opacity that fall into three main categories: architectural, analytical, and socio-technical. For each source, we provide initial suggestions as to how to address the resulting opacity in practice. The taxonomy provides a starting point for requirements engineers and other practitioners to understand contextually prevalent sources of opacity, and to select or develop appropriate strategies for overcoming them.

1.Predicting Code Coverage without Execution

Authors:Michele Tufano, Shubham Chandel, Anisha Agarwal, Neel Sundaresan, Colin Clement

Abstract: Code coverage is a widely used metric for quantifying the extent to which program elements, such as statements or branches, are executed during testing. Calculating code coverage is resource-intensive, requiring code building and execution with additional overhead for the instrumentation. Furthermore, computing coverage of any snippet of code requires the whole program context. Using Machine Learning to amortize this expensive process could lower the cost of code coverage by requiring only the source code context, and the task of code coverage prediction can be a novel benchmark for judging the ability of models to understand code. We propose a novel benchmark task called Code Coverage Prediction for Large Language Models (LLMs). We formalize this task to evaluate the capability of LLMs in understanding code execution by determining which lines of a method are executed by a given test case and inputs. We curate and release a dataset we call COVERAGEEVAL by executing tests and code from the HumanEval dataset and collecting code coverage information. We report the performance of four state-of-the-art LLMs used for code-related tasks, including OpenAI's GPT-4 and GPT-3.5-Turbo, Google's BARD, and Anthropic's Claude, on the Code Coverage Prediction task. Finally, we argue that code coverage as a metric and pre-training data source are valuable for overall LLM performance on software engineering tasks.

2.BotHawk: An Approach for Bots Detection in Open Source Software Projects

Authors:Fenglin Bi, Zhiwei Zhu, Wei Wang, Xiaoya Xia, Hassan Ali Khan, Peng Pu

Abstract: Social coding platforms have revolutionized collaboration in software development, leading to using software bots for streamlining operations. However, The presence of open-source software (OSS) bots gives rise to problems including impersonation, spamming, bias, and security risks. Identifying bot accounts and behavior is a challenging task in the OSS project. This research aims to investigate bots' behavior in open-source software projects and identify bot accounts with maximum possible accuracy. Our team gathered a dataset of 19,779 accounts that meet standardized criteria to enable future research on bots in open-source projects. We follow a rigorous workflow to ensure that the data we collect is accurate, generalizable, scalable, and up-to-date. We've identified four types of bot accounts in open-source software projects by analyzing their behavior across 17 features in 5 dimensions. Our team created BotHawk, a highly effective model for detecting bots in open-source software projects. It outperforms other models, achieving an AUC of 0.947 and an F1-score of 0.89. BotHawk can detect a wider variety of bots, including CI/CD and scanning bots. Furthermore, we find that the number of followers, number of repositories, and tags contain the most relevant features to identify the account type.

1.Refining ChatGPT-Generated Code: Characterizing and Mitigating Code Quality Issues

Authors:Yue Liu, Thanh Le-Cong, Ratnadira Widyasari, Chakkrit Tantithamthavorn, Li Li, Xuan-Bach D. Le, David Lo

Abstract: In this paper, we systematically study the quality of 4,066 ChatGPT-generated code implemented in two popular programming languages, i.e., Java and Python, for 2,033 programming tasks. The goal of this work is three folds. First, we analyze the correctness of ChatGPT on code generation tasks and uncover the factors that influence its effectiveness, including task difficulty, programming language, time that tasks are introduced, and program size. Second, we identify and characterize potential issues with the quality of ChatGPT-generated code. Last, we provide insights into how these issues can be mitigated. Experiments highlight that out of 4,066 programs generated by ChatGPT, 2,757 programs are deemed correct, 1,081 programs provide wrong outputs, and 177 programs contain compilation or runtime errors. Additionally, we further analyze other characteristics of the generated code through static analysis tools, such as code style and maintainability, and find that 1,933 ChatGPT-generated code snippets suffer from maintainability issues. Subsequently, we investigate ChatGPT's self-debugging ability and its interaction with static analysis tools to fix the errors uncovered in the previous step. Experiments suggest that ChatGPT can partially address these challenges, improving code quality by more than 20%, but there are still limitations and opportunities for improvement. Overall, our study provides valuable insights into the current limitations of ChatGPT and offers a roadmap for future research and development efforts to enhance the code generation capabilities of AI models like ChatGPT.

2.A Dataset of Android Libraries

Authors:Jordan Samhi, Marco Alecci, Tegawendé F. Bissyandé, Jacques Klein

Abstract: Android app developers extensively employ code reuse, integrating many third-party libraries into their apps. While such integration is practical for developers, it can be challenging for static analyzers to achieve scalability and precision when such libraries can account for a large part of the app code. As a direct consequence, when a static analysis is performed, it is common practice in the literature to only consider developer code --with the assumption that the sought issues are in developer code rather than in the libraries. However, analysts need to precisely distinguish between library code and developer code in Android apps to ensure the effectiveness of static analysis. Currently, many static analysis approaches rely on white lists of libraries. However, these white lists are unreliable, as they are inaccurate and largely non-comprehensive. In this paper, we propose a new approach to address the lack of comprehensive and automated solutions for the production of accurate and "always up to date" sets of third-party libraries. First, we demonstrate the continued need for a white list of third-party libraries. Second, we propose an automated approach to produce an accurate and up-to-date set of third-party libraries in the form of a dataset called AndroLibZoo. Our dataset, which we make available to the research community, contains to date 20 162 libraries and is meant to evolve. Third, we illustrate the significance of using AndroLibZoo to filter libraries in recent apps. Fourth, we demonstrate that AndroLibZoo is more suitable than the current state-of-the-art list for improved static analysis. Finally, we show how the use of AndroLibZoo can enhance the performance of existing Android app static analyzers.

3.Improving Students With Rubric-Based Self-Assessment and Oral Feedback

Authors:Sebastian Barney, Mahvish Khurum, Kai Petersen, Michael Unterkalmsteiner, Ronald Jabangwe

Abstract: Rubrics and oral feedback are approaches to help students improve performance and meet learning outcomes. However, their effect on the actual improvement achieved is inconclusive. This paper evaluates the effect of rubrics and oral feedback on student learning outcomes. An experiment was conducted in a software engineering course on requirements engineering, using the two approaches in course assignments. Both approaches led to statistically significant improvements, though no material improvement (i.e., a change by more than one grade) was achieved. The rubrics led to a significant decrease in the number of complaints and questions regarding grades.

1.Wanted: standards for automatic reproducibility of computational experiments

Authors:Samuel Grayson, Reed Milewicz, Joshua Teves, Daniel S. Katz, Darko Marinov

Abstract: Those seeking to reproduce a computational experiment often need to manually look at the code to see how to build necessary libraries, configure parameters, find data, and invoke the experiment; it is not automatic. Automatic reproducibility is a more stringent goal, but working towards it would benefit the community. This work discusses a machine-readable language for specifying how to execute a computational experiment. We invite interested stakeholders to discuss this language at .

2.Exploring Technical Debt in Security Questions on Stack Overflow

Authors:Joshua Aldrich Edbert, Sahrima Jannat Oishwee, Shubhashis Karmakar, Zadia Codabux, Roberto Verdecchia

Abstract: Background: Software security is crucial to ensure that the users are protected from undesirable consequences such as malware attacks which can result in loss of data and, subsequently, financial loss. Technical Debt (TD) is a metaphor incurred by suboptimal decisions resulting in long-term consequences such as increased defects and vulnerabilities if not managed. Although previous studies have studied the relationship between security and TD, examining their intersection in developers' discussion on Stack Overflow (SO) is still unexplored. Aims: This study investigates the characteristics of security-related TD questions on SO. More specifically, we explore the prevalence of TD in security-related queries, identify the security tags most prone to TD, and investigate which user groups are more aware of TD. Method: We mined 117,233 security-related questions on SO and used a deep-learning approach to identify 45,078 security-related TD questions. Subsequently, we conducted quantitative and qualitative analyses of the collected security-related TD questions, including sentiment analysis. Results: Our analysis revealed that 38% of the security questions on SO are security-related TD questions. The most recurrent tags among the security-related TD questions emerged as "security" and "encryption." The latter typically have a neutral sentiment, are lengthier, and are posed by users with higher reputation scores. Conclusions: Our findings reveal that developers implicitly discuss TD, suggesting developers have a potential knowledge gap regarding the TD metaphor in the security domain. Moreover, we identified the most common security topics mentioned in TD-related posts, providing valuable insights for developers and researchers to assist developers in prioritizing security concerns in order to minimize TD and enhance software security.

3.Software engineering to sustain a high-performance computing scientific application: QMCPACK

Authors:William F. Godoy, Steven E. Hahn, Michael M. Walsh, Philip W. Fackler, Jaron T. Krogel, Peter W. Doak, Paul R. C. Kent, Alfredo A. Correa, Ye Luo, Mark Dewing

Abstract: We provide an overview of the software engineering efforts and their impact in QMCPACK, a production-level ab-initio Quantum Monte Carlo open-source code targeting high-performance computing (HPC) systems. Aspects included are: (i) strategic expansion of continuous integration (CI) targeting CPUs, using GitHub Actions runners, and NVIDIA and AMD GPUs in pre-exascale systems, using self-hosted hardware; (ii) incremental reduction of memory leaks using sanitizers, (iii) incorporation of Docker containers for CI and reproducibility, and (iv) refactoring efforts to improve maintainability, testing coverage, and memory lifetime management. We quantify the value of these improvements by providing metrics to illustrate the shift towards a predictive, rather than reactive, sustainable maintenance approach. Our goal, in documenting the impact of these efforts on QMCPACK, is to contribute to the body of knowledge on the importance of research software engineering (RSE) for the sustainability of community HPC codes and scientific discovery at scale.

4.Towards a TDD maturity model through an anti-patterns framework

Authors:Matheus Marabesi, Francisco Jose Garcia-Penalvo, Alicia Garcia-Holgado

Abstract: Agile software development has been adopted in the industry to quickly react to business change. Since its inception both academia and industry debate the different shades that agile processes and technical practices play in the day-to-day of students and professional developers. Efforts have been made to understand the pros and cons of the Test Driven Development (TDD) practice to develop software as part of a professional environment. Despite the effort of practitioners to list the TDD anti-patterns that unveil undesired effects in the code when practicing TDD, work is needed to understand the causes that lead to that. In that sense, this paper proposes a research project that explores the TDD anti-patterns context and what leads practitioners to face them in the software development context. As a result, we expect to offer a TDD maturity framework to help practitioners in the process of writing code guided by tests and prevent the addition of anti-patterns

5.Feature Map Testing for Deep Neural Networks

Authors:Dong Huang, Qingwen Bu, Yahao Qing, Yichao Fu, Heming Cui

Abstract: Due to the widespread application of deep neural networks~(DNNs) in safety-critical tasks, deep learning testing has drawn increasing attention. During the testing process, test cases that have been fuzzed or selected using test metrics are fed into the model to find fault-inducing test units (e.g., neurons and feature maps, activating which will almost certainly result in a model error) and report them to the DNN developer, who subsequently repair them~(e.g., retraining the model with test cases). Current test metrics, however, are primarily concerned with the neurons, which means that test cases that are discovered either by guided fuzzing or selection with these metrics focus on detecting fault-inducing neurons while failing to detect fault-inducing feature maps. In this work, we propose DeepFeature, which tests DNNs from the feature map level. When testing is conducted, DeepFeature will scrutinize every internal feature map in the model and identify vulnerabilities that can be enhanced through repairing to increase the model's overall performance. Exhaustive experiments are conducted to demonstrate that (1) DeepFeature is a strong tool for detecting the model's vulnerable feature maps; (2) DeepFeature's test case selection has a high fault detection rate and can detect more types of faults~(comparing DeepFeature to coverage-guided selection techniques, the fault detection rate is increased by 49.32\%). (3) DeepFeature's fuzzer also outperforms current fuzzing techniques and generates valuable test cases more efficiently.

1.Boundary State Generation for Testing and Improvement of Autonomous Driving Systems

Authors:Matteo Biagiola, Paolo Tonella

Abstract: Recent advances in Deep Neural Networks (DNNs) and sensor technologies are enabling autonomous driving systems (ADSs) with an ever-increasing level of autonomy. However, assessing their dependability remains a critical concern. State-of-the-art ADS testing approaches modify the controllable attributes of a simulated driving environment until the ADS misbehaves. Such approaches have two main drawbacks: (1) modifications to the simulated environment might not be easily transferable to the in-field test setting (e.g., changing the road shape); (2) environment instances in which the ADS is successful are discarded, despite the possibility that they could contain hidden driving conditions in which the ADS may misbehave. In this paper, we present GenBo (GENerator of BOundary state pairs), a novel test generator for ADS testing. GenBo mutates the driving conditions of the ego vehicle (position, velocity and orientation), collected in a failure-free environment instance, and efficiently generates challenging driving conditions at the behavior boundary (i.e., where the model starts to misbehave) in the same environment. We use such boundary conditions to augment the initial training dataset and retrain the DNN model under test. Our evaluation results show that the retrained model has up to 16 higher success rate on a separate set of evaluation tracks with respect to the original DNN model.

2.Pluvio: Assembly Clone Search for Out-of-domain Architectures and Libraries through Transfer Learning and Conditional Variational Information Bottleneck

Authors:Zhiwei Fu, Steven H. H. Ding, Furkan Alaca, Benjamin C. M. Fung, Philippe Charland

Abstract: The practice of code reuse is crucial in software development for a faster and more efficient development lifecycle. In reality, however, code reuse practices lack proper control, resulting in issues such as vulnerability propagation and intellectual property infringements. Assembly clone search, a critical shift-right defence mechanism, has been effective in identifying vulnerable code resulting from reuse in released executables. Recent studies on assembly clone search demonstrate a trend towards using machine learning-based methods to match assembly code variants produced by different toolchains. However, these methods are limited to what they learn from a small number of toolchain variants used in training, rendering them inapplicable to unseen architectures and their corresponding compilation toolchain variants. This paper presents the first study on the problem of assembly clone search with unseen architectures and libraries. We propose incorporating human common knowledge through large-scale pre-trained natural language models, in the form of transfer learning, into current learning-based approaches for assembly clone search. Transfer learning can aid in addressing the limitations of the existing approaches, as it can bring in broader knowledge from human experts in assembly code. We further address the sequence limit issue by proposing a reinforcement learning agent to remove unnecessary and redundant tokens. Coupled with a new Variational Information Bottleneck learning strategy, the proposed system minimizes the reliance on potential indicators of architectures and optimization settings, for a better generalization of unseen architectures. We simulate the unseen architecture clone search scenarios and the experimental results show the effectiveness of the proposed approach against the state-of-the-art solutions.

3.Assessing the Use of AutoML for Data-Driven Software Engineering

Authors:Fabio Calefato, Luigi Quaranta, Filippo Lanubile, Marcos Kalinowski

Abstract: Background. Due to the widespread adoption of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) for building software applications, companies are struggling to recruit employees with a deep understanding of such technologies. In this scenario, AutoML is soaring as a promising solution to fill the AI/ML skills gap since it promises to automate the building of end-to-end AI/ML pipelines that would normally be engineered by specialized team members. Aims. Despite the growing interest and high expectations, there is a dearth of information about the extent to which AutoML is currently adopted by teams developing AI/ML-enabled systems and how it is perceived by practitioners and researchers. Method. To fill these gaps, in this paper, we present a mixed-method study comprising a benchmark of 12 end-to-end AutoML tools on two SE datasets and a user survey with follow-up interviews to further our understanding of AutoML adoption and perception. Results. We found that AutoML solutions can generate models that outperform those trained and optimized by researchers to perform classification tasks in the SE domain. Also, our findings show that the currently available AutoML solutions do not live up to their names as they do not equally support automation across the stages of the ML development workflow and for all the team members. Conclusions. We derive insights to inform the SE research community on how AutoML can facilitate their activities and tool builders on how to design the next generation of AutoML technologies.

4.Addressing Compiler Errors: Stack Overflow or Large Language Models?

Authors:Patricia Widjojo, Christoph Treude

Abstract: Compiler error messages serve as an initial resource for programmers dealing with compilation errors. However, previous studies indicate that they often lack sufficient targeted information to resolve code issues. Consequently, programmers typically rely on their own research to fix errors. Historically, Stack Overflow has been the primary resource for such information, but recent advances in large language models offer alternatives. This study systematically examines 100 compiler error messages from three sources to determine the most effective approach for programmers encountering compiler errors. Factors considered include Stack Overflow search methods and the impact of model version and prompt phrasing when using large language models. The results reveal that GPT-4 outperforms Stack Overflow in explaining compiler error messages, the effectiveness of adding code snippets to Stack Overflow searches depends on the search method, and results for Stack Overflow differ significantly between Google and StackExchange API searches. Furthermore, GPT-4 surpasses GPT-3.5, with "How to fix" prompts yielding superior outcomes to "What does this error mean" prompts. These results offer valuable guidance for programmers seeking assistance with compiler error messages, underscoring the transformative potential of advanced large language models like GPT-4 in debugging and opening new avenues of exploration for researchers in AI-assisted programming.

5.PHYFU: Fuzzing Modern Physics Simulation Engines

Authors:Dongwei Xiao, Zhibo Liu, Shuai Wang

Abstract: A physical simulation engine (PSE) is a software system that simulates physical environments and objects. Modern PSEs feature both forward and backward simulations, where the forward phase predicts the behavior of a simulated system, and the backward phase provides gradients (guidance) for learning-based control tasks, such as a robot arm learning to fetch items. This way, modern PSEs show promising support for learning-based control methods. To date, PSEs have been largely used in various high-profitable, commercial applications, such as games, movies, virtual reality (VR), and robotics. Despite the prosperous development and usage of PSEs by academia and industrial manufacturers such as Google and NVIDIA, PSEs may produce incorrect simulations, which may lead to negative results, from poor user experience in entertainment to accidents in robotics-involved manufacturing and surgical operations. This paper introduces PHYFU, a fuzzing framework designed specifically for PSEs to uncover errors in both forward and backward simulation phases. PHYFU mutates initial states and asserts if the PSE under test behaves consistently with respect to basic Physics Laws (PLs). We further use feedback-driven test input scheduling to guide and accelerate the search for errors. Our study of four PSEs covers mainstream industrial vendors (Google and NVIDIA) as well as academic products. We successfully uncover over 5K error-triggering inputs that generate incorrect simulation results spanning across the whole software stack of PSEs.

6.Software Product Line Engineering via Software Transplantation

Authors:Leandro O. Souza, Earl T. Barr, Justyna Petke, Eduardo S. Almeida, Paulo Anselmo M. S. Neto

Abstract: For companies producing related products, a Software Product Line (SPL) is a software reuse method that improves time-to-market and software quality, achieving substantial cost reductions.These benefits do not come for free. It often takes years to re-architect and re-engineer a codebase to support SPL and, once adopted, it must be maintained. Current SPL practice relies on a collection of tools, tailored for different reengineering phases, whose output developers must coordinate and integrate. We present Foundry, a general automated approach for leveraging software transplantation to speed conversion to and maintenance of SPL. Foundry facilitates feature extraction and migration. It can efficiently, repeatedly, transplant a sequence of features, implemented in multiple files. We used Foundry to create two valid product lines that integrate features from three real-world systems in an automated way. Moreover, we conducted an experiment comparing Foundry's feature migration with manual effort. We show that Foundry automatically migrated features across codebases 4.8 times faster, on average, than the average time a group of SPL experts took to accomplish the task.

7.Empirical Evaluation of a Live Environment for Extract Method Refactoring

Authors:Sara Fernandes, Ademar Aguiar, André Restivo

Abstract: Complex software can be hard to read, adapt, and maintain. Refactoring it can create cleaner and self-explanatory code. Refactoring tools try to guide developers towards better code, with more quality. However, most of them take too long to provide feedback, support, and guidance on how developers should improve their software. To reduce this problem, we explored the concept of Live Refactoring, focusing on visually suggesting and applying refactorings, in real-time. With this in mind, we developed a Live Refactoring Environment that visually identifies, recommends, and applies Extract Method refactorings. To validate it, we conducted an empirical experiment. Early results showed that our approach improved several code quality metrics. Besides, we also concluded that our results were significantly different and better than the ones from refactoring the code manually without further help.

8.The Changing Role of RSEs over the Lifetime of Parsl

Authors:Daniel S. Katz, Ben Clifford, Yadu Babuji, Kevin Hunter Kesling, Anna Woodard, Kyle Chard

Abstract: This position paper describes the Parsl open source research software project and its various phases over seven years. It defines four types of research software engineers (RSEs) who have been important to the project in those phases; we believe this is also applicable to other research software projects.

1.Are We Ready to Embrace Generative AI for Software Q&A?

Authors:Bowen Xu, Thanh-Dat Nguyen, Thanh Le-Cong, Thong Hoang, Jiakun Liu, Kisub Kim, Chen Gong, Changan Niu, Chenyu Wang, Bach Le, David Lo

Abstract: Stack Overflow, the world's largest software Q&A (SQA) website, is facing a significant traffic drop due to the emergence of generative AI techniques. ChatGPT is banned by Stack Overflow after only 6 days from its release. The main reason provided by the official Stack Overflow is that the answers generated by ChatGPT are of low quality. To verify this, we conduct a comparative evaluation of human-written and ChatGPT-generated answers. Our methodology employs both automatic comparison and a manual study. Our results suggest that human-written and ChatGPT-generated answers are semantically similar, however, human-written answers outperform ChatGPT-generated ones consistently across multiple aspects, specifically by 10% on the overall score. We release the data, analysis scripts, and detailed results at

2.Prompting for Automatic Log Template Extraction

Authors:Junjielong Xu, Ruichun Yang, Yintong Huo, Chengyu Zhang, Pinjia He

Abstract: Log parsing, the initial and vital stage in automated log analysis, involves extracting log templates from semi-structured logs to generate structured logs. Nonetheless, current log parsers are limited in effectiveness due to two primary reasons. Firstly, traditional data-driven log parsers heavily rely on heuristics or manually crafted features provided by domain experts, which may not consistently yield optimal performance when applied to diverse log systems. Secondly, existing deep learning-based log parsers necessitate model tuning, which is typically confined to training samples and leads to suboptimal performance across the entire log source. To overcome these limitations, we propose a precise log parsing framework named LogDiv, which leverages the in-context inference capability of large language models. Specifically, LogDiv extracts the hidden semantics from multiple log examples through prompt demonstrations. Without the need for model tuning, LogDiv can directly generate a log template for the target log message by leveraging the semantics provided in the prompt context. Additionally, we introduce a simple yet effective prompt format for extracting the output and enhancing the quality of the generated log templates. To validate the performance of LogDiv, we conducted experiments using 16 widely-used public datasets. The results show that LogDiv achieves state-of-the-art performance with an average parsing accuracy of 97.7%, precision template accuracy of 88.1%, and recall template accuracy of 90.8%.

3.Towards green AI-based software systems: an architecture-centric approach (GAISSA)

Authors:Silverio Martínez-Fernández, Xavier Franch, Francisco Durán

Abstract: Nowadays, AI-based systems have achieved outstanding results and have outperformed humans in different domains. However, the processes of training AI models and inferring from them require high computational resources, which pose a significant challenge in the current energy efficiency societal demand. To cope with this challenge, this research project paper describes the main vision, goals, and expected outcomes of the GAISSA project. The GAISSA project aims at providing data scientists and software engineers tool-supported, architecture-centric methods for the modelling and development of green AI-based systems. Although the project is in an initial stage, we describe the current research results, which illustrate the potential to achieve GAISSA objectives.

1.An Empirical Study on the Effectiveness of Noisy Label Learning for Program Understanding

Authors:Wenhan Wang, Yanzhou Li, Anran Li, Jian Zhang, Wei Ma, Yang Liu

Abstract: Recently, deep learning models have been widely applied in program understanding tasks, and these models achieve state-of-the-art results on many benchmark datasets. A major challenge of deep learning for program understanding is that the effectiveness of these approaches depends on the quality of their datasets, and these datasets often contain noisy data samples. A typical kind of noise in program understanding datasets is label noises, which means that the target outputs for some inputs are mislabeled. Label noises may have a negative impact on the performance of deep learning models, so researchers have proposed various approaches to alleviate the impact of noisy labels, and formed a new research topic: noisy label learning (NLL). In this paper, we conduct an empirical study on the effectiveness of noisy label learning on deep learning for program understanding datasets. We evaluate various noisy label learning approaches and deep learning models on two tasks: program classification and code summarization. From the evaluation results, we find that the impact of label noise and NLL approaches on small deep learning models and large pre-trained models are different: small models are prone to label noises in program classification and NLL approaches can improve their robustness, while large pre-trained models are robust against label noises and NLL does not significantly improve their performances. On the other hand, NLL approaches have shown satisfying results in identifying noisy labeled samples for both tasks, indicating that these techniques can benefit researchers in building high-quality program understanding datasets.

2.Crème de la Crem: Composable Representable Executable Machines (Architectural Pearl)

Authors:Marco Perone, Georgios Karachalias

Abstract: In this paper we describe how to build software architectures as a composition of state machines, using ideas and principles from the field of Domain-Driven Design. By definition, our approach is modular, allowing one to compose independent subcomponents to create bigger systems, and representable, allowing the implementation of a system to be kept in sync with its graphical representation. In addition to the design itself we introduce the Crem library, which provides a concrete state machine implementation that is both compositional and representable, Crem uses Haskell's advanced type-level features to allow users to specify allowed and forbidden state transitions, and to encode complex state machine -- and therefore domain-specific -- properties. Moreover, since Crem's state machines are representable, Crem can automatically generate graphical representations of systems from their domain implementations.

3.Rule-based Graph Repair using Minimally Restricted Consistency-Improving Transformations

Authors:Alexander Lauer

Abstract: Model-driven software engineering is a suitable method for dealing with the ever-increasing complexity of software development processes. Graphs and graph transformations have proven useful for representing such models and changes to them. These models must satisfy certain sets of constraints. An example are the multiplicities of a class structure. During the development process, a change to a model may result in an inconsistent model that must at some point be repaired. This problem is called model repair. In particular, we will consider rule-based graph repair which is defined as follows: Given a graph $G$, a constraint $c$ such that $G$ does not satisfy $c$, and a set of rules $R$, use the rules of $\mathcal{R}$ to transform $G$ into a graph that satisfies $c$. Known notions of consistency have either viewed consistency as a binary property, either a graph is consistent w.r.t. a constraint $c$ or not, or only viewed the number of violations of the first graph of a constraint. In this thesis, we introduce new notions of consistency, which we call consistency-maintaining and consistency-increasing transformations and rules, respectively. This is based on the possibility that a constraint can be satisfied up to a certain nesting level. We present constructions for direct consistency-maintaining or direct consistency-increasing application conditions, respectively. Finally, we present an rule-based graph repair approach that is able to repair so-called \emph{circular conflict-free constraints}, and so-called circular conflict-free sets of constraints. Intuitively, a set of constraint $C$ is circular conflict free, if there is an ordering $c_1, \ldots, c_n$ of all constraints of $C$ such that there is no $j <i$ such that a repair of $c_i$ at all graphs satisfying $c_j$ leads to a graph not satisfying $c_j$.

4.Generative Type Inference for Python

Authors:Yun Peng, Chaozheng Wang, Wenxuan Wang, Cuiyun Gao, Michael R. Lyu

Abstract: Python is a popular dynamic programming language, evidenced by its ranking as the second most commonly used language on GitHub. However, its dynamic type system can lead to potential type errors, leading researchers to explore automatic type inference approaches for Python programs. The rule-based type inference approaches can ensure the accuracy of predicted variable types, but they suffer from low coverage problems. Supervised type inference approaches, while feature-agnostic, require large, high-quality annotated datasets and are limited to pre-defined types. As zero-shot approaches, the cloze-style approaches reformulate the type inference problem into a fill-in-the-blank problem. However, their performance is limited. This paper introduces TypeGen, a few-shot generative type inference approach that incorporates static domain knowledge from static analysis. TypeGen creates chain-of-thought (COT) prompts by translating the type inference steps of static analysis into prompts based on the type dependency graphs (TDGs), enabling language models to learn from how static analysis infers types. By combining COT prompts with code slices and type hints, TypeGen constructs example prompts from human annotations. TypeGen only requires very few annotated examples to teach language models to generate similar COT prompts via in-context learning. Moreover, TypeGen enhances the interpretability of results through the use of the input-explanation-output strategy. Experiments show that TypeGen outperforms the best baseline Type4Py by 10.0% for argument type prediction and 22.5% in return value type prediction in terms of top-1 Exact Match by using only five examples. Furthermore, TypeGen achieves substantial improvements of 27% to 84% compared to the zero-shot performance of large language models with parameter sizes ranging from 1.3B to 175B in terms of top-1 Exact Match.

5.Need-driven decision-making and prototyping for DLT: Framework and web-based tool

Authors:Tomas Bueno Momčilović, Matthias Buchinger, Dian Balta

Abstract: In its 14 years, distributed ledger technology has attracted increasing attention, investments, enthusiasm, and user base. However, ongoing doubts about its usefulness and recent losses of trust in prominent cryptocurrencies have fueled deeply skeptical assessments. Multiple groups attempted to disentangle the technology from the associated hype and controversy by building workflows for rapid prototyping and informed decision-making, but their mostly isolated work leaves users only with fewer unclarities. To bridge the gaps between these contributions, we develop a holistic analytical framework and open-source web tool for making evidence-based decisions. Consisting of three stages - evaluation, elicitation, and design - the framework relies on input from the users' domain knowledge, maps their choices, and provides an output of needed technology bundles. We apply it to an example clinical use case to clarify the directions of our contribution charts for prototyping, hopefully driving the conversation towards ways to enhance further tools and approaches.

6.CertPri: Certifiable Prioritization for Deep Neural Networks via Movement Cost in Feature Space

Authors:Haibin Zheng, Jinyin Chen, Haibo Jin

Abstract: Deep neural networks (DNNs) have demonstrated their outperformance in various software systems, but also exhibit misbehavior and even result in irreversible disasters. Therefore, it is crucial to identify the misbehavior of DNN-based software and improve DNNs' quality. Test input prioritization is one of the most appealing ways to guarantee DNNs' quality, which prioritizes test inputs so that more bug-revealing inputs can be identified earlier with limited time and manual labeling efforts. However, the existing prioritization methods are still limited from three aspects: certifiability, effectiveness, and generalizability. To overcome the challenges, we propose CertPri, a test input prioritization technique designed based on a movement cost perspective of test inputs in DNNs' feature space. CertPri differs from previous works in three key aspects: (1) certifiable: it provides a formal robustness guarantee for the movement cost; (2) effective: it leverages formally guaranteed movement costs to identify malicious bug-revealing inputs; and (3) generic: it can be applied to various tasks, data, models, and scenarios. Extensive evaluations across 2 tasks (i.e., classification and regression), 6 data forms, 4 model structures, and 2 scenarios (i.e., white-box and black-box) demonstrate CertPri's superior performance. For instance, it significantly improves 53.97% prioritization effectiveness on average compared with baselines. Its robustness and generalizability are 1.41~2.00 times and 1.33~3.39 times that of baselines on average, respectively.

7.Is this Snippet Written by ChatGPT? An Empirical Study with a CodeBERT-Based Classifier

Authors:Phuong T. Nguyen, Juri Di Rocco, Claudio Di Sipio, Riccardo Rubei, Davide Di Ruscio, Massimiliano Di Penta

Abstract: Since its launch in November 2022, ChatGPT has gained popularity among users, especially programmers who use it as a tool to solve development problems. However, while offering a practical solution to programming problems, ChatGPT should be mainly used as a supporting tool (e.g., in software education) rather than as a replacement for the human being. Thus, detecting automatically generated source code by ChatGPT is necessary, and tools for identifying AI-generated content may need to be adapted to work effectively with source code. This paper presents an empirical study to investigate the feasibility of automated identification of AI-generated code snippets, and the factors that influence this ability. To this end, we propose a novel approach called GPTSniffer, which builds on top of CodeBERT to detect source code written by AI. The results show that GPTSniffer can accurately classify whether code is human-written or AI-generated, and outperforms two baselines, GPTZero and OpenAI Text Classifier. Also, the study shows how similar training data or a classification context with paired snippets helps to boost classification performances.

1.Extending the Frontier of ChatGPT: Code Generation and Debugging

Authors:Fardin Ahsan Sakib, Saadat Hasan Khan, A. H. M. Rezaul Karim

Abstract: Large-scale language models (LLMs) have emerged as a groundbreaking innovation in the realm of question-answering and conversational agents. These models, leveraging different deep learning architectures such as Transformers, are trained on vast corpora to predict sentences based on given queries. Among these LLMs, ChatGPT, developed by OpenAI, has ushered in a new era by utilizing artificial intelligence (AI) to tackle diverse problem domains, ranging from composing essays and biographies to solving intricate mathematical integrals. The versatile applications enabled by ChatGPT offer immense value to users. However, assessing the performance of ChatGPT's output poses a challenge, particularly in scenarios where queries lack clear objective criteria for correctness. For instance, evaluating the quality of generated essays becomes arduous and relies heavily on manual labor, in stark contrast to evaluating solutions to well-defined, closed-ended questions such as mathematical problems. This research paper delves into the efficacy of ChatGPT in solving programming problems, examining both the correctness and the efficiency of its solution in terms of time and memory complexity. The research reveals a commendable overall success rate of 71.875\%, denoting the proportion of problems for which ChatGPT was able to provide correct solutions that successfully satisfied all the test cases present in Leetcode. It exhibits strengths in structured problems and shows a linear correlation between its success rate and problem acceptance rates. However, it struggles to improve solutions based on feedback, pointing to potential shortcomings in debugging tasks. These findings provide a compact yet insightful glimpse into ChatGPT's capabilities and areas for improvement.

2.Systematic Testing of the Data-Poisoning Robustness of KNN

Authors:Yannan Li, Jingbo Wang, Chao Wang

Abstract: Data poisoning aims to compromise a machine learning based software component by contaminating its training set to change its prediction results for test inputs. Existing methods for deciding data-poisoning robustness have either poor accuracy or long running time and, more importantly, they can only certify some of the truly-robust cases, but remain inconclusive when certification fails. In other words, they cannot falsify the truly-non-robust cases. To overcome this limitation, we propose a systematic testing based method, which can falsify as well as certify data-poisoning robustness for a widely used supervised-learning technique named k-nearest neighbors (KNN). Our method is faster and more accurate than the baseline enumeration method, due to a novel over-approximate analysis in the abstract domain, to quickly narrow down the search space, and systematic testing in the concrete domain, to find the actual violations. We have evaluated our method on a set of supervised-learning datasets. Our results show that the method significantly outperforms state-of-the-art techniques, and can decide data-poisoning robustness of KNN prediction results for most of the test inputs.

3.Systematic Comparison of Software Agents and Digital Twins: Differences, Similarities, and Synergies in Industrial Production

Authors:Lasse Matthias Reinpold, Lukas Peter Wagner, Felix Gehlhoff, Malte Ramonat, Maximilian Kilthau, Milapji Singh Gill, Jonathan Tobias Reif, Vincent Henkel, Lena Scholz, Alexander Fay

Abstract: To achieve a highly agile and flexible production, it is envisioned that industrial production systems gradually become more decentralized, interconnected, and intelligent. Within this vision, production assets collaborate with each other, exhibiting a high degree of autonomy. Furthermore, knowledge about individual production assets is readily available throughout their entire life-cycles. To realize this vision, adequate use of information technology is required. Two commonly applied software paradigms in this context are Software Agents (referred to as Agents) and Digital Twins (DTs). This work presents a systematic comparison of Agents and DTs in industrial applications. The goal of the study is to determine the differences, similarities, and potential synergies between the two paradigms. The comparison is based on the purposes for which Agents and DTs are applied, the properties and capabilities exhibited by these software paradigms, and how they can be allocated within the Reference Architecture Model Industry 4.0. The comparison reveals that Agents are commonly employed in the collaborative planning and execution of production processes, while DTs typically play a more passive role in monitoring production resources and processing information. Although these observations imply characteristic sets of capabilities and properties for both Agents and DTs, a clear and definitive distinction between the two paradigms cannot be made. Instead, the analysis indicates that production assets utilizing a combination of Agents and DTs would demonstrate high degrees of intelligence, autonomy, sociability, and fidelity. To achieve this, further standardization is required, particularly in the field of DTs.

4.Utilization of Pre-trained Language Model for Adapter-based Knowledge Transfer in Software Engineering

Authors:Iman Saberi, Fatemeh Fard, Fuxiang Chen

Abstract: Software Engineering (SE) Pre-trained Language Models (PLMs), such as CodeBERT, are pre-trained on large code corpora, and their learned knowledge has shown success in transferring into downstream tasks (e.g., code clone detection) through fine-tuning the PLMs. In Natural Language Processing (NLP), an alternative in transferring the knowledge of PLMs is explored through the use of adapter, a compact and parameter efficient module that is inserted into a PLM. Although the use of adapters has shown promising results in many NLP-based downstream tasks, their application and exploration in SE-based downstream tasks are limited. Here, we study the knowledge transfer using adapters on multiple downstream tasks including cloze test, code clone detection, and code summarization. These adapters are trained on code corpora and are inserted into a PLM that is pre-trained on English corpora or code corpora. We called these PLMs as NL-PLM and C-PLM, respectively. We observed an improvement in results using NL-PLM over a PLM that does not have adapters, and this suggested that adapters can transfer and utilize useful knowledge from NL-PLM to SE tasks. The results are sometimes on par with or exceed the results of C-PLM; while being more efficient in terms of the number of parameters and training time. Interestingly, adapters inserted into a C-PLM generally yield better results than a traditional fine-tuned C-PLM. Our results open new directions to build more compact models for SE tasks.

1.A Blockchain-Based Framework for Distributed Agile Software Testing Life Cycle

Authors:Muhammad Shoaib Farooq, Fatima Ahmed

Abstract: A blockchain-based framework for distributed agile software testing life cycle is an innovative approach that uses blockchain technology to optimize the software testing process. Previously, various methods were employed to address communication and collaboration challenges in software testing, but they were deficient in aspects such as trust, traceability, and security. Additionally, a significant cause of project failure was the non-completion of unit testing by developers, leading to delayed testing. This paper integration of blockchain technology in software testing resolves critical concerns related to transparency, trust, coordination, and communication. We have proposed a blockchain based framework named as TestingPlus. TestingPlus framework utilizes blockchain technology to provide a secure and transparent platform for acceptance testing and payment verification. By leveraging smart contracts on a private Ethereum blockchain, TestingPlus can help to ensure that both the testing team and the development team are working towards a common goal and are compensated fairly for their contributions.

2.Software Testing with Large Language Model: Survey, Landscape, and Vision

Authors:Junjie Wang, Yuchao Huang, Chunyang Chen, Zhe Liu, Song Wang, Qing Wang

Abstract: Pre-trained large language models (LLMs) have recently emerged as a breakthrough technology in natural language processing and artificial intelligence, with the ability to handle large-scale datasets and exhibit remarkable performance across a wide range of tasks. Meanwhile, software testing is a crucial undertaking that serves as a cornerstone for ensuring the quality and reliability of software products. As the scope and complexity of software systems continue to grow, the need for more effective software testing techniques becomes increasingly urgent, and making it an area ripe for innovative approaches such as the use of LLMs. This paper provides a comprehensive review of the utilization of LLMs in software testing. It analyzes 52 relevant studies that have used LLMs for software testing, from both the software testing and LLMs perspectives. The paper presents a detailed discussion of the software testing tasks for which LLMs are commonly used, among which test case preparation and program repair are the most representative ones. It also analyzes the commonly used LLMs, the types of prompt engineering that are employed, as well as the accompanied techniques with these LLMs. It also summarizes the key challenges and potential opportunities in this direction. This work can serve as a roadmap for future research in this area, highlighting potential avenues for exploration, and identifying gaps in our current understanding of the use of LLMs in software testing.

3.Investigating ChatGPT's Potential to Assist in Requirements Elicitation Processes

Authors:Krishna Ronanki, Christian Berger, Jennifer Horkoff

Abstract: Natural Language Processing (NLP) for Requirements Engineering (RE) (NLP4RE) seeks to apply NLP tools, techniques, and resources to the RE process to increase the quality of the requirements. There is little research involving the utilization of Generative AI-based NLP tools and techniques for requirements elicitation. In recent times, Large Language Models (LLM) like ChatGPT have gained significant recognition due to their notably improved performance in NLP tasks. To explore the potential of ChatGPT to assist in requirements elicitation processes, we formulated six questions to elicit requirements using ChatGPT. Using the same six questions, we conducted interview-based surveys with five RE experts from academia and industry and collected 30 responses containing requirements. The quality of these 36 responses (human-formulated + ChatGPT-generated) was evaluated over seven different requirements quality attributes by another five RE experts through a second round of interview-based surveys. In comparing the quality of requirements generated by ChatGPT with those formulated by human experts, we found that ChatGPT-generated requirements are highly Abstract, Atomic, Consistent, Correct, and Understandable. Based on these results, we present the most pressing issues related to LLMs and what future research should focus on to leverage the emergent behaviour of LLMs more effectively in natural language-based RE activities.

4.Leveraging Traceability to Integrate Safety Analysis Artifacts into the Software Development Process

Authors:Ankit Agrawal, Jane Cleland-Huang

Abstract: Safety-critical system's failure or malfunction can cause loss of human lives or damage to the physical environment; therefore, continuous safety assessment is crucial for such systems. In many domains this includes the use of Safety assurance cases (SACs) as a structured argument that the system is safe for use. SACs can be challenging to maintain during system evolution due to the disconnect between the safety analysis and system development process. Further, safety analysts often lack domain knowledge and tool support to evaluate the SAC. We propose a solution that leverages software traceability to connect relevant system artifacts to safety analysis models, and then uses these connections to visualize the change. We elicit design rationales for system changes to help safety stakeholders analyze the impact of system changes on safety. We present new traceability techniques for closer integration of the safety analysis and system development process, and illustrate the viability of our approach using examples from a cyber-physical system that deploys Unmanned Aerial Vehicles for emergency response.

5.BehAVExplor: Behavior Diversity Guided Testing for Autonomous Driving Systems

Authors:Mingfei Cheng, Yuan Zhou, Xiaofei Xie

Abstract: Testing Autonomous Driving Systems (ADSs) is a critical task for ensuring the reliability and safety of autonomous vehicles. Existing methods mainly focus on searching for safety violations while the diversity of the generated test cases is ignored, which may generate many redundant test cases and failures. Such redundant failures can reduce testing performance and increase failure analysis costs. In this paper, we present a novel behavior-guided fuzzing technique (BehAVExplor) to explore the different behaviors of the ego vehicle (i.e., the vehicle controlled by the ADS under test) and detect diverse violations. Specifically, we design an efficient unsupervised model, called BehaviorMiner, to characterize the behavior of the ego vehicle. BehaviorMiner extracts the temporal features from the given scenarios and performs a clustering-based abstraction to group behaviors with similar features into abstract states. A new test case will be added to the seed corpus if it triggers new behaviors (e.g., cover new abstract states). Due to the potential conflict between the behavior diversity and the general violation feedback, we further propose an energy mechanism to guide the seed selection and the mutation. The energy of a seed quantifies how good it is. We evaluated BehAVExplor on Apollo, an industrial-level ADS, and LGSVL simulation environment. Empirical evaluation results show that BehAVExplor can effectively find more diverse violations than the state-of-the-art.

1.Pair Programming Practiced in Hybrid Work

Authors:Anastasiia Tkalich, Nils Brede Moe, Nina Haugland Andersen, Viktoria Stray, Astri Moksnes Barbala

Abstract: Pair programming (PP) has been a widespread practice for decades and is known for facilitating knowledge exchange and improving the quality of software. Many agilists advocated the importance of collocation, face-to-face interaction, and physical artifacts incorporated in the shared workspace when pairing. After a long period of forced work-from-home, many knowledge workers prefer to work remotely two or three days per week, which is affecting practices such as PP. In this revelatory single-case study, we aimed to understand how PP is practiced during hybrid work when team members alternate between on-site days and working from home. We collected qualitative and quantitative data through 11 semi-structured interviews, observations, feedback sessions, and self-reported surveys. The interviewees were members of an agile software development team in a Norwegian fintech company. The results presented in this paper indicate that PP can be practiced through on-site, remote, and mixed sessions, where the mixed mode seems to be the least advantageous. The findings highlight the importance of adapting the work environment to suit individual work mode preferences when it comes to PP. In the future, we will build on these findings to explore PP in other teams and organizations practicing hybrid work.

2.Overcoming the Mental Set Effect in Programming Problem Solving

Authors:Agnia Sergeyuk, Sergey Titov, Yaroslav Golubev, Timofey Bryksin

Abstract: This paper adopts a cognitive psychology perspective to investigate the recurring mistakes in code resulting from the mental set (Einstellung) effect. The Einstellung effect is the tendency to approach problem-solving with a preconceived mindset, often overlooking better solutions that may be available. This effect can significantly impact creative thinking, as the development of patterns of thought can hinder the emergence of novel and creative ideas. Our study aims to test the Einstellung effect and the two mechanisms of its overcoming in the field of programming. The first intervention was the change of the color scheme of the code editor to the less habitual one. The second intervention was a combination of instruction to "forget the previous solutions and tasks" and the change in the color scheme. During the experiment, participants were given two sets of four programming tasks. Each task had two possible solutions: one using suboptimal code dictated by the mental set, and the other using a less familiar but more efficient and recommended methodology. Between the sets, participants either received no treatment or one of two interventions aimed at helping them overcome the mental set. The results of our experiment suggest that the tested techniques were insufficient to support overcoming the mental set, which we attribute to the specificity of the programming domain. The study contributes to the existing literature by providing insights into creativity support during problem-solving in software development and offering a framework for experimental research in this field.

3.Crucible: Graphical Test Cases for Alloy Models

Authors:Adam G. Emerson, Allison Sullivan

Abstract: Alloy is a declarative modeling language that is well suited for verifying system designs. Alloy models are automatically analyzed using the Analyzer, a toolset that helps the user understand their system by displaying the consequences of their properties, helping identify any missing or incorrect properties, and exploring the impact of modifications to those properties. To achieve this, the Analyzer invokes off-the-shelf SAT solvers to search for scenarios, which are assignments to the sets and relations of the model such that all executed formulas hold. To help write more accurate software models, Alloy has a unit testing framework, AUnit, which allows users to outline specific scenarios and check if those scenarios are correctly generated or prevented by their model. Unfortunately, AUnit currently only supports textual specifications of scenarios. This paper introduces Crucible, which allows users to graphically create AUnit test cases. In addition, Crucible provides automated guidance to users to ensure they are creating well structured, valuable test cases. As a result, Crucible eases the burden of adopting AUnit and brings AUnit test case creation more in line with how Alloy scenarios are commonly interacted with, which is graphically.

1.Automatically Reconciling the Trade-off between Prediction Accuracy and Earliness in Prescriptive Business Process Monitoring

Authors:Andreas Metzger, Tristan Kley, Aristide Rothweiler, Klaus Pohl

Abstract: Prescriptive business process monitoring provides decision support to process managers on when and how to adapt an ongoing business process to prevent or mitigate an undesired process outcome. We focus on the problem of automatically reconciling the trade-off between prediction accuracy and prediction earliness in determining when to adapt. Adaptations should happen sufficiently early to provide enough lead time for the adaptation to become effective. However, earlier predictions are typically less accurate than later predictions. This means that acting on less accurate predictions may lead to unnecessary adaptations or missed adaptations. Different approaches were presented in the literature to reconcile the trade-off between prediction accuracy and earliness. So far, these approaches were compared with different baselines, and evaluated using different data sets or even confidential data sets. This limits the comparability and replicability of the approaches and makes it difficult to choose a concrete approach in practice. We perform a comparative evaluation of the main alternative approaches for reconciling the trade-off between prediction accuracy and earliness. Using four public real-world event log data sets and two types of prediction models, we assess and compare the cost savings of these approaches. The experimental results indicate which criteria affect the effectiveness of an approach and help us state initial recommendations for the selection of a concrete approach in practice.

2.Exploring the Effectiveness of LLMs in Automated Logging Generation: An Empirical Study

Authors:Yichen Li, Yintong Huo, Zhihan Jiang, Renyi Zhong, Pinjia He, Yuxin Su, Michael R. Lyu

Abstract: Automated logging statement generation techniques facilitate developers in writing appropriate logging statements that document software behaviors. Current retrieval-based and learning-based logging methods fail to provide accurate logging statements in complex software. Although existing large language models (LLMs) might be a good fit for the task due to their great success in natural language generation and programming language comprehension, their effectiveness and generalization capabilities have not been explored. To this end, this paper performs the first extensive study on applying LLMs for logging statement generation. We build LogBench, the first logging statement generation dataset. On LogBench, we evaluate the effectiveness and generalization capabilities of eight state-of-the-art LLMs, which include general-purpose and code-specific models ranging from 60M to 175B in size. Specifically, we evaluate LLM's logging effectiveness by studying 1) their ability to decide logging ingredients, 2) the impact of the internal characteristics of LLMs, and 3) the influence of external factors. We further evaluate LLM's logging generalization capabilities using unseen data derived from code transformation techniques. Our study demonstrates that existing LLMs fall short of practical requirements for generating proper logging statement texts. We also disclose the impact of internal characteristics and external factors for LLMs in automated logging. In addition, we observe that existing LLMs cannot generalize to logging unseen code, revealing their unsatisfactory generalization capabilities. Based on our findings, we further discuss three implications that can enhance logging statement generation in the future, such as developing a unified metric for logging quality, incorporating shareable code knowledge into LLMs, and devising suitable prompts.

3.FGo: A Directed Grey-box Fuzzer with Probabilistic Exponential cut-the-loss Strategies

Authors:Harvey Lau

Abstract: Traditional coverage grey-box fuzzers perform a breadth-first search of the state space of Program Under Test (PUT). This aimlessness wastes a lot of computing resources. Directed grey-box fuzzing focuses on the target of PUT and becomes one of the most popular topics of software testing. The early termination of unreachable test cases is a method to improve directed grey-box fuzzing. However, existing solutions have two problems: firstly, reachability analysis needs to introduce extra technologies (e.g., static analysis); secondly, the performance of reachability analysis and auxiliary technologies lack versatility. We propose FGo, a probabilistic exponential cut-the-loss directed grey-box fuzzer. FGo terminates unreachable test cases early with exponentially increasing probability. Compared to other technologies, FGo makes full use of the unreachable information contained in iCFG and doesn't generate any additional overhead caused by reachability analysis. Moreover, it is easy to generalize to all PUT. This strategy based on probability is perfectly adapted to the randomness of fuzzing. The experiment results show that FGo is 106% faster than AFLGo in reproducing crashes. We compare multiple parameters of probabilistic exponential cut-the-loss algorithm and analyze them in detail. In addition, for enhancing the inerpretability of FGo, this paper discusses the difference between the theoretical performance and the practical performance of probabilistic exponential cut-the-loss algorithm.

4.How Many Papers Should You Review? A Research Synthesis of Systematic Literature Reviews in Software Engineering

Authors:Xiaofeng Wang, Henry Edison, Dron Khanna, Usman Rafiq

Abstract: [Context] Systematic Literature Review (SLR) has been a major type of study published in Software Engineering (SE) venues for about two decades. However, there is a lack of understanding of whether an SLR is really needed in comparison to a more conventional literature review. Very often, SE researchers embark on an SLR with such doubts. We aspire to provide more understanding of when an SLR in SE should be conducted. [Objective] The first step of our investigation was focused on the dataset, i.e., the reviewed papers, in an SLR, which indicates the development of a research topic or area. The objective of this step is to provide a better understanding of the characteristics of the datasets of SLRs in SE. [Method] A research synthesis was conducted on a sample of 170 SLRs published in top-tier SE journals. We extracted and analysed the quantitative attributes of the datasets of these SLRs. [Results] The findings show that the median size of the datasets in our sample is 57 reviewed papers, and the median review period covered is 14 years. The number of reviewed papers and review period have a very weak and non-significant positive correlation. [Conclusions] The results of our study can be used by SE researchers as an indicator or benchmark to understand whether an SLR is conducted at a good time.

5.Navigating the Complexity of Generative AI Adoption in Software Engineering

Authors:Daniel Russo

Abstract: In this paper, the adoption patterns of Generative Artificial Intelligence (AI) tools within software engineering are investigated. Influencing factors at the individual, technological, and societal levels are analyzed using a mixed-methods approach for an extensive comprehension of AI adoption. An initial structured interview was conducted with 100 software engineers, employing the Technology Acceptance Model (TAM), the Diffusion of Innovations theory (DOI), and the Social Cognitive Theory (SCT) as guiding theories. A theoretical model named the Human-AI Collaboration and Adaptation Framework (HACAF) was deduced using the Gioia Methodology, characterizing AI adoption in software engineering. This model's validity was subsequently tested through Partial Least Squares - Structural Equation Modeling (PLS-SEM), using data collected from 183 software professionals. The results indicate that the adoption of AI tools in these early integration stages is primarily driven by their compatibility with existing development workflows. This finding counters the traditional theories of technology acceptance. Contrary to expectations, the influence of perceived usefulness, social aspects, and personal innovativeness on adoption appeared to be less significant. This paper yields significant insights for the design of future AI tools and supplies a structure for devising effective strategies for organizational implementation.

1.Tree-Based Scenario Classification: A Formal Framework for Coverage Analysis on Test Drives of Autonomous Vehicles

Authors:Till Schallau, Stefan Naujokat, Fiona Kullmann, Falk Howar

Abstract: Scenario-based testing is envisioned as a key approach for the safety assurance of autonomous vehicles. In scenario-based testing, relevant (driving) scenarios are the basis of tests. Many recent works focus on specification, variation, generation and execution of individual scenarios. In this work, we address the open challenges of classifying sets of scenarios and measuring coverage of theses scenarios in recorded test drives. Technically, we define logic-based classifiers that compute features of scenarios on complex data streams and combine these classifiers into feature trees that describe sets of scenarios. We demonstrate the expressiveness and effectiveness of our approach by defining a scenario classifier for urban driving and evaluating it on data recorded from simulations.

2.Tests4Py: A Benchmark for System Testing

Authors:Marius Smytzek, Martin Eberlein, Batuhan Serce, Lars Grunske, Andreas Zeller

Abstract: Benchmarks are among the main drivers of progress in software engineering research, especially in software testing and debugging. However, current benchmarks in this field could be better suited for specific research tasks, as they rely on weak system oracles like crash detection, come with few unit tests only, need more elaborative research, or cannot verify the outcome of system tests. Our Tests4Py benchmark addresses these issues. It is derived from the popular BugsInPy benchmark, including 30 bugs from 5 real-world Python applications. Each subject in Tests4Py comes with an oracle to verify the functional correctness of system inputs. Besides, it enables the generation of system tests and unit tests, allowing for qualitative studies by investigating essential aspects of test sets and extensive evaluations. These opportunities make Tests4Py a next-generation benchmark for research in test generation, debugging, and automatic program repair.

1.Can Large Language Models Write Good Property-Based Tests?

Authors:Vasudev Vikram, Caroline Lemieux, Rohan Padhye

Abstract: Property-based testing (PBT), while an established technique in the software testing research community, is still relatively underused in real-world software. Pain points in writing property-based tests include implementing diverse random input generators and thinking of meaningful properties to test. Developers, however, are more amenable to writing documentation; plenty of library API documentation is available and can be used as natural language specifications for property-based tests. As large language models (LLMs) have recently shown promise in a variety of coding tasks, we explore the potential of using LLMs to synthesize property-based tests. We call our approach PBT-GPT, and propose three different strategies of prompting the LLM for PBT. We characterize various failure modes of PBT-GPT and detail an evaluation methodology for automatically synthesized property-based tests. PBT-GPT achieves promising results in our preliminary studies on sample Python library APIs in $\texttt{numpy}$, $\texttt{networkx}$, and $\texttt{datetime}$.

2.Explanation Needs in App Reviews: Taxonomy and Automated Detection

Authors:Max Unterbusch, Mersedeh Sadeghi, Jannik Fischbach, Martin Obaidi, Andreas Vogelsang

Abstract: Explainability, i.e. the ability of a system to explain its behavior to users, has become an important quality of software-intensive systems. Recent work has focused on methods for generating explanations for various algorithmic paradigms (e.g., machine learning, self-adaptive systems). There is relatively little work on what situations and types of behavior should be explained. There is also a lack of support for eliciting explainability requirements. In this work, we explore the need for explanation expressed by users in app reviews. We manually coded a set of 1,730 app reviews from 8 apps and derived a taxonomy of Explanation Needs. We also explore several approaches to automatically identify Explanation Needs in app reviews. Our best classifier identifies Explanation Needs in 486 unseen reviews of 4 different apps with a weighted F-score of 86%. Our work contributes to a better understanding of users' Explanation Needs. Automated tools can help engineers focus on these needs and ultimately elicit valid Explanation Needs.

3.Runtime Safety Assurance of Autonomous Vehicles used for Last-mile Delivery in Urban Environments

Authors:Iqra Aslam, Adina Aniculaesei, Abhishek Buragohain, Daniel Bamal, Prof. Dr. Andreas Rausch

Abstract: Last-mile delivery of goods has gained a lot of attraction during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, current package delivery processes often lead to parking in the second lane, which in turn has negative effects on the urban environment in which the deliveries take place, i.e., traffic congestion and safety issues for other road users. To tackle these challenges, an effective autonomous delivery system is required that guarantees efficient, flexible and safe delivery of goods. The project LogiSmile, co-funded by EIT Urban Mobility, pilots an autonomous delivery vehicle dubbed the Autonomous Hub Vehicle (AHV) that works in cooperation with a small autonomous robot called the Autonomous Delivery Device (ADD). With the two cooperating robots, the project LogiSmile aims to find a possible solution to the challenges of urban goods distribution in congested areas and to demonstrate the future of urban mobility. As a member of Nieders\"achsische Forschungszentrum f\"ur Fahrzeugtechnik (NFF), the Institute for Software and Systems Engineering (ISSE) developed an integrated software safety architecture for runtime monitoring of the AHV, with (1) a dependability cage (DC) used for the on-board monitoring of the AHV, and (2) a remote command control center (CCC) which enables the remote off-board supervision of a fleet of AHVs. The DC supervises the vehicle continuously and in case of any safety violation, it switches the nominal driving mode to degraded driving mode or fail-safe mode. Additionally, the CCC also manages the communication of the AHV with the ADD and provides fail-operational solutions for the AHV when it cannot handle complex situations autonomously. The runtime monitoring concept developed for the AHV has been demonstrated in 2022 in Hamburg. We report on the obtained results and on the lessons learned.

4.Analyzing the Evolution of Inter-package Dependencies in Operating Systems: A Case Study of Ubuntu

Authors:Victor Prokhorenko, Chadni Islam, Muhammad Ali Babar

Abstract: An Operating System (OS) combines multiple interdependent software packages, which usually have their own independently developed architectures. When a multitude of independent packages are placed together in an OS, an implicit inter-package architecture is formed. For an evolutionary effort, designers/developers of OS can greatly benefit from fully understanding the system-wide dependency focused on individual files, specifically executable files, and dynamically loadable libraries. We propose a framework, DepEx, aimed at discovering the detailed package relations at the level of individual binary files and their associated evolutionary changes. We demonstrate the utility of DepEx by systematically investigating the evolution of a large-scale Open Source OS, Ubuntu. DepEx enabled us to systematically acquire and analyze the dependencies in different versions of Ubuntu released between 2005 (5.04) to 2023 (23.04). Our analysis revealed various evolutionary trends in package management and their implications based on the analysis of the 84 consecutive versions available for download (these include beta versions). This study has enabled us to assert that DepEx can provide researchers and practitioners with a better understanding of the implicit software dependencies in order to improve the stability, performance, and functionality of their software as well as to reduce the risk of issues arising during maintenance, updating, or migration.

5.Calculating Originality of LLM Assisted Source Code

Authors:Shipra Sharma, Balwinder Sodhi

Abstract: The ease of using a Large Language Model (LLM) to answer a wide variety of queries and their high availability has resulted in LLMs getting integrated into various applications. LLM-based recommenders are now routinely used by students as well as professional software programmers for code generation and testing. Though LLM-based technology has proven useful, its unethical and unattributed use by students and professionals is a growing cause of concern. As such, there is a need for tools and technologies which may assist teachers and other evaluators in identifying whether any portion of a source code is LLM generated. In this paper, we propose a neural network-based tool that instructors can use to determine the original effort (and LLM's contribution) put by students in writing source codes. Our tool is motivated by minimum description length measures like Kolmogorov complexity. Our initial experiments with moderate sized (up to 500 lines of code) have shown promising results that we report in this paper.

6.Model-Driven Engineering Method to Support the Formalization of Machine Learning using SysML

Authors:Simon Raedler, Juergen Mangler, Stefanie Rinderle-Ma

Abstract: Methods: This work introduces a method supporting the collaborative definition of machine learning tasks by leveraging model-based engineering in the formalization of the systems modeling language SysML. The method supports the identification and integration of various data sources, the required definition of semantic connections between data attributes, and the definition of data processing steps within the machine learning support. Results: By consolidating the knowledge of domain and machine learning experts, a powerful tool to describe machine learning tasks by formalizing knowledge using the systems modeling language SysML is introduced. The method is evaluated based on two use cases, i.e., a smart weather system that allows to predict weather forecasts based on sensor data, and a waste prevention case for 3D printer filament that cancels the printing if the intended result cannot be achieved (image processing). Further, a user study is conducted to gather insights of potential users regarding perceived workload and usability of the elaborated method. Conclusion: Integrating machine learning-specific properties in systems engineering techniques allows non-data scientists to understand formalized knowledge and define specific aspects of a machine learning problem, document knowledge on the data, and to further support data scientists to use the formalized knowledge as input for an implementation using (semi-) automatic code generation. In this respect, this work contributes by consolidating knowledge from various domains and therefore, fosters the integration of machine learning in industry by involving several stakeholders.

7.Model-Driven Engineering for Artificial Intelligence -- A Systematic Literature Review

Authors:Simon Raedler, Luca Berardinelli, Karolin Winter, Abbas Rahimi, Stefanie Rinderle-Ma

Abstract: Objective: This study aims to investigate the existing body of knowledge in the field of Model-Driven Engineering MDE in support of AI (MDE4AI) to sharpen future research further and define the current state of the art. Method: We conducted a Systemic Literature Review (SLR), collecting papers from five major databases resulting in 703 candidate studies, eventually retaining 15 primary studies. Each primary study will be evaluated and discussed with respect to the adoption of (1) MDE principles and practices and (2) the phases of AI development support aligned with the stages of the CRISP-DM methodology. Results: The study's findings show that the pillar concepts of MDE (metamodel, concrete syntax and model transformation), are leveraged to define domain-specific languages (DSL) explicitly addressing AI concerns. Different MDE technologies are used, leveraging different language workbenches. The most prominent AI-related concerns are training and modeling of the AI algorithm, while minor emphasis is given to the time-consuming preparation of the data sets. Early project phases that support interdisciplinary communication of requirements, such as the CRISP-DM \textit{Business Understanding} phase, are rarely reflected. Conclusion: The study found that the use of MDE for AI is still in its early stages, and there is no single tool or method that is widely used. Additionally, current approaches tend to focus on specific stages of development rather than providing support for the entire development process. As a result, the study suggests several research directions to further improve the use of MDE for AI and to guide future research in this area.

8.COMEX: A Tool for Generating Customized Source Code Representations

Authors:Debeshee Das, Noble Saji Mathews, Alex Mathai, Srikanth Tamilselvam, Kranthi Sedamaki, Sridhar Chimalakonda, Atul Kumar

Abstract: Learning effective representations of source code is critical for any Machine Learning for Software Engineering (ML4SE) system. Inspired by natural language processing, large language models (LLMs) like Codex and CodeGen treat code as generic sequences of text and are trained on huge corpora of code data, achieving state of the art performance on several software engineering (SE) tasks. However, valid source code, unlike natural language, follows a strict structure and pattern governed by the underlying grammar of the programming language. Current LLMs do not exploit this property of the source code as they treat code like a sequence of tokens and overlook key structural and semantic properties of code that can be extracted from code-views like the Control Flow Graph (CFG), Data Flow Graph (DFG), Abstract Syntax Tree (AST), etc. Unfortunately, the process of generating and integrating code-views for every programming language is cumbersome and time consuming. To overcome this barrier, we propose our tool COMEX - a framework that allows researchers and developers to create and combine multiple code-views which can be used by machine learning (ML) models for various SE tasks. Some salient features of our tool are: (i) it works directly on source code (which need not be compilable), (ii) it currently supports Java and C#, (iii) it can analyze both method-level snippets and program-level snippets by using both intra-procedural and inter-procedural analysis, and (iv) it is easily extendable to other languages as it is built on tree-sitter - a widely used incremental parser that supports over 40 languages. We believe this easy-to-use code-view generation and customization tool will give impetus to research in source code representation learning methods and ML4SE. Tool: - GitHub: - Demo:

1.ToxiSpanSE: An Explainable Toxicity Detection in Code Review Comments

Authors:Jaydeb Saker, Sayma Sultana, Steven R. Wilson, Amiangshu Bosu

Abstract: Background: The existence of toxic conversations in open-source platforms can degrade relationships among software developers and may negatively impact software product quality. To help mitigate this, some initial work has been done to detect toxic comments in the Software Engineering (SE) domain. Aims: Since automatically classifying an entire text as toxic or non-toxic does not help human moderators to understand the specific reason(s) for toxicity, we worked to develop an explainable toxicity detector for the SE domain. Method: Our explainable toxicity detector can detect specific spans of toxic content from SE texts, which can help human moderators by automatically highlighting those spans. This toxic span detection model, ToxiSpanSE, is trained with the 19,651 code review (CR) comments with labeled toxic spans. Our annotators labeled the toxic spans within 3,757 toxic CR samples. We explored several types of models, including one lexicon-based approach and five different transformer-based encoders. Results: After an extensive evaluation of all models, we found that our fine-tuned RoBERTa model achieved the best score with 0.88 $F1$, 0.87 precision, and 0.93 recall for toxic class tokens, providing an explainable toxicity classifier for the SE domain. Conclusion: Since ToxiSpanSE is the first tool to detect toxic spans in the SE domain, this tool will pave a path to combat toxicity in the SE community.

2.Systematic Review on Privacy Categorization

Authors:Paola Inverardi, Patrizio Migliarini, Massimiliano Palmiero

Abstract: In the modern digital world users need to make privacy and security choices that have far-reaching consequences. Researchers are increasingly studying people's decisions when facing with privacy and security trade-offs, the pressing and time consuming disincentives that influence those decisions, and methods to mitigate them. This work aims to present a systematic review of the literature on privacy categorization, which has been defined in terms of profile, profiling, segmentation, clustering and personae. Privacy categorization involves the possibility to classify users according to specific prerequisites, such as their ability to manage privacy issues, or in terms of which type of and how many personal information they decide or do not decide to disclose. Privacy categorization has been defined and used for different purposes. The systematic review focuses on three main research questions that investigate the study contexts, i.e. the motivations and research questions, that propose privacy categorisations; the methodologies and results of privacy categorisations; the evolution of privacy categorisations over time. Ultimately it tries to provide an answer whether privacy categorization as a research attempt is still meaningful and may have a future.

3.Specification, Validation and Verification of Social, Legal, Ethical, Empathetic and Cultural Requirements for Autonomous Agents

Authors:Sinem Getir Yaman, Ana Cavalcanti, Radu Calinescu, Colin Paterson, Pedro Ribeiro, Beverley Townsend

Abstract: Autonomous agents are increasingly being proposed for use in healthcare, assistive care, education, and other applications governed by complex human-centric norms. To ensure compliance with these norms, the rules they induce need to be unambiguously defined, checked for consistency, and used to verify the agent. In this paper, we introduce a framework for formal specification, validation and verification of social, legal, ethical, empathetic and cultural (SLEEC) rules for autonomous agents. Our framework comprises: (i) a language for specifying SLEEC rules and rule defeaters (that is, circumstances in which a rule does not apply or an alternative form of the rule is required); (ii) a formal semantics (defined in the process algebra tock-CSP) for the language; and (iii) methods for detecting conflicts and redundancy within a set of rules, and for verifying the compliance of an autonomous agent with such rules. We show the applicability of our framework for two autonomous agents from different domains: a firefighter UAV, and an assistive-dressing robot.

4.Compositionality in Model-Based Testing

Authors:Gijs van Cuyck, Lars van Arragon, Jan Tretmans

Abstract: Model-based testing (MBT) promises a scalable solution to testing large systems, if a model is available. Creating these models for large systems, however, has proven to be difficult. Composing larger models from smaller ones could solve this, but our current MBT conformance relation $\textbf{uioco}$ is not compositional, i.e. correctly tested components, when composed into a system, can still lead to a faulty system. To catch these integration problems, we introduce a new relation over component models called $\textbf{mutual acceptance}$. Mutually accepting components are guaranteed to communicate correctly, which makes MBT compositional. In addition to providing compositionality, mutual acceptance has benefits when retesting systems with updated components, and when diagnosing systems consisting of components.

5.ConStaBL -- A Fresh Look at Software Engineering with State Machines

Authors:Karthika Venkatesan, Sujit Kumar Chakrabarti

Abstract: Statechart is a visual modelling language for systems. In this paper, we extend our earlier work on modular statecharts with local variables and present an updated operational semantics for statecharts with concurrency. Our variant of the statechart has local variables, which interact significantly with the remainder of the language semantics. Our semantics does not allow transition conflicts in simulations and is stricter than most other available semantics of statecharts in that sense. It allows arbitrary interleaving of concurrently executing action code, which allows more precise modelling of systems and upstream analysis of the same. We present the operational semantics in the form of the simulation algorithm. We also establish the criteria based on our semantics for defining conflicting transitions and valid simulations. Our semantics is executable and can be used to simulate statechart models and verify their correctness. We present a preliminary setup to carry out fuzz testing of Statechart models, an idea that does not seem to have a precedent in literature. We have used our simulator in conjunction with a well-known fuzzer to do fuzz testing of statechart models of non-trivial sizes and have found issues in them that would have been hard to find through inspection.

6.Exploring and Characterizing Large Language Models For Embedded System Development and Debugging

Authors:Zachary Englhardt, Richard Li, Dilini Nissanka, Zhihan Zhang, Girish Narayanswamy, Joseph Breda, Xin Liu, Shwetak Patel, Vikram Iyer

Abstract: Large language models (LLMs) have shown remarkable abilities to generate code, however their ability to develop software for embedded systems, which requires cross-domain knowledge of hardware and software has not been studied. In this paper we systematically evaluate leading LLMs (GPT-3.5, GPT-4, PaLM 2) to assess their performance for embedded system development, study how human programmers interact with these tools, and develop an AI-based software engineering workflow for building embedded systems. We develop an an end-to-end hardware-in-the-loop evaluation platform for verifying LLM generated programs using sensor actuator pairs. We compare all three models with N=450 experiments and find surprisingly that GPT-4 especially shows an exceptional level of cross-domain understanding and reasoning, in some cases generating fully correct programs from a single prompt. In N=50 trials, GPT-4 produces functional I2C interfaces 66% of the time. GPT-4 also produces register-level drivers, code for LoRa communication, and context-specific power optimizations for an nRF52 program resulting in over 740x current reduction to 12.2 uA. We also characterize the models' limitations to develop a generalizable workflow for using LLMs in embedded system development. We evaluate the workflow with 15 users including novice and expert programmers. We find that our workflow improves productivity for all users and increases the success rate for building a LoRa environmental sensor from 25% to 100%, including for users with zero hardware or C/C++ experience.

7.Towards Automated Classification of Code Review Feedback to Support Analytics

Authors:Asif Kamal Turzo, Fahim Faysal, Ovi Poddar, Jaydeb Sarker, Anindya Iqbal, Amiangshu Bosu

Abstract: Background: As improving code review (CR) effectiveness is a priority for many software development organizations, projects have deployed CR analytics platforms to identify potential improvement areas. The number of issues identified, which is a crucial metric to measure CR effectiveness, can be misleading if all issues are placed in the same bin. Therefore, a finer-grained classification of issues identified during CRs can provide actionable insights to improve CR effectiveness. Although a recent work by Fregnan et al. proposed automated models to classify CR-induced changes, we have noticed two potential improvement areas -- i) classifying comments that do not induce changes and ii) using deep neural networks (DNN) in conjunction with code context to improve performances. Aims: This study aims to develop an automated CR comment classifier that leverages DNN models to achieve a more reliable performance than Fregnan et al. Method: Using a manually labeled dataset of 1,828 CR comments, we trained and evaluated supervised learning-based DNN models leveraging code context, comment text, and a set of code metrics to classify CR comments into one of the five high-level categories proposed by Turzo and Bosu. Results: Based on our 10-fold cross-validation-based evaluations of multiple combinations of tokenization approaches, we found a model using CodeBERT achieving the best accuracy of 59.3%. Our approach outperforms Fregnan et al.'s approach by achieving 18.7% higher accuracy. Conclusion: Besides facilitating improved CR analytics, our proposed model can be useful for developers in prioritizing code review feedback and selecting reviewers.

1.Resist the Hype! Practical Recommendations to Cope With Résumé-Driven Development

Authors:Jonas Fritzsch, Marvin Wyrich, Justus Bogner, Stefan Wagner

Abstract: Technology trends play an important role in the hiring process for software and IT professionals. In a recent study of 591 software professionals in both hiring (130) and technical (558) roles, we found empirical support for a tendency to overemphasize technology trends in r\'esum\'es and the application process. 60% of the hiring professionals agreed that such trends would influence their job advertisements. Among the software professionals, 82% believed that using trending technologies in their daily work would make them more attractive for potential future employers. This phenomenon has previously been reported anecdotally and somewhat humorously under the label R\'esum\'e-Driven Development (RDD). Our article seeks to initiate a more serious debate about the consequences of RDD on software development practice. We explain how the phenomenon may constitute a harmful self-sustaining dynamic, and provide practical recommendations for both the hiring and applicant perspectives to change the current situation for the better.

2.Towards a safe MLOps Process for the Continuous Development and Safety Assurance of ML-based Systems in the Railway Domain

Authors:Marc Zeller, Thomas Waschulzik, Reiner Schmid, Claus Bahlmann

Abstract: Traditional automation technologies alone are not sufficient to enable driverless operation of trains (called Grade of Automation (GoA) 4) on non-restricted infrastructure. The required perception tasks are nowadays realized using Machine Learning (ML) and thus need to be developed and deployed reliably and efficiently. One important aspect to achieve this is to use an MLOps process for tackling improved reproducibility, traceability, collaboration, and continuous adaptation of a driverless operation to changing conditions. MLOps mixes ML application development and operation (Ops) and enables high frequency software releases and continuous innovation based on the feedback from operations. In this paper, we outline a safe MLOps process for the continuous development and safety assurance of ML-based systems in the railway domain. It integrates system engineering, safety assurance, and the ML life-cycle in a comprehensive workflow. We present the individual stages of the process and their interactions. Moreover, we describe relevant challenges to automate the different stages of the safe MLOps process.

3.TEASER: Simulation-based CAN Bus Regression Testing for Self-driving Cars Software

Authors:Christian Birchler, Cyrill Rohrbach, Hyeongkyun Kim, Alessio Gambi, Tianhai Liu, Jens Horneber, Timo Kehrer, Sebastiano Panichella

Abstract: Software systems for safety-critical systems like self-driving cars (SDCs) need to be tested rigorously. Especially electronic control units (ECUs) of SDCs should be tested with realistic input data. In this context, a communication protocol called Controller Area Network (CAN) is typically used to transfer sensor data to the SDC control units. A challenge for SDC maintainers and testers is the need to manually define the CAN inputs that realistically represent the state of the SDC in the real world. To address this challenge, we developed TEASER, which is a tool that generates realistic CAN signals for SDCs obtained from sensors from state-of-the-art car simulators. We evaluated TEASER based on its integration capability into a DevOps pipeline of aicas GmbH, a company in the automotive sector. Concretely, we integrated TEASER in a Continous Integration (CI) pipeline configured with Jenkins. The pipeline executes the test cases in simulation environments and sends the sensor data over the CAN bus to a physical CAN device, which is the test subject. Our evaluation shows the ability of TEASER to generate and execute CI test cases that expose simulation-based faults (using regression strategies); the tool produces CAN inputs that realistically represent the state of the SDC in the real world. This result is of critical importance for increasing automation and effectiveness of simulation-based CAN bus regression testing for SDC software. Tool: GitHub: Documentation:

1.Understanding Resolution of Multi-Language Bugs: An Empirical Study on Apache Projects

Authors:Zengyang Li, Wenshuo Wang, Sicheng Wang, Peng Liang, Ran Mo

Abstract: Background: In modern software systems, more and more systems are written in multiple programming languages (PLs). There is no comprehensive investigation on the phenomenon of multi-programming-language (MPL) bugs, which resolution involves source files written in multiple PLs. Aim: This work investigated the characteristics of bug resolution in MPL software systems and explored the reasons why bug resolution involves multiple PLs. Method: We conducted an empirical study on 54 MPL projects selected from 655 Apache OSS projects, of which 66,932 bugs were analyzed. Results: (1) the percentage of MPL bugs (MPLBs) in the selected projects ranges from 0.17% to 42.26%, and the percentage of MPLBs for all projects as a whole is 10.01%; (2) 95.0% and 4.5% of all the MPLBs involve source files written in 2 and 3 PLs, respectively; (3) the change complexity resolution characteristics of MPLBs tend to be higher than those of single-programming-language bugs (SPLBs); (4) the open time for MPLBs is 19.52% to 529.57% significantly longer than SPLBs regarding 9 PL combinations; (5) the reopen rate of bugs involving the PL combination of JavaScript and Python reaches 20.66%; (6) we found 6 causes why the bug resolution involves multiple PLs and identified 5 cross-language calling mechanisms. Conclusion: MPLBs are related to increased development difficulty.

2.Trust in Software Supply Chains: Blockchain-Enabled SBOM and the AIBOM Future

Authors:Boming Xia, Dawen Zhang, Yue Liu, Qinghua Lu, Zhenchang Xing, Liming Zhu

Abstract: Software Bill of Materials (SBOM) serves as a critical pillar in ensuring software supply chain security by providing a detailed inventory of the components and dependencies integral to software development. However, challenges abound in the sharing of SBOMs, including potential data tampering, hesitation among software vendors to disclose comprehensive information, and bespoke requirements from software procurers or users. These obstacles have stifled widespread adoption and utilization of SBOMs, underscoring the need for a more secure and flexible mechanism for SBOM sharing. This study proposes a novel solution to these challenges by introducing a blockchain-empowered approach for SBOM sharing, leveraging verifiable credentials to allow for selective disclosure. This strategy not only heightens security but also offers flexibility. Furthermore, this paper broadens the remit of SBOM to encompass AI systems, thereby coining the term AI Bill of Materials (AIBOM). This extension is motivated by the rapid progression in AI technology and the escalating necessity to track the lineage and composition of AI software and systems. Particularly in the era of foundational models like large language models (LLMs), understanding their composition and dependencies becomes crucial. These models often serve as a base for further development, creating complex dependencies and paving the way for innovative AI applications. The evaluation of our solution indicates the feasibility and flexibility of the proposed SBOM sharing mechanism, positing a new solution for securing (AI) software supply chains.

3.Incremental Model Transformations with Triple Graph Grammars for Multi-version Models

Authors:Matthias Barkowsky, Holger Giese

Abstract: Like conventional software projects, projects in model-driven software engineering require adequate management of multiple versions of development artifacts, importantly allowing living with temporary inconsistencies. In previous work, multi-version models for model-driven software engineering have been introduced, which allow checking well-formedness and finding merge conflicts for multiple versions of a model at once. However, also for multi-version models, situations where different artifacts, that is, different models, are linked via automatic model transformations have to be handled. In this paper, we propose a technique for jointly handling the transformation of multiple versions of a source model into corresponding versions of a target model, which enables the use of a more compact representation that may afford improved execution time of both the transformation and further analysis operations. Our approach is based on the well-known formalism of triple graph grammars and the aforementioned encoding of model version histories called multi-version models. In addition to batch transformation of an entire model version history, the technique also covers incremental synchronization of changes in the framework of multi-version models. We show the correctness of our approach with respect to the standard semantics of triple graph grammars and conduct an empirical evaluation to investigate the performance of our technique regarding execution time and memory consumption. Our results indicate that the proposed technique affords lower memory consumption and may improve execution time for batch transformation of large version histories, but can also come with computational overhead in unfavorable cases.

4.Towards Open Federated Learning Platforms: Survey and Vision from Technical and Legal Perspectives

Authors:Moming Duan

Abstract: Traditional Federated Learning (FL) follows a server-domincated cooperation paradigm which narrows the application scenarios of FL and decreases the enthusiasm of data holders to participate. To fully unleash the potential of FL, we advocate rethinking the design of current FL frameworks and extending it to a more generalized concept: Open Federated Learning Platforms. We propose two reciprocal cooperation frameworks for FL to achieve this: query-based FL and contract-based FL. In this survey, we conduct a comprehensive review of the feasibility of constructing an open FL platform from both technical and legal perspectives. We begin by reviewing the definition of FL and summarizing its inherent limitations, including server-client coupling, low model reusability, and non-public. In the query-based FL platform, which is an open model sharing and reusing platform empowered by the community for model mining, we explore a wide range of valuable topics, including the availability of up-to-date model repositories for model querying, legal compliance analysis between different model licenses, and copyright issues and intellectual property protection in model reusing. In particular, we introduce a novel taxonomy to streamline the analysis of model license compatibility in FL studies that involve batch model reusing methods, including combination, amalgamation, distillation, and generation. This taxonomy provides a systematic framework for identifying the corresponding clauses of licenses and facilitates the identification of potential legal implications and restrictions when reusing models. Through this survey, we uncover the the current dilemmas faced by FL and advocate for the development of sustainable open FL platforms. We aim to provide guidance for establishing such platforms in the future, while identifying potential problems and challenges that need to be addressed.

5.Formally Verifying a Real World Smart Contract

Authors:Alexandre Mota, Fei Yang, Cristiano Teixeira

Abstract: Nowadays, smart contracts have become increasingly popular and, as with software development in general, testing is the standard method for verifying their correctness. However, smart contracts require a higher level of certainty regarding correctness because they are diffcult to modify once deployed and errors can result in significant financial losses. Therefore, formal verification is essential. In this article, we present our search for a tool capable of formally verifying a real-world smart contract written in a recent version of Solidity.

6.Security Defect Detection via Code Review: A Study of the OpenStack and Qt Communities

Authors:Jiaxin Yu, Liming Fu, Peng Liang, Amjed Tahir, Mojtaba Shahin

Abstract: Background: Despite the widespread use of automated security defect detection tools, software projects still contain many security defects that could result in serious damage. Such tools are largely context-insensitive and may not cover all possible scenarios in testing potential issues, which makes them susceptible to missing complex security defects. Hence, thorough detection entails a synergistic cooperation between these tools and human-intensive detection techniques, including code review. Code review is widely recognized as a crucial and effective practice for identifying security defects. Aim: This work aims to empirically investigate security defect detection through code review. Method: To this end, we conducted an empirical study by analyzing code review comments derived from four projects in the OpenStack and Qt communities. Through manually checking 20,995 review comments obtained by keyword-based search, we identified 614 comments as security-related. Results: Our results show that (1) security defects are not prevalently discussed in code review, (2) more than half of the reviewers provided explicit fixing strategies/solutions to help developers fix security defects, (3) developers tend to follow reviewers' suggestions and action the changes, (4) Not worth fixing the defect now and Disagreement between the developer and the reviewer are the main causes for not resolving security defects. Conclusions: Our research results demonstrate that (1) software security practices should combine manual code review with automated detection tools, achieving a more comprehensive coverage to identifying and addressing security defects, and (2) promoting appropriate standardization of practitioners' behaviors during code review remains necessary for enhancing software security.

7.An Exploratory Literature Study on Sharing and Energy Use of Language Models for Source Code

Authors:Max Hort, Anastasiia Grishina, Leon Moonen

Abstract: Large language models trained on source code can support a variety of software development tasks, such as code recommendation and program repair. Large amounts of data for training such models benefit the models' performance. However, the size of the data and models results in long training times and high energy consumption. While publishing source code allows for replicability, users need to repeat the expensive training process if models are not shared. The main goal of the study is to investigate if publications that trained language models for software engineering (SE) tasks share source code and trained artifacts. The second goal is to analyze the transparency on training energy usage. We perform a snowballing-based literature search to find publications on language models for source code, and analyze their reusability from a sustainability standpoint. From 494 unique publications, we identified 293 relevant publications that use language models to address code-related tasks. Among them, 27% (79 out of 293) make artifacts available for reuse. This can be in the form of tools or IDE plugins designed for specific tasks or task-agnostic models that can be fine-tuned for a variety of downstream tasks. Moreover, we collect insights on the hardware used for model training, as well as training time, which together determine the energy consumption of the development process. We find that there are deficiencies in the sharing of information and artifacts for current studies on source code models for software engineering tasks, with 40% of the surveyed papers not sharing source code or trained artifacts. We recommend the sharing of source code as well as trained artifacts, to enable sustainable reproducibility. Moreover, comprehensive information on training times and hardware configurations should be shared for transparency on a model's carbon footprint.

8.Successful Combination of Database Search and Snowballing for Identification of Primary Studies in Systematic Literature Studies

Authors:Claes Wohlin, Marcos Kalinowski, Katia Romero Felizardo, Emilia Mendes

Abstract: Background: A good search strategy is essential for a successful systematic literature study. Historically, database searches have been the norm, which has later been complemented with snowball searches. Our conjecture is that we can perform even better searches if combining the two search approaches, referred to as a hybrid search strategy. Objective: Our main objective was to compare and evaluate a hybrid search strategy. Furthermore, we compared some alternative hybrid search strategies to assess whether it was possible to identify more cost-efficient ways of searching for relevant primary studies. Method: To compare and evaluate the hybrid search strategy, we replicated an SLR on industry-academia collaboration in software engineering. The SLR used a more traditional approach to searching for relevant articles for an SLR, while the replication was conducted using a hybrid search strategy. Results: In our evaluation, the hybrid search strategy was superior in identifying relevant primary studies. It identified 30 percent more primary studies and even more when focusing only on peer-reviewed articles. To embrace individual viewpoints when assessing research articles and minimise the risk of missing primary studies, we introduced two new concepts, wild cards and borderline articles, when conducting systematic literature studies. Conclusions: The hybrid search strategy is a strong contender for being used when conducting systematic literature studies. Furthermore, alternative hybrid search strategies may be viable if selected wisely in relation to the start set for snowballing. Finally, the two new concepts were judged as essential to cater for different individual judgements and to minimise the risk of excluding primary studies that ought to be included.

1.Equivalence, Identity, and Unitarity Checking in Black-Box Testing of Quantum Programs

Authors:Peixun Long, Jianjun Zhao

Abstract: Quantum programs exhibit inherent non-deterministic behavior, which poses more significant challenges for error discovery compared to classical programs. While several testing methods have been proposed for quantum programs, they often overlook fundamental questions in black-box testing. In this paper, we bridge this gap by presenting three novel algorithms specifically designed to address the challenges of equivalence, identity, and unitarity checking in black-box testing of quantum programs. We also explore optimization techniques for these algorithms, including specialized versions for equivalence and unitarity checking, and provide valuable insights into parameter selection to maximize performance and effectiveness. To evaluate the effectiveness of our proposed methods, we conducted comprehensive experimental evaluations, which demonstrate that our methods can rigorously perform equivalence, identity, and unitarity checking, offering robust support for black-box testing of quantum programs.

2.Natural Language Generation and Understanding of Big Code for AI-Assisted Programming: A Review

Authors:Man Fai Wong, Shangxin Guo, Ching Nam Hang, Siu Wai Ho, Chee Wei Tan

Abstract: This paper provides a comprehensive review of the literature concerning the utilization of Natural Language Processing (NLP) techniques, with a particular focus on transformer-based large language models (LLMs) trained using Big Code, within the domain of AI-assisted programming tasks. LLMs, augmented with software naturalness, have played a crucial role in facilitating AI-assisted programming applications, including code generation, code completion, code translation, code refinement, code summarization, defect detection, and clone detection. Notable examples of such applications include the GitHub Copilot powered by OpenAI's Codex and DeepMind AlphaCode. This paper presents an overview of the major LLMs and their applications in downstream tasks related to AI-assisted programming. Furthermore, it explores the challenges and opportunities associated with incorporating NLP techniques with software naturalness in these applications, with a discussion on extending AI-assisted programming capabilities to Apple's Xcode for mobile software development. This paper also presents the challenges of and opportunities for incorporating NLP techniques with software naturalness, empowering developers with advanced coding assistance and streamlining the software development process.

1.Does Interdisciplinary Creative Coding Boost Creativity? A Mixed Methods Approach

Authors:Arne Duyver, Wouter Groeneveld, Kris Aerts

Abstract: This study explores the influence of an interdisciplinary intervention on creative problem-solving skills. Literature deems such skills as vital for software engineering (SE) students in higher education. 39 SE students and graphic design (GD) students were randomly paired to work on an open-ended creative coding assignment in p5.js, an online JS-based Processing editor that makes it easy for novices to quickly and easily code visual webpages. Three categories were formed: the test group SE+GD (18 students), and control groups SE+SE (10) and GD+GD (11). A mixed methods approach was taken to gather and interpret results: Amabile's Consensual Assessment Technique provided a global creativity score for the finished product, the Creative Programming Problem Solving Test assessed three dimensions of the creative process (Ability, Mindset, Interaction), and 9 semi-structured follow-up interviews provided context and revealed underlying themes. The results indicate that, while the creativity of the end product initially takes a hit, the SE+GD groups' socio-interactive creativity levels increased. We also observed fixed mindsets towards creativity ("design students are more creative than we") that call for future work.

2.Toward a Mapping of Capability and Skill Models using Asset Administration Shells and Ontologies

Authors:Luis Miguel Vieira da Silva, Aljosha Köcher, Milapji Singh Gill, Marco Weiss, Alexander Fay

Abstract: In order to react efficiently to changes in production, resources and their functions must be integrated into plants in accordance with the plug and produce principle. In this context, research on so-called capabilities and skills has shown promise. However, there are currently two incompatible approaches to modeling capabilities and skills. On the one hand, formal descriptions using ontologies have been developed. On the other hand, there are efforts to standardize submodels of the Asset Administration Shell (AAS) for this purpose. In this paper, we present ongoing research to connect these two incompatible modeling approaches. Both models are analyzed to identify comparable as well as dissimilar model elements. Subsequently, we present a concept for a bidirectional mapping between AAS submodels and a capability and skill ontology. For this purpose, two unidirectional, declarative mappings are applied that implement transformations from one modeling approach to the other - and vice versa.

3.Tales from the Git: Automating the detection of secrets on code and assessing developers' passwords choices

Authors:Nikolaos Lykousas, Constantinos Patsakis

Abstract: Typical users are known to use and reuse weak passwords. Yet, as cybersecurity concerns continue to rise, understanding the password practices of software developers becomes increasingly important. In this work, we examine developers' passwords on public repositories. Our dedicated crawler collected millions of passwords from public GitHub repositories; however, our focus is on their unique characteristics. To this end, this is the first study investigating the developer traits in password selection across different programming languages and contexts, e.g. email and database. Despite the fact that developers may have carelessly leaked their code on public repositories, our findings indicate that they tend to use significantly more secure passwords, regardless of the underlying programming language and context. Nevertheless, when the context allows, they often resort to similar password selection criteria as typical users. The public availability of such information in a cleartext format indicates that there is still much room for improvement and that further targeted awareness campaigns are necessary.

4.Cloud Native Software Engineering

Authors:Brian S. Mitchell

Abstract: Cloud compute adoption has been growing since its inception in the early 2000's with estimates that the size of this market in terms of worldwide spend will increase from \$700 billion in 2021 to \$1.3 trillion in 2025. While there is a significant research activity in many areas of cloud computing technologies, we see little attention being paid to advancing software engineering practices needed to support the current and next generation of cloud native applications. By cloud native, we mean software that is designed and built specifically for deployment to a modern cloud platform. This paper frames the landscape of Cloud Native Software Engineering from a practitioners standpoint, and identifies several software engineering research opportunities that should be investigated. We cover specific engineering challenges associated with software architectures commonly used in cloud applications along with incremental challenges that are expected with emerging IoT/Edge computing use cases.

5.A Vision for Flexibile GLSP-based Web Modeling Tools

Authors:Dominik Bork, Philip Langer, Tobias Ortmayr

Abstract: In the past decade, the modeling community has produced many feature-rich modeling editors and tool prototypes not only for modeling standards but particularly also for many domain-specific languages. More recently, however, web-based modeling tools have started to become increasingly popular for visualizing and editing models adhering to such languages in the industry. This new generation of modeling tools is built with web technologies and offers much more flexibility when it comes to their user experience, accessibility, reuse, and deployment options. One of the technologies behind this new generation of tools is the Graphical Language Server Platform (GLSP), an open-source client-server framework hosted under the Eclipse foundation, which allows tool providers to build modern diagram editors for modeling tools that run in the browser or can be easily integrated into IDEs such as Eclipse, VS Code, or Eclipse Theia. In this paper, we describe our vision of more flexible modeling tools which is based on our experiences from developing several GLSP-based modeling tools. With that, we aim at sparking a new line of research and innovation in the modeling community for modeling tool development practices and to explore opportunities, advantages, or limitations of web-based modeling tools, as well as bridge the gap between scientific tool prototypes and industrial tools being used in practice.

1.Testing Multi-Subroutine Quantum Programs: From Unit Testing to Integration Testing

Authors:Peixun Long, Jianjun Zhao

Abstract: Quantum computing has emerged as a promising field with the potential to revolutionize various domains by harnessing the principles of quantum mechanics. As quantum hardware and algorithms continue to advance, the development of high-quality quantum software has become crucial. However, testing quantum programs poses unique challenges due to the distinctive characteristics of quantum systems and the complexity of multi-subroutine programs. In this paper, we address the specific testing requirements of multi-subroutine quantum programs. We begin by investigating critical properties through a survey of existing quantum libraries, providing insights into the challenges associated with testing these programs. Building upon this understanding, we present a systematic testing process tailored to the intricacies of quantum programming. The process covers unit testing and integration testing, with a focus on aspects such as IO analysis, quantum relation checking, structural testing, behavior testing, and test case generation. We also introduce novel testing principles and criteria to guide the testing process. To evaluate our proposed approach, we conduct comprehensive testing on typical quantum subroutines, including diverse mutations and randomized inputs. The analysis of failures provides valuable insights into the effectiveness of our testing methodology. Additionally, we present case studies on representative multi-subroutine quantum programs, demonstrating the practical application and effectiveness of our proposed testing processes, principles, and criteria.

1.IoT Data Processing for Smart City and Semantic Web Applications

Authors:Shubham Mante

Abstract: The world has been experiencing rapid urbanization over the last few decades, putting a strain on existing city infrastructure such as waste management, water supply management, public transport and electricity consumption. We are also seeing increasing pollution levels in cities threatening the environment, natural resources and health conditions. However, we must realize that the real growth lies in urbanization as it provides many opportunities to individuals for better employment, healthcare and better education. However, it is imperative to limit the ill effects of rapid urbanization through integrated action plans to enable the development of growing cities. This gave rise to the concept of a smart city in which all available information associated with a city will be utilized systematically for better city management. The proposed system architecture is divided in subsystems and is discussed in individual chapters. The first chapter introduces and gives overview to the reader of the complete system architecture. The second chapter discusses the data monitoring system and data lake system based on the oneM2M standards. DMS employs oneM2M as a middleware layer to achieve interoperability, and DLS uses a multi-tenant architecture with multiple logical databases, enabling efficient and reliable data management. The third chapter discusses energy monitoring and electric vehicle charging systems developed to illustrate the applicability of the oneM2M standards. The fourth chapter discusses the Data Exchange System based on the Indian Urban Data Exchange framework. DES uses IUDX standard data schema and open APIs to avoid data silos and enable secure data sharing. The fifth chapter discusses the 5D-IoT framework that provides uniform data quality assessment of sensor data with meaningful data descriptions.

2.Divide and Conquer the EmpiRE: A Community-Maintainable Knowledge Graph of Empirical Research in Requirements Engineering

Authors:Oliver Karras, Felix Wernlein, Jil Klünder, Sören Auer

Abstract: [Background.] Empirical research in requirements engineering (RE) is a constantly evolving topic, with a growing number of publications. Several papers address this topic using literature reviews to provide a snapshot of its "current" state and evolution. However, these papers have never built on or updated earlier ones, resulting in overlap and redundancy. The underlying problem is the unavailability of data from earlier works. Researchers need technical infrastructures to conduct sustainable literature reviews. [Aims.] We examine the use of the Open Research Knowledge Graph (ORKG) as such an infrastructure to build and publish an initial Knowledge Graph of Empirical research in RE (KG-EmpiRE) whose data is openly available. Our long-term goal is to continuously maintain KG-EmpiRE with the research community to synthesize a comprehensive, up-to-date, and long-term available overview of the state and evolution of empirical research in RE. [Method.] We conduct a literature review using the ORKG to build and publish KG-EmpiRE which we evaluate against competency questions derived from a published vision of empirical research in software (requirements) engineering for 2020 - 2025. [Results.] From 570 papers of the IEEE International Requirements Engineering Conference (2000 - 2022), we extract and analyze data on the reported empirical research and answer 16 out of 77 competency questions. These answers show a positive development towards the vision, but also the need for future improvements. [Conclusions.] The ORKG is a ready-to-use and advanced infrastructure to organize data from literature reviews as knowledge graphs. The resulting knowledge graphs make the data openly available and maintainable by research communities, enabling sustainable literature reviews.

3.A Query Language for Software Architecture Information (Extended version)

Authors:Joshua Ammermann, Sven Jordan, Lukas Linsbauer, Ina Schaefer

Abstract: Software maintenance is an important part of a software system's life cycle. Maintenance tasks of existing software systems suffer from architecture information that is diverging over time (architectural drift). The Digital Architecture Twin (DArT) can support software maintenance by providing up-to-date architecture information. For this, the DArT gathers such information and co-evolves with a software system, enabling continuous reverse engineering. But the crucial link for stakeholders to retrieve this information is missing. To fill this gap, we contribute the Architecture Information Query Language (AIQL), which enables stakeholders to access up-to-date and tailored architecture information. We derived four application scenarios in the context of continuous reverse engineering. We showed that the AIQL provides the required functionality to formulate queries for the application scenarios and that the language scales for use with real-world software systems. In a user study, stakeholders agreed that the language is easy to understand and assessed its value to the specific stakeholder for the application scenarios.

4.Noise-Aware Quantum Software Testing

Authors:Asmar Muqeet, Tao Yue, Shaukat Ali, Paolo Arcaini

Abstract: Quantum Computing (QC) promises computational speedup over classic computing for solving some complex problems. However, noise exists in current and near-term quantum computers. Quantum software testing (for gaining confidence in quantum software's correctness) is inevitably impacted by noise, to the extent that it is impossible to know if a test case failed due to noise or real faults. Existing testing techniques test quantum programs without considering noise, i.e., by executing tests on ideal quantum computer simulators. Consequently, they are not directly applicable to testing quantum software on real QC hardware or noisy simulators. To this end, we propose a noise-aware approach (named QOIN) to alleviate the noise effect on test results of quantum programs. QOIN employs machine learning techniques (e.g., transfer learning) to learn the noise effect of a quantum computer and filter it from a quantum program's outputs. Such filtered outputs are then used as the input to perform test case assessments (determining the passing or failing of a test case execution against a test oracle). We evaluated QOIN on IBM's 23 noise models with nine real-world quantum programs and 1000 artificial quantum programs. We also generated faulty versions of these programs to check if a failing test case execution can be determined under noise. Results show that QOIN can reduce the noise effect by more than $80\%$. To check QOIN's effectiveness for quantum software testing, we used an existing test oracle for quantum software testing. The results showed that the F1-score of the test oracle was improved on average by $82\%$ for six real-world programs and by $75\%$ for 800 artificial programs, demonstrating that QOIN can effectively learn noise patterns and enable noise-aware quantum software testing.

5.RAPGen: An Approach for Fixing Code Inefficiencies in Zero-Shot

Authors:Spandan Garg, Roshanak Zilouchian Moghaddam, Neel Sundaresan

Abstract: Performance bugs are non-functional bugs that can even manifest in well-tested commercial products. Fixing these performance bugs is an important yet challenging problem. In this work, we address this challenge and present a new approach called Retrieval-Augmented Prompt Generation (RAPGen). Given a code snippet with a performance issue, RAPGen first retrieves a prompt instruction from a pre-constructed knowledge-base of previous performance bug fixes and then generates a prompt using the retrieved instruction. It then uses this prompt on a Large Language Model (such as Codex) in zero-shot to generate a fix. We compare our approach with the various prompt variations and state of the art methods in the task of performance bug fixing. Our evaluation shows that RAPGen can generate performance improvement suggestions equivalent or better than a developer in ~60% of the cases, getting ~39% of them verbatim, in an expert-verified dataset of past performance changes made by C# developers.

1.MLSMM: Machine Learning Security Maturity Model

Authors:Felix Jedrzejewski, Davide Fucci, Oleksandr Adamov

Abstract: Assessing the maturity of security practices during the development of Machine Learning (ML) based software components has not gotten as much attention as traditional software development. In this Blue Sky idea paper, we propose an initial Machine Learning Security Maturity Model (MLSMM) which organizes security practices along the ML-development lifecycle and, for each, establishes three levels of maturity. We envision MLSMM as a step towards closer collaboration between industry and academia.

2.A systematic literature review on source code similarity measurement and clone detection: techniques, applications, and challenges

Authors:Morteza Zakeri-Nasrabadi, Saeed Parsa, Mohammad Ramezani, Chanchal Roy, Masoud Ekhtiarzadeh

Abstract: Measuring and evaluating source code similarity is a fundamental software engineering activity that embraces a broad range of applications, including but not limited to code recommendation, duplicate code, plagiarism, malware, and smell detection. This paper proposes a systematic literature review and meta-analysis on code similarity measurement and evaluation techniques to shed light on the existing approaches and their characteristics in different applications. We initially found over 10000 articles by querying four digital libraries and ended up with 136 primary studies in the field. The studies were classified according to their methodology, programming languages, datasets, tools, and applications. A deep investigation reveals 80 software tools, working with eight different techniques on five application domains. Nearly 49% of the tools work on Java programs and 37% support C and C++, while there is no support for many programming languages. A noteworthy point was the existence of 12 datasets related to source code similarity measurement and duplicate codes, of which only eight datasets were publicly accessible. The lack of reliable datasets, empirical evaluations, hybrid methods, and focuses on multi-paradigm languages are the main challenges in the field. Emerging applications of code similarity measurement concentrate on the development phase in addition to the maintenance.

3.FuzzyFlow: Leveraging Dataflow To Find and Squash Program Optimization Bugs

Authors:Philipp Schaad, Timo Schneider, Tal Ben-Nun, Alexandru Calotoiu, Alexandros Nikolaos Ziogas, Torsten Hoefler

Abstract: The current hardware landscape and application scale is driving performance engineers towards writing bespoke optimizations. Verifying such optimizations, and generating minimal failing cases, is important for robustness in the face of changing program conditions, such as inputs and sizes. However, isolation of minimal test-cases from existing applications and generating new configurations are often difficult due to side effects on the system state, mostly related to dataflow. This paper introduces FuzzyFlow: a fault localization and test case extraction framework designed to test program optimizations. We leverage dataflow program representations to capture a fully reproducible system state and area-of-effect for optimizations to enable fast checking for semantic equivalence. To reduce testing time, we design an algorithm for minimizing test inputs, trading off memory for recomputation. We demonstrate FuzzyFlow on example use cases in real-world applications where the approach provides up to 528 times faster optimization testing and debugging compared to traditional approaches.

4.Characterizing Deep Learning Package Supply Chains in PyPI: Domains, Clusters, and Disengagement

Authors:Kai Gao, Runzhi He, Bing Xie, Minghui Zhou

Abstract: Deep learning (DL) package supply chains (SCs) are critical for DL frameworks to remain competitive. However, vital knowledge on the nature of DL package SCs is still lacking. In this paper, we explore the domains, clusters, and disengagement of packages in two representative PyPI DL package SCs to bridge this knowledge gap. We analyze the metadata of nearly six million PyPI package distributions and construct version-sensitive SCs for two popular DL frameworks: TensorFlow and PyTorch. We find that popular packages (measured by the number of monthly downloads) in the two SCs cover 34 domains belonging to eight categories. Applications, Infrastructure, and Sciences categories account for over 85% of popular packages in either SC and TensorFlow and PyTorch SC have developed specializations on Infrastructure and Applications packages respectively. We employ the Leiden community detection algorithm and detect 131 and 100 clusters in the two SCs. The clusters mainly exhibit four shapes: Arrow, Star, Tree, and Forest with increasing dependency complexity. Most clusters are Arrow or Star, but Tree and Forest clusters account for most packages (Tensorflow SC: 70%, PyTorch SC: 90%). We identify three groups of reasons why packages disengage from the SC (i.e., remove the DL framework and its dependents from their installation dependencies): dependency issues, functional improvements, and ease of installation. The most common disengagement reason in the two SCs are different. Our study provides rich implications on the maintenance and dependency management practices of PyPI DL SCs.

1.A Meta-analytical Comparison of Naive Bayes and Random Forest for Software Defect Prediction

Authors:Ch Muhammad Awais, Wei Gu, Gcinizwe Dlamini, Zamira Kholmatova, Giancarlo Succi

Abstract: Is there a statistical difference between Naive Bayes and Random Forest in terms of recall, f-measure, and precision for predicting software defects? By utilizing systematic literature review and meta-analysis, we are answering this question. We conducted a systematic literature review by establishing criteria to search and choose papers, resulting in five studies. After that, using the meta-data and forest-plots of five chosen papers, we conducted a meta-analysis to compare the two models. The results have shown that there is no significant statistical evidence that Naive Bayes perform differently from Random Forest in terms of recall, f-measure, and precision.

2.Automated Static Warning Identification via Path-based Semantic Representation

Authors:Yuwei Zhang, Ying Xing, Ge Li, Zhi Jin

Abstract: Despite their ability to aid developers in detecting potential defects early in the software development life cycle, static analysis tools often suffer from precision issues (i.e., high false positive rates of reported alarms). To improve the availability of these tools, many automated warning identification techniques have been proposed to assist developers in classifying false positive alarms. However, existing approaches mainly focus on using hand-engineered features or statement-level abstract syntax tree token sequences to represent the defective code, failing to capture semantics from the reported alarms. To overcome the limitations of traditional approaches, this paper employs deep neural networks' powerful feature extraction and representation abilities to generate code semantics from control flow graph paths for warning identification. The control flow graph abstractly represents the execution process of a given program. Thus, the generated path sequences of the control flow graph can guide the deep neural networks to learn semantic information about the potential defect more accurately. In this paper, we fine-tune the pre-trained language model to encode the path sequences and capture the semantic representations for model building. Finally, this paper conducts extensive experiments on eight open-source projects to verify the effectiveness of the proposed approach by comparing it with the state-of-the-art baselines.

1.LiResolver: License Incompatibility Resolution for Open Source Software

Authors:Sihan Xu, Ya Gao, Lingling Fan, Linyu Li, Xiangrui Cai, Zheli Liu

Abstract: Open source software (OSS) licenses regulate the conditions under which OSS can be legally reused, distributed, and modified. However, a common issue arises when incorporating third-party OSS accompanied with licenses, i.e., license incompatibility, which occurs when multiple licenses exist in one project and there are conflicts between them. Despite being problematic, fixing license incompatibility issues requires substantial efforts due to the lack of license understanding and complex package dependency. In this paper, we propose LiResolver, a fine-grained, scalable, and flexible tool to resolve license incompatibility issues for open source software. Specifically, it first understands the semantics of licenses through fine-grained entity extraction and relation extraction. Then, it detects and resolves license incompatibility issues by recommending official licenses in priority. When no official licenses can satisfy the constraints, it generates a custom license as an alternative solution. Comprehensive experiments demonstrate the effectiveness of LiResolver, with 4.09% false positive (FP) rate and 0.02% false negative (FN) rate for incompatibility issue localization, and 62.61% of 230 real-world incompatible projects resolved by LiResolver. We discuss the feedback from OSS developers and the lessons learned from this work. All the datasets and the replication package of LiResolver have been made publicly available to facilitate follow-up research.

2.Can An Old Fashioned Feature Extraction and A Light-weight Model Improve Vulnerability Type Identification Performance?

Authors:Hieu Dinh Vo, Son Nguyen

Abstract: Recent advances in automated vulnerability detection have achieved potential results in helping developers determine vulnerable components. However, after detecting vulnerabilities, investigating to fix vulnerable code is a non-trivial task. In fact, the types of vulnerability, such as buffer overflow or memory corruption, could help developers quickly understand the nature of the weaknesses and localize vulnerabilities for security analysis. In this work, we investigate the problem of vulnerability type identification (VTI). The problem is modeled as the multi-label classification task, which could be effectively addressed by "pre-training, then fine-tuning" framework with deep pre-trained embedding models. We evaluate the performance of the well-known and advanced pre-trained models for VTI on a large set of vulnerabilities. Surprisingly, their performance is not much better than that of the classical baseline approach with an old-fashioned bag-of-word, TF-IDF. Meanwhile, these deep neural network approaches cost much more resources and require GPU. We also introduce a lightweight independent component to refine the predictions of the baseline approach. Our idea is that the types of vulnerabilities could strongly correlate to certain code tokens (distinguishing tokens) in several crucial parts of programs. The distinguishing tokens for each vulnerability type are statistically identified based on their prevalence in the type versus the others. Our results show that the baseline approach enhanced by our component can outperform the state-of-the-art deep pre-trained approaches while retaining very high efficiency. Furthermore, the proposed component could also improve the neural network approaches by up to 92.8% in macro-average F1.

3.Adopting the Actor Model for Antifragile Serverless Architectures

Authors:Marcel Mraz, Hind Bangui, Bruno Rossi, Barbora Buhnova

Abstract: Antifragility is a novel concept focusing on letting software systems learn and improve over time based on sustained adverse events such as failures. The actor model has been proposed to deal with concurrent computation and has recently been adopted in several serverless platforms. In this paper, we propose a new idea for supporting the adoption of supervision strategies in serverless systems to improve the antifragility properties of such systems. We define a predictive strategy based on the concept of stressors (e.g., injecting failures), in which actors or a hierarchy of actors can be impacted and analyzed for systems' improvement. The proposed solution can improve the system's resiliency in exchange for higher complexity but goes in the direction of building antifragile systems.

4.LongCoder: A Long-Range Pre-trained Language Model for Code Completion

Authors:Daya Guo, Canwen Xu, Nan Duan, Jian Yin, Julian McAuley

Abstract: In this paper, we introduce a new task for code completion that focuses on handling long code input and propose a sparse Transformer model, called LongCoder, to address this task. LongCoder employs a sliding window mechanism for self-attention and introduces two types of globally accessible tokens - bridge tokens and memory tokens - to improve performance and efficiency. Bridge tokens are inserted throughout the input sequence to aggregate local information and facilitate global interaction, while memory tokens are included to highlight important statements that may be invoked later and need to be memorized, such as package imports and definitions of classes, functions, or structures. We conduct experiments on a newly constructed dataset that contains longer code context and the publicly available CodeXGLUE benchmark. Experimental results demonstrate that LongCoder achieves superior performance on code completion tasks compared to previous models while maintaining comparable efficiency in terms of computational resources during inference. All the codes and data are available at

1.Exploring Qualitative Research Using LLMs

Authors:Muneera Bano, Didar Zowghi, Jon Whittle

Abstract: The advent of AI driven large language models (LLMs) have stirred discussions about their role in qualitative research. Some view these as tools to enrich human understanding, while others perceive them as threats to the core values of the discipline. This study aimed to compare and contrast the comprehension capabilities of humans and LLMs. We conducted an experiment with small sample of Alexa app reviews, initially classified by a human analyst. LLMs were then asked to classify these reviews and provide the reasoning behind each classification. We compared the results with human classification and reasoning. The research indicated a significant alignment between human and ChatGPT 3.5 classifications in one third of cases, and a slightly lower alignment with GPT4 in over a quarter of cases. The two AI models showed a higher alignment, observed in more than half of the instances. However, a consensus across all three methods was seen only in about one fifth of the classifications. In the comparison of human and LLMs reasoning, it appears that human analysts lean heavily on their individual experiences. As expected, LLMs, on the other hand, base their reasoning on the specific word choices found in app reviews and the functional components of the app itself. Our results highlight the potential for effective human LLM collaboration, suggesting a synergistic rather than competitive relationship. Researchers must continuously evaluate LLMs role in their work, thereby fostering a future where AI and humans jointly enrich qualitative research.

1.Data Architecture for Digital Object Space Management Service (DOSM) using DAT

Authors:Moamin Abughazala, Henry Muccini

Abstract: The Internet of Things (IoT) data and social media data are two of the fastest-growing data segments. Having high-quality data is crucial for making informed business decisions. The strategic process of leveraging insights from data is known as data-driven decision-making. To achieve this, it is necessary to collect, store, analyze, and protect data in the best ways possible. Data architecture is a complex task that involves describing the flow of data from its source to its destination and creating a blueprint for managing the data to meet business needs for information. In this paper, we utilize the Data Architecture Tool (DAT) to model data for Digital Space Management Service, which was developed as part of the VASARI project. This work focuses on describing the movement of data, data formats, data location, data processing (batch or real-time), data storage technologies, and main operations on the data.

1.Automatic Inference of Resource Leak Specifications

Authors:Narges Shadab, Pritam Gharat, Shrey Tiwari, Michael D. Ernst, Martin Kellogg, Shuvendu Lahiri, Akash Lal, Manu Sridharan

Abstract: A resource leak occurs when a program fails to free some finite resource after it is no longer needed. Such leaks are a significant cause of real-world crashes and performance problems. Recent work proposed an approach to prevent resource leaks based on checking resource management specifications. These specifications are written in the form of program annotations that track the ownership relationship between objects and resources. While this specify-and-check approach has several advantages compared to prior techniques, the need to manually write annotations presents a significant barrier to its practical adoption. This paper presents a novel technique to automatically infer a resource management specification for a program, broadening the applicability of specify-and-check verification for resource leaks. Inference in this domain poses significant challenges because resource management specifications differ significantly in nature from the types that most inference techniques target. Further, for practical effectiveness, we desire a technique that can infer the resource management specification intended by the developer, even in cases when the code does not fully adhere to this specification. We address these challenges through a set of inference rules carefully designed to capture real-world coding patterns, yielding an effective fixed-point-based inference algorithm. We have implemented our inference algorithm in two different systems, targeting programs in the Java and C# programming languages. An experimental evaluation showed that our technique could infer 87% of the annotations written manually for the benchmarks. Further, the true positive rate for resource leak bugs achieved by the verifier when run after our fully-automatic inference nearly matched the rate achieved after manual annotation of the code.

2.A Chain of AI-based Solutions for Resolving FQNs and Fixing Syntax Errors in Partial Code

Authors:Qing Huang, Jiahui Zhu, Zhenchang Xing, Huan Jin, Changjing Wang, Xiwei Xu

Abstract: API documentation, technical blogs and programming Q&A sites contain numerous partial code that can be reused in programming tasks, but often these code are uncompilable due to unresolved names and syntax errors. To facilitate partial code reuse, we propose the Partial Code Reuse Chain (PCR-Chain) for resolving fully-qualified names (FQNs) and fixing last-mile syntax errors in partial code based on a giant large language model (LLM) like ChatGPT. Methodologically, PCR-Chain is backed up by the underlying global-level prompt architecture (which combines three design ideas: hierarchical task breakdown, prompt composition, and a mix of prompt-based AI and non-AI units) and the local-level prompt design. Technically, we propose PCR-Chain, which employs in-context learning rather than symbolic, costly training methods. Experimental results demonstrate that in dynamically-typed languages (Python), PCR-Chain outperforms current state-of-the-art (SOTA) 5% accuracy like RING. For statically-type languages (Java), our approach achieves high accuracy of 80.5% in resolving both non-FQNs and last-mile syntax errors, surpassing SOTA methods (RING) that can only address last-mile syntax errors. The correct execution of the unit, module, and PCR-Chain demonstrates the effectiveness of the prompt design, composition, and architecture and opens up possibilities for building software engineering tools based on LLMs, replacing traditional program analysis methods.

3.Prompt Sapper: A LLM-Empowered Production Tool for Building AI Chains

Authors:Yu Cheng, Jieshan Chen, Qing Huang, Zhenchang Xing, Xiwei Xu, Qinghua Lu

Abstract: The emergence of foundation models, such as large language models (LLMs) GPT-4 and text-to-image models DALL-E, has opened up numerous possibilities across various domains. People can now use natural language (i.e. prompts) to communicate with AI to perform tasks. While people can use foundation models through chatbots (e.g., ChatGPT), chat, regardless of the capabilities of the underlying models, is not a production tool for building reusable AI services. APIs like LangChain allow for LLM-based application development but require substantial programming knowledge, thus posing a barrier. To mitigate this, we propose the concept of AI chain and introduce the best principles and practices that have been accumulated in software engineering for decades into AI chain engineering, to systematise AI chain engineering methodology. We also develop a no-code integrated development environment, Prompt Sapper, which embodies these AI chain engineering principles and patterns naturally in the process of building AI chains, thereby improving the performance and quality of AI chains. With Prompt Sapper, AI chain engineers can compose prompt-based AI services on top of foundation models through chat-based requirement analysis and visual programming. Our user study evaluated and demonstrated the efficiency and correctness of Prompt Sapper.

4.ChatGPT as a tool for User Story Quality Evaluation: Trustworthy Out of the Box?

Authors:Krishna Ronanki, Beatriz Cabrero-Daniel, Christian Berger

Abstract: In Agile software development, user stories play a vital role in capturing and conveying end-user needs, prioritizing features, and facilitating communication and collaboration within development teams. However, automated methods for evaluating user stories require training in NLP tools and can be time-consuming to develop and integrate. This study explores using ChatGPT for user story quality evaluation and compares its performance with an existing benchmark. Our study shows that ChatGPT's evaluation aligns well with human evaluation, and we propose a ``best of three'' strategy to improve its output stability. We also discuss the concept of trustworthiness in AI and its implications for non-experts using ChatGPT's unprocessed outputs. Our research contributes to understanding the reliability and applicability of AI in user story evaluation and offers recommendations for future research.

5.DAT: Data Architecture Modeling Tool for Data-Driven Applications

Authors:Moamin Abughazala, Henry Muccini, Mohammad Sharaf

Abstract: Data is the key to success for any Data-Driven Organization, and managing it is considered the most challenging task. Data Architecture (DA) focuses on describing, collecting, storing, processing, and analyzing the data to meet business needs. In this tool demo paper, we present the DAT, a model-driven engineering tool enabling data architects, data engineers, and other stakeholders to describe how data flows through the system and provides a blueprint for managing data that saves time and effort dedicated to Data Architectures for IoT applications. We evaluated this work by modeling five case studies, receiving expressiveness and ease of use feedback from two companies, more than six researchers, and eighteen undergraduate students from the software architecture course

6.Improving Software Requirements Prioritization through the Lens of Constraint Solving

Authors:Jonathan Winton, Francis Palma

Abstract: Requirements prioritization is a critical activity during the early software development process, which produces a set of key requirements to implement. The prioritization process offers a parity among the requirements based on multiple characteristics, including end-users' preferences, cost to implement, and technical dependencies. This paper presents an interactive method to requirements prioritization that leverages the pairwise comparisons and a constraint solver. Our method employs an interactive accumulation of knowledge from the requirements analyst when the relative priority among the requirements cannot be determined based on the existing knowledge from the requirements documents. The final ranking of the requirements is produced via the constraint solver and interactive pairwise comparisons. We evaluate the proposed method using the requirements from a real healthcare project. The proposed prioritization method relying on a constraint solver outperforms state-of-the-art interactive prioritization methods in terms of effectiveness and robustness to analyst's errors.

1.Fingerprinting and Building Large Reproducible Datasets

Authors:Romain Lefeuvre, Jessie Galasso, Benoit Combemale, Houari Sahraoui, Stefano Zacchiroli

Abstract: Obtaining a relevant dataset is central to conducting empirical studies in software engineering. However, in the context of mining software repositories, the lack of appropriate tooling for large scale mining tasks hinders the creation of new datasets. Moreover, limitations related to data sources that change over time (e.g., code bases) and the lack of documentation of extraction processes make it difficult to reproduce datasets over time. This threatens the quality and reproducibility of empirical studies. In this paper, we propose a tool-supported approach facilitating the creation of large tailored datasets while ensuring their reproducibility. We leveraged all the sources feeding the Software Heritage append-only archive which are accessible through a unified programming interface to outline a reproducible and generic extraction process. We propose a way to define a unique fingerprint to characterize a dataset which, when provided to the extraction process, ensures that the same dataset will be extracted. We demonstrate the feasibility of our approach by implementing a prototype. We show how it can help reduce the limitations researchers face when creating or reproducing datasets.

2.Transparency in App Analytics: Analyzing the Collection of User Interaction Data

Authors:Feiyang Tang, Bjarte M. Østvold

Abstract: The rise of mobile apps has brought greater convenience and many options for users. However, many apps use analytics services to collect a wide range of user interaction data, with privacy policies often failing to reveal the types of interaction data collected or the extent of the data collection practices. This lack of transparency potentially breaches data protection laws and also undermines user trust. We conducted an analysis of the top 20 analytic libraries for Android apps to identify common practices of interaction data collection and used this information to develop a standardized collection claim template for summarizing an app's data collection practices wrt. user interaction data. We selected the top 100 apps from popular categories on Google Play and used automatic static analysis to extract collection evidence from their data collection implementations. Our analysis found that a significant majority of these apps actively collected interaction data from UI types such as View (89%), Button (76%), and Textfield (63%), highlighting the pervasiveness of user interaction data collection. By comparing the collection evidence to the claims derived from privacy policy analysis, we manually fact-checked the completeness and accuracy of these claims for the top 10 apps. We found that, except for one app, they all failed to declare all types of interaction data they collect and did not specify some of the collection techniques used.

3.Helping Code Reviewer Prioritize: Pinpointing Personal Data and its Processing

Authors:Feiyang Tang, Bjarte M. Østvold, Magiel Bruntink

Abstract: Ensuring compliance with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a crucial aspect of software development. This task, due to its time-consuming nature and requirement for specialized knowledge, is often deferred or delegated to specialized code reviewers. These reviewers, particularly when external to the development organization, may lack detailed knowledge of the software under review, necessitating the prioritization of their resources. To address this, we have designed two specialized views of a codebase to help code reviewers in prioritizing their work related to personal data: one view displays the types of personal data representation, while the other provides an abstract depiction of personal data processing, complemented by an optional detailed exploration of specific code snippets. Leveraging static analysis, our method identifies personal data-related code segments, thereby expediting the review process. Our approach, evaluated on four open-source GitHub applications, demonstrated a precision rate of 0.87 in identifying personal data flows. Additionally, we fact-checked the privacy statements of 15 Android applications. This solution, designed to augment the efficiency of GDPR-related privacy analysis tasks such as the Record of Processing Activities (ROPA), aims to conserve resources, thereby saving time and enhancing productivity for code reviewers.

4.Software Engineers' Questions and Answers on Stack Exchange

Authors:Matúš Sulír, Marcel Regeci

Abstract: There exists a large number of research works analyzing questions and answers on the popular Stack Overflow website. However, other sub-sites of the Stack Exchange platform are studied rarely. In this paper, we analyze the questions and answers on the Software Engineering Stack Exchange site that encompasses a broader set of areas, such as testing or software processes. Topics and quantities of the questions, historical trends, and the authors' sentiment were analyzed using downloaded datasets. We found that the asked questions are most frequently related to database systems, quality assurance, and agile software development. The most attractive topics were career and teamwork problems, and the least attractive ones were network programming and software modeling. Historically, the topic of domain-driven design recorded the highest rise, and jobs and career the most significant fall. The number of new questions dropped, while the portion of unanswered ones increased.

5.Designing Explainable Predictive Machine Learning Artifacts: Methodology and Practical Demonstration

Authors:Giacomo Welsch, Peter Kowalczyk

Abstract: Prediction-oriented machine learning is becoming increasingly valuable to organizations, as it may drive applications in crucial business areas. However, decision-makers from companies across various industries are still largely reluctant to employ applications based on modern machine learning algorithms. We ascribe this issue to the widely held view on advanced machine learning algorithms as "black boxes" whose complexity does not allow for uncovering the factors that drive the output of a corresponding system. To contribute to overcome this adoption barrier, we argue that research in information systems should devote more attention to the design of prototypical prediction-oriented machine learning applications (i.e., artifacts) whose predictions can be explained to human decision-makers. However, despite the recent emergence of a variety of tools that facilitate the development of such artifacts, there has so far been little research on their development. We attribute this research gap to the lack of methodological guidance to support the creation of these artifacts. For this reason, we develop a methodology which unifies methodological knowledge from design science research and predictive analytics with state-of-the-art approaches to explainable artificial intelligence. Moreover, we showcase the methodology using the example of price prediction in the sharing economy (i.e., on Airbnb).

6.A Survey on Automated Software Vulnerability Detection Using Machine Learning and Deep Learning

Authors:Nima Shiri Harzevili Jack, Alvine Boaye Belle Jack, Junjie Wang Jack, Song Wang Jack, Zhen Ming Jack, Jiang, Nachiappan Nagappan

Abstract: Software vulnerability detection is critical in software security because it identifies potential bugs in software systems, enabling immediate remediation and mitigation measures to be implemented before they may be exploited. Automatic vulnerability identification is important because it can evaluate large codebases more efficiently than manual code auditing. Many Machine Learning (ML) and Deep Learning (DL) based models for detecting vulnerabilities in source code have been presented in recent years. However, a survey that summarises, classifies, and analyses the application of ML/DL models for vulnerability detection is missing. It may be difficult to discover gaps in existing research and potential for future improvement without a comprehensive survey. This could result in essential areas of research being overlooked or under-represented, leading to a skewed understanding of the state of the art in vulnerability detection. This work address that gap by presenting a systematic survey to characterize various features of ML/DL-based source code level software vulnerability detection approaches via five primary research questions (RQs). Specifically, our RQ1 examines the trend of publications that leverage ML/DL for vulnerability detection, including the evolution of research and the distribution of publication venues. RQ2 describes vulnerability datasets used by existing ML/DL-based models, including their sources, types, and representations, as well as analyses of the embedding techniques used by these approaches. RQ3 explores the model architectures and design assumptions of ML/DL-based vulnerability detection approaches. RQ4 summarises the type and frequency of vulnerabilities that are covered by existing studies. Lastly, RQ5 presents a list of current challenges to be researched and an outline of a potential research roadmap that highlights crucial opportunities for future work.

7.Automated Grading and Feedback Tools for Programming Education: A Systematic Review

Authors:Marcus Messer, Neil C. C. Brown, Michael Kölling, Miaojing Shi

Abstract: We conducted a systematic literature review on automated grading and feedback tools for programming education. We analysed 121 research papers from 2017 to 2021 inclusive and categorised them based on skills assessed, grading approach, language paradigm, degree of automation and evaluation techniques. Most papers grade the correctness of object-oriented assignments. Typically, these tools use a dynamic technique, primarily unit testing, to provide grades and feedback to the students. However, compared to correctness grading, few tools assess readability, maintainability, or documentation, focusing solely on the presence of documentation, not documentation quality.

8.Towards a Definition of Complex Software System

Authors:Jan Žižka, Bruno Rossi, Tomáš Pitner

Abstract: Complex Systems were identified and studied in different fields, such as physics, biology, and economics. These systems exhibit exciting properties such as self-organization, robust order, and emergence. In recent years, software systems displaying behaviors associated with Complex Systems are starting to appear, and these behaviors are showing previously unknown potential (e.g., GPT-based applications). Yet, there is no commonly shared definition of a Complex Software System that can serve as a key reference for academia to support research in the area. In this paper, we adopt the theory-to-research strategy to extract properties of Complex Systems from research in other fields, mapping them to software systems to create a formal definition of a Complex Software System. We support the evolution of the properties through future validation, and we provide examples of the application of the definition. Overall, the definition will allow for a more precise, consistent, and rigorous frame of reference for conducting scientific research on software systems.

9.Outside the Sandbox: A Study of Input/Output Methods in Java

Authors:Matúš Sulír, Sergej Chodarev, Milan Nosáľ

Abstract: Programming languages often demarcate the internal sandbox, consisting of entities such as objects and variables, from the outside world, e.g., files or network. Although communication with the external world poses fundamental challenges for live programming, reversible debugging, testing, and program analysis in general, studies about this phenomenon are rare. In this paper, we present a preliminary empirical study about the prevalence of input/output (I/O) method usage in Java. We manually categorized 1435 native methods in a Java Standard Edition distribution into non-I/O and I/O-related methods, which were further classified into areas such as desktop or file-related ones. According to the static analysis of a call graph for 798 projects, about 57% of methods potentially call I/O natives. The results of dynamic analysis on 16 benchmarks showed that 21% of the executed methods directly or indirectly called an I/O native. We conclude that neglecting I/O is not a viable option for tool designers and suggest the integration of I/O-related metadata with source code to facilitate their querying.

10.Towards Understanding What Code Language Models Learned

Authors:Toufique Ahmed, Dian Yu, Chengxuan Huang, Cathy Wang, Prem Devanbu, Kenji Sagae

Abstract: Pre-trained language models are effective in a variety of natural language tasks, but it has been argued their capabilities fall short of fully learning meaning or understanding language. To understand the extent to which language models can learn some form of meaning, we investigate their ability to capture semantics of code beyond superficial frequency and co-occurrence. In contrast to previous research on probing models for linguistic features, we study pre-trained models in a setting that allows for objective and straightforward evaluation of a model's ability to learn semantics. In this paper, we examine whether such models capture the semantics of code, which is precisely and formally defined. Through experiments involving the manipulation of code fragments, we show that code pre-trained models of code learn a robust representation of the computational semantics of code that goes beyond superficial features of form alone

1.State-Of-The-Practice in Quality Assurance in Java-Based Open Source Software Development

Authors:Ali Khatami, Andy Zaidman

Abstract: To ensure the quality of software systems, software engineers can make use of a variety of quality assurance approaches, such as software testing, modern code review, automated static analysis, and build automation. Each of these quality assurance practices has been studied in depth in isolation, but there is a clear knowledge gap when it comes to our understanding of how these approaches are being used in conjunction or not. In our study, we broadly investigate whether and how these quality assurance approaches are being used in conjunction in the development of 1,454 popular open source software projects on GitHub. Our study indicates that typically projects do not follow all quality assurance practices together with high intensity. In fact, we only observe weak correlation among some quality assurance practices. In general, our study provides a deeper understanding of how existing quality assurance approaches are currently being used in Java-based open source software development. Besides, we specifically zoomed in on the more mature projects in our dataset, and generally, we observe that more mature projects are more intense in their application of the quality assurance practices, with more focus on their ASAT usage and code reviewing, but no strong change in their CI usage.

2.Improving Spectrum-Based Localization of Multiple Faults by Iterative Test Suite Reduction

Authors:Dylan Callaghan, Bernd Fischer

Abstract: Spectrum-based fault localization (SBFL) works well for single-fault programs but its accuracy decays for increasing fault numbers. We present FLITSR (Fault Localization by Iterative Test Suite Reduction), a novel SBFL extension that improves the localization of a given base metric specifically in the presence of multiple faults. FLITSR iteratively selects reduced versions of the test suite that better localize the individual faults in the system. This allows it to identify and re-rank faults ranked too low by the base metric because they were masked by other program elements. We evaluated FLITSR over method-level spectra from an existing large synthetic dataset comprising 75000 variants of 15 open-source projects with up to 32 injected faults, as well as method-level and statement-level spectra from a new dataset with 326 true multi-fault versions from the Defects4J benchmark set containing up to 14 real faults. For all three spectrum types we consistently see substantial reductions of the average wasted efforts at different fault levels, of 30%-90% over the best base metric, and generally similarly large increases in precision and recall, albeit with larger variance across the underlying projects. For the method-level real faults, FLITSR also substantially outperforms GRACE, a state-of-the-art learning-based fault localizer.

3.Approaching Unanticipated Consequences

Authors:Andrew Darby, Pete Sawyer, Nelly Bencomo

Abstract: In an ever-changing world, even software that fulfils its requirements may have un-envisioned aftereffects with significant impacts. We explored how such impacts can be better understood at the pre-design phase in support of organisational preparedness. We considered three real-world case studies and engaged with literature from several disciplines to develop a conceptual framework. Across three workshops with industry practitioners and academics creative strategies from speculative design practices were used to prompt engagement with the framework. We found participant groups navigated the model with either a convergent or divergent intent. The academics, operating in an exploratory mode, came to a broad understanding of a class of technologies through its impacts. Operating in an anticipatory mode the industry practitioners came to a specific understanding of a technology's potential in their workplace. The study demonstrated potential for the conceptual framework to be used as a tool with implications for research and practice.

1.The Upper Bound of Information Diffusion in Code Review

Authors:Michael Dorner, Daniel Mendez, Krzysztof Wnuk, Ehsan Zabardast, Jacek Czerwonka

Abstract: Background: Code review, the discussion around a code change among humans, forms a communication network that enables its participants to exchange and spread information. Although reported by qualitative studies, our understanding of the capability of code review as a communication network is still limited. Objective: In this article, we report on a first step towards evaluating the capability of code review as a communication network by quantifying how fast and how far information can spread through code review: the upper bound of information diffusion in code review. Method: In an in-silico experiment, we simulate an artificial information diffusion within large (Microsoft), mid-sized (Spotify), and small code review systems (Trivago) modelled as communication networks. We then measure the minimal topological and temporal distances between the participants to quantify how far and how fast information can spread in code review. Results: An average code review participants in the small and mid-sized code review systems can spread information to between 72% and 85% of all code review participants within four weeks independently of network size and tooling; for the large code review systems, we found an absolute boundary of about 11000 reachable participants. On average (median), information can spread between two participants in code review in less than five hops and less than five days. Conclusion: We found evidence that the communication network emerging from code review scales well and spreads information fast and broadly, corroborating the findings of prior qualitative work. The study lays the foundation for understanding and improving code review as a communication network.

2.MuRS: Mutant Ranking and Suppression using Identifier Templates

Authors:Zimin Chen, Malgorzata Salawa, Manushree Vijayvergiya, Goran Petrovic, Marko Ivankovic, Rene Just

Abstract: Diff-based mutation testing is a mutation testing approach that only mutates lines affected by a code change under review. Google's mutation testing service integrates diff-based mutation testing into the code review process and continuously gathers developer feedback on mutants surfaced during code review. To enhance the developer experience, the mutation testing service implements a number of suppression rules, which target not-useful mutants-that is, mutants that have consistently received negative developer feedback. However, while effective, manually implementing suppression rules require significant engineering time. An automatic system to rank and suppress mutants would facilitate the maintenance of the mutation testing service. This paper proposes and evaluates MuRS, an automated approach that groups mutants by patterns in the source code under test and uses these patterns to rank and suppress future mutants based on historical developer feedback on mutants in the same group. To evaluate MuRS, we conducted an A/B testing study, comparing MuRS to the existing mutation testing service. Despite the strong baseline, which uses manually developed suppression rules, the results show a statistically significantly lower negative feedback ratio of 11.45% for MuRS versus 12.41% for the baseline. The results also show that MuRS is able to recover existing suppression rules implemented in the baseline. Finally, the results show that statement-deletion mutant groups received both the most positive and negative developer feedback, suggesting a need for additional context that can distinguish between useful and not-useful mutants in these groups. Overall, MuRS has the potential to substantially reduce the development and maintenance cost for an effective mutation testing service by automatically learning suppression rules.

3.Fix Fairness, Don't Ruin Accuracy: Performance Aware Fairness Repair using AutoML

Authors:Giang Nguyen, Sumon Biswas, Hridesh Rajan

Abstract: Machine learning (ML) is increasingly being used in critical decision-making software, but incidents have raised questions about the fairness of ML predictions. To address this issue, new tools and methods are needed to mitigate bias in ML-based software. Previous studies have proposed bias mitigation algorithms that only work in specific situations and often result in a loss of accuracy. Our proposed solution is a novel approach that utilizes automated machine learning (AutoML) techniques to mitigate bias. Our approach includes two key innovations: a novel optimization function and a fairness-aware search space. By improving the default optimization function of AutoML and incorporating fairness objectives, we are able to mitigate bias with little to no loss of accuracy. Additionally, we propose a fairness-aware search space pruning method for AutoML to reduce computational cost and repair time. Our approach, built on the state-of-the-art Auto-Sklearn tool, is designed to reduce bias in real-world scenarios. In order to demonstrate the effectiveness of our approach, we evaluated our approach on four fairness problems and 16 different ML models, and our results show a significant improvement over the baseline and existing bias mitigation techniques. Our approach, Fair-AutoML, successfully repaired 60 out of 64 buggy cases, while existing bias mitigation techniques only repaired up to 44 out of 64 cases.

1.Ethical Aspects of ChatGPT in Software Engineering Research

Authors:Muhammad Azeem Akbar, Arif Ali Khan, Peng Liang

Abstract: ChatGPT can improve Software Engineering (SE) research practices by offering efficient, accessible information analysis and synthesis based on natural language interactions. However, ChatGPT could bring ethical challenges, encompassing plagiarism, privacy, data security, and the risk of generating biased or potentially detrimental data. This research aims to fill the given gap by elaborating on the key elements: motivators, demotivators, and ethical principles of using ChatGPT in SE research. To achieve this objective, we conducted a literature survey, identified the mentioned elements, and presented their relationships by developing a taxonomy. Further, the identified literature-based elements (motivators, demotivators, and ethical principles) were empirically evaluated by conducting a comprehensive questionnaire-based survey involving SE researchers. Additionally, we employed Interpretive Structure Modeling (ISM) approach to analyze the relationships between the ethical principles of using ChatGPT in SE research and develop a level based decision model. We further conducted a Cross-Impact Matrix Multiplication Applied to Classification (MICMAC) analysis to create a cluster-based decision model. These models aim to help SE researchers devise effective strategies for ethically integrating ChatGPT into SE research by following the identified principles through adopting the motivators and addressing the demotivators. The findings of this study will establish a benchmark for incorporating ChatGPT services in SE research with an emphasis on ethical considerations.

2.Economical Accommodations for Neurodivergent Students in Software Engineering Education: Experiences from an Intervention in Four Undergraduate Courses

Authors:Grischa Liebel, Steinunn Gróa Sigurðardóttir

Abstract: Neurodiversity is an umbrella term that describes variation in brain function among individuals, including conditions such as Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), or dyslexia. Neurodiversity is common in the general population, with an estimated 5.0% to 7.1% and 7% of the world population being diagnosed with ADHD and dyslexia respectively. Neurodivergent (ND) individuals often experience challenges in specific tasks, such as difficulties in communication or a reduced attention span in comparison to neurotypical (NT) individuals. However, they also exhibit specific strengths, such as high creativity or attention to detail. Therefore, improving the inclusion of ND individuals is desirable for economic, ethical, and for talent reasons. In higher education, struggles of ND students are well-documented. Common issues in this area are a lack of awareness among other students and staff, forms of assessment that are particularly challenging for some students, and a lack of offered accommodations. These factors commonly lead to stress, anxiety, and ultimately a risk of dropping out of the studies. Accommodations for ND students can require substantial effort. However, smaller changes in course material can already have major impact. In this chapter, we summarise the lessons learned from an intervention in four courses in undergraduate computer science programmes at Reykjavik University, Iceland, over a period of two terms. Following accessibility guidelines produced by interest groups for different ND conditions, we created course material in the form of slides and assignments specifically tailored to ND audiences. We focused on small, economical changes that could be replicated by educators with a minimal investment of time. We evaluated the success of our intervention through two surveys, showing an overall positive response among ND students and NT students.

3.Automating Microservices Test Failure Analysis using Kubernetes Cluster Logs

Authors:Pawan Kumar Sarika, Deepika Badampudi, Sai Prashanth Josyula, Muhammad Usman

Abstract: Kubernetes is a free, open-source container orchestration system for deploying and managing Docker containers that host microservices. Kubernetes cluster logs help in determining the reason for the failure. However, as systems become more complex, identifying failure reasons manually becomes more difficult and time-consuming. This study aims to identify effective and efficient classification algorithms to automatically determine the failure reason. We compare five classification algorithms, Support Vector Machines, K-Nearest Neighbors, Random Forest, Gradient Boosting Classifier, and Multilayer Perceptron. Our results indicate that Random Forest produces good accuracy while requiring fewer computational resources than other algorithms.

1.A Survey of Modern Compiler Fuzzing

Authors:Haoyang Ma

Abstract: Most software that runs on computers undergoes processing by compilers. Since compilers constitute the fundamental infrastructure of software development, their correctness is paramount. Over the years, researchers have invested in analyzing, understanding, and characterizing the bug features over mainstream compilers. These studies have demonstrated that compilers correctness requires greater research attention, and they also pave the way for compiler fuzzing. To improve compilers correctness, researchers have proposed numerous compiler fuzzing techniques. These techniques were initially developed for testing traditional compilers such as GCC/LLVM and have since been generalized to test various newly developed, domain-specific compilers, such as graphics shader compilers and deep learning (DL) compilers. In this survey, we provide a comprehensive summary of the research efforts for understanding and addressing compilers defects. Specifically, this survey mainly covers two aspects. First, it covers researchers investigation and expertise on compilers bugs, such as their symptoms and root causes. The compiler bug studies cover GCC/LLVM, JVM compilers, and DL compilers. In addition, it covers researchers efforts in designing fuzzing techniques, including constructing test programs and designing test oracles. Besides discussing the existing work, this survey outlines several open challenges and highlights research opportunities.

2.LIVABLE: Exploring Long-Tailed Classification of Software Vulnerability Types

Authors:Xin-Cheng Wen, Cuiyun Gao, Feng Luo, Haoyu Wang, Ge Li, Qing Liao

Abstract: Prior studies generally focus on software vulnerability detection and have demonstrated the effectiveness of Graph Neural Network (GNN)-based approaches for the task. Considering the various types of software vulnerabilities and the associated different degrees of severity, it is also beneficial to determine the type of each vulnerable code for developers. In this paper, we observe that the distribution of vulnerability type is long-tailed in practice, where a small portion of classes have massive samples (i.e., head classes) but the others contain only a few samples (i.e., tail classes). Directly adopting previous vulnerability detection approaches tends to result in poor detection performance, mainly due to two reasons. First, it is difficult to effectively learn the vulnerability representation due to the over-smoothing issue of GNNs. Second, vulnerability types in tails are hard to be predicted due to the extremely few associated samples.To alleviate these issues, we propose a Long-taIled software VulnerABiLity typE classification approach, called LIVABLE. LIVABLE mainly consists of two modules, including (1) vulnerability representation learning module, which improves the propagation steps in GNN to distinguish node representations by a differentiated propagation method. A sequence-to-sequence model is also involved to enhance the vulnerability representations. (2) adaptive re-weighting module, which adjusts the learning weights for different types according to the training epochs and numbers of associated samples by a novel training loss.

3.Assessing the Impact of File Ordering Strategies on Code Review Process

Authors:Farid Bagirov, Pouria Derakhshanfar, Alexey Kalina, Elena Kartysheva, Vladimir Kovalenko

Abstract: Popular modern code review tools (e.g. Gerrit and GitHub) sort files in a code review in alphabetical order. A prior study (on open-source projects) shows that the changed files' positions in the code review affect the review process. Their results show that files placed lower in the order have less chance of receiving reviewing efforts than the other files. Hence, there is a higher chance of missing defects in these files. This paper explores the impact of file order in the code review of the well-known industrial project IntelliJ IDEA. First, we verify the results of the prior study on a big proprietary software project. Then, we explore an alternative to the default Alphabetical order: ordering changed files according to their code diff. Our results confirm the observations of the previous study. We discover that reviewers leave more comments on the files shown higher in the code review. Moreover, these results show that, even with the data skewed toward Alphabetical order, ordering changed files according to their code diff performs better than standard Alphabetical order regarding placing problematic files, which needs more reviewing effort, in the code review. These results confirm that exploring various ordering strategies for code review needs more exploration.

4.Automated use case diagram generator using NLP and ML

Authors:Rukshan Piyumadu Dias, C. S. L. Vidanapathirana, Rukshala Weerasinghe, Asitha Manupiya, R. M. S. J. Bandara, Y. P. H. W. Ranasinghe

Abstract: This paper presents a novel approach to generate a use case diagram by analyzing the given user story using NLP and ML. Use case diagrams play a major role in the designing phase of the SDLC. This proves the fact that automating the use case diagram designing process would save a lot of time and effort. Numerous manual and semi-automated tools have been developed previously. This paper also discusses the need for use case diagrams and problems faced during designing that. This paper is an attempt to solve those issues by generating the use case diagram in a fully automatic manner.

5.A UML Profile for Bitcoin Blockchain

Authors:Behrouz Sefid-Dashti, Javad Salimi Sartakhti, Hassan Daghigh

Abstract: Blockchain has received attention for its potential use in business. Bitcoin is powered by blockchain, and interest in it has surged in the past few years. It has many uses that need to be modeled. Modeling is used in many walks of life to share ideas, reduce complexity, achieve close alignment of one person viewpoint with another and provide abstractions of a system at some level of precision and detail. Software modeling is used in Model Driven Engineering (MDE), and Domain Specific Languages (DSLs) ease model development and provide intuitive syntax for domain experts. The present study has designed and evaluated a meta-model for the bitcoin application domain to facilitate application development and help in truly understanding bitcoin. The proposed meta-model, including stereotypes, tagged values, enumerations and a set of constraints defined by Object Constraint Language (OCL), was defined as a Unified Modeling Language (UML) profile and was implemented in the Sparx Enterprise Architect (Sparx EA) modeling tool. A case study developed by our meta-model is also presented.

1.Connecting the Dots of Knowledge in Agile Software Development

Authors:Raquel Ouriques, Tony Gorschek, Daniel Mendez, Fabian Fagerholm

Abstract: This article discusses the importance of managing knowledge as a resource due to its great potential to create economic value. We detail the types of knowledge resources, the challenges associated with their management, and potential solutions to maximise their utility. Our contribution is based on empirical studies performed in an industry context.

2.Preliminary Guideline for Creating Boundary Artefacts in Software Engineering

Authors:Raquel Ouriques, Fabian Fagerholm, Daniel Mendez, Tony Gorschek, Baldvin Gislason Bern

Abstract: Context: Software development benefits from having Boundary Artefacts (BAs), as a single artefact can supply stakeholders with different boundaries, facilitating collaboration among social worlds. When those artefacts display inconsistencies, such as incorrect information, the practitioners have decreased trust in the BA. As trust is an essential factor guiding the utilisation of BAs in software projects, it is necessary to understand which principles should be observed when creating them. Objective: This study aimed at develop and validate a preliminary guideline support the creation of trustworthy BAs. Method: We followed a multi-step approach. We developed our guideline through a literature review and previous results from our case study. Second, we submitted the guideline for an expert evaluation via two workshops and a survey. At last, we adjusted our guideline by incorporating the feedback obtained during the workshops. Results: We grouped the principles collected from a literature review into three categories. The first category (Scope) focuses on the scope, displaying principles referring to defining each boundary's target audience, needs, and terminology. The second category (Structure) relates to how the artefact's content is structured to meet stakeholders' needs. The third (Management) refers to principles that can guide the establishment of practices to manage the artefact throughout time. The expert validation revealed that the principles contribute to creating trustworthy BAs at different levels. Also, the relevance of the guideline and its usefulness. Conclusions: The guideline strengthen BA traits such as shared understanding, plasticity and ability to transfer. Practitioners can utilise the guideline to guide the creation or even evaluate current practices for existing BAs.

3.Reinforcement Learning for Mutation Operator Selection in Automated Program Repair

Authors:Carol Hanna, Aymeric Blot, Justyna Petke

Abstract: Automated program repair techniques aim to aid software developers with the challenging task of fixing bugs. In heuristic-based program repair, a search space of program variants is created by applying mutation operations on the source code to find potential patches for bugs. Most commonly, every selection of a mutation operator during search is performed uniformly at random. The inefficiency of this critical step in the search creates many variants that do not compile or break intended functionality, wasting considerable resources as a result. In this paper, we address this issue and propose a reinforcement learning-based approach to optimise the selection of mutation operators in heuristic-based program repair. Our solution is programming language, granularity-level, and search strategy agnostic and allows for easy augmentation into existing heuristic-based repair tools. We conduct extensive experimentation on four operator selection techniques, two reward types, two credit assignment strategies, two integration methods, and three sets of mutation operators using 22,300 independent repair attempts. We evaluate our approach on 353 real-world bugs from the Defects4J benchmark. Results show that the epsilon-greedy multi-armed bandit algorithm with average credit assignment is best for mutation operator selection. Our approach exhibits a 17.3% improvement upon the baseline, by generating patches for 9 additional bugs for a total of 61 patched bugs in the Defects4J benchmark.

4.Benchmarks for End-to-End Microservices Testing

Authors:Sheldon Smith, Ethan Robinson, Timmy Frederiksen, Trae Stevens, Tomas Cerny, Miroslav Bures, Davide Taibi

Abstract: Testing microservice systems involves a large amount of planning and problem-solving. The difficulty of testing microservice systems increases as the size and structure of such systems become more complex. To help the microservice community and simplify experiments with testing and traffic simulation, we created a test benchmark containing full functional testing coverage for two well-established open-source microservice systems. Through our benchmark design, we aimed to demonstrate ways to overcome certain challenges and find effective strategies when testing microservices. In addition, to demonstrate our benchmark use, we conducted a case study to identify the best approaches to take to validate a full coverage of tests using service-dependency graph discovery and business process discovery using tracing.

5.State of Refactoring Adoption: Better Understanding Developer Perception of Refactoring

Authors:Eman Abdullah AlOmar

Abstract: We aim to explore how developers document their refactoring activities during the software life cycle. We call such activity Self-Affirmed Refactoring (SAR), which indicates developers' documentation of their refactoring activities. SAR is crucial in understanding various aspects of refactoring, including the motivation, procedure, and consequences of the performed code change. After that, we propose an approach to identify whether a commit describes developer-related refactoring events to classify them according to the refactoring common quality improvement categories. To complement this goal, we aim to reveal insights into how reviewers decide to accept or reject a submitted refactoring request and what makes such a review challenging.Our SAR taxonomy and model can work with refactoring detectors to report any early inconsistency between refactoring types and their documentation. They can serve as a solid background for various empirical investigations. Our survey with code reviewers has revealed several difficulties related to understanding the refactoring intent and implications on the functional and non-functional aspects of the software. In light of our findings from the industrial case study, we recommended a procedure to properly document refactoring activities, as part of our survey feedback.

6.Analyzing Maintenance Activities of Software Libraries

Authors:Alexandros Tsakpinis

Abstract: Industrial applications heavily integrate open-source software libraries nowadays. Beyond the benefits that libraries bring, they can also impose a real threat in case a library is affected by a vulnerability but its community is not active in creating a fixing release. Therefore, I want to introduce an automatic monitoring approach for industrial applications to identify open-source dependencies that show negative signs regarding their current or future maintenance activities. Since most research in this field is limited due to lack of features, labels, and transitive links, and thus is not applicable in industry, my approach aims to close this gap by capturing the impact of direct and transitive dependencies in terms of their maintenance activities. Automatically monitoring the maintenance activities of dependencies reduces the manual effort of application maintainers and supports application security by continuously having well-maintained dependencies.

1.Towards a Success Model for Automated Programming Assessment Systems Used as a Formative Assessment Tool

Authors:Clemens Sauerwein, Tobias Antensteiner, Stefan Oppl, Iris Groher, Alexander Meschtscherjakov, Philipp Zech, Ruth Breu

Abstract: The assessment of source code in university education is a central and important task for lecturers of programming courses. In doing so, educators are confronted with growing numbers of students having increasingly diverse prerequisites, a shortage of tutors, and highly dynamic learning objectives. To support lecturers in meeting these challenges, the use of automated programming assessment systems (APASs), facilitating formative assessments by providing timely, objective feedback, is a promising solution. Measuring the effectiveness and success of these platforms is crucial to understanding how such platforms should be designed, implemented, and used. However, research and practice lack a common understanding of aspects influencing the success of APASs. To address these issues, we have devised a success model for APASs based on established models from information systems as well as blended learning research and conducted an online survey with 414 students using the same APAS. In addition, we examined the role of mediators intervening between technology-, system- or self-related factors, respectively, and the users' satisfaction with APASs. Ultimately, our research has yielded a model of success comprising seven constructs influencing user satisfaction with an APAS.

2.Scalable and Adaptive Log-based Anomaly Detection with Expert in the Loop

Authors:Jinyang Liu, Junjie Huang, Yintong Huo, Zhihan Jiang, Jiazhen Gu, Zhuangbin Chen, Cong Feng, Minzhi Yan, Michael R. Lyu

Abstract: System logs play a critical role in maintaining the reliability of software systems. Fruitful studies have explored automatic log-based anomaly detection and achieved notable accuracy on benchmark datasets. However, when applied to large-scale cloud systems, these solutions face limitations due to high resource consumption and lack of adaptability to evolving logs. In this paper, we present an accurate, lightweight, and adaptive log-based anomaly detection framework, referred to as SeaLog. Our method introduces a Trie-based Detection Agent (TDA) that employs a lightweight, dynamically-growing trie structure for real-time anomaly detection. To enhance TDA's accuracy in response to evolving log data, we enable it to receive feedback from experts. Interestingly, our findings suggest that contemporary large language models, such as ChatGPT, can provide feedback with a level of consistency comparable to human experts, which can potentially reduce manual verification efforts. We extensively evaluate SeaLog on two public datasets and an industrial dataset. The results show that SeaLog outperforms all baseline methods in terms of effectiveness, runs 2X to 10X faster and only consumes 5% to 41% of the memory resource.

3.Towards Autonomous Testing Agents via Conversational Large Language Models

Authors:Robert Feldt, Sungmin Kang, Juyeon Yoon, Shin Yoo

Abstract: Software testing is an important part of the development cycle, yet it requires specialized expertise and substantial developer effort to adequately test software. The recent discoveries of the capabilities of large language models (LLMs) suggest that they can be used as automated testing assistants, and thus provide helpful information and even drive the testing process. To highlight the potential of this technology, we present a taxonomy of LLM-based testing agents based on their level of autonomy, and describe how a greater level of autonomy can benefit developers in practice. An example use of LLMs as a testing assistant is provided to demonstrate how a conversational framework for testing can help developers. This also highlights how the often criticized hallucination of LLMs can be beneficial while testing. We identify other tangible benefits that LLM-driven testing agents can bestow, and also discuss some potential limitations.

4.Improving the Reporting of Threats to Construct Validity

Authors:Dag I. K. Sjøberg, Gunnar R. Bergersen

Abstract: Background: Construct validity concerns the use of indicators to measure a concept that is not directly measurable. Aim: This study intends to identify, categorize, assess and quantify discussions of threats to construct validity in empirical software engineering literature and use the findings to suggest ways to improve the reporting of construct validity issues. Method: We analyzed 83 articles that report human-centric experiments published in five top-tier software engineering journals from 2015 to 2019. The articles' text concerning threats to construct validity was divided into segments (the unit of analysis) based on predefined categories. The segments were then evaluated regarding whether they clearly discussed a threat and a construct. Results: Three-fifths of the segments were associated with topics not related to construct validity. Two-thirds of the articles discussed construct validity without using the definition of construct validity given in the article. The threats were clearly described in more than four-fifths of the segments, but the construct in question was clearly described in only two-thirds of the segments. The construct was unclear when the discussion was not related to construct validity but to other types of validity. Conclusions: The results show potential for improving the understanding of construct validity in software engineering. Recommendations addressing the identified weaknesses are given to improve the awareness and reporting of CV.

1.HornFuzz: Fuzzing CHC solvers

Authors:Anzhela Sukhanova, Valentyn Sobol

Abstract: Many advanced program analysis and verification methods are based on solving systems of Constrained Horn Clauses (CHC). Testing CHC solvers is very important, as correctness of their work determines whether bugs in the analyzed programs are detected or missed. One of the well-established and efficient methods of automated software testing is fuzzing: analyzing the reactions of programs to random input data. Currently, there are no fuzzers for CHC solvers, and fuzzers for SMT solvers are not efficient in CHC solver testing, since they do not consider CHC specifics. In this paper, we present HornFuzz, a mutation-based gray-box fuzzing technique for detecting bugs in CHC solvers based on the idea of metamorphic testing. We evaluated our fuzzer on one of the highest performing CHC solvers, Spacer, and found a handful of bugs in Spacer. In particular, some discovered problems are so serious that they require fixes with significant changes to the solver.

1.Benchmarking Robustness of AI-enabled Multi-sensor Fusion Systems: Challenges and Opportunities

Authors:Xinyu Gao, Zhijie Wang, Yang Feng, Lei Ma, Zhenyu Chen, Baowen Xu

Abstract: Multi-Sensor Fusion (MSF) based perception systems have been the foundation in supporting many industrial applications and domains, such as self-driving cars, robotic arms, and unmanned aerial vehicles. Over the past few years, the fast progress in data-driven artificial intelligence (AI) has brought a fast-increasing trend to empower MSF systems by deep learning techniques to further improve performance, especially on intelligent systems and their perception systems. Although quite a few AI-enabled MSF perception systems and techniques have been proposed, up to the present, limited benchmarks that focus on MSF perception are publicly available. Given that many intelligent systems such as self-driving cars are operated in safety-critical contexts where perception systems play an important role, there comes an urgent need for a more in-depth understanding of the performance and reliability of these MSF systems. To bridge this gap, we initiate an early step in this direction and construct a public benchmark of AI-enabled MSF-based perception systems including three commonly adopted tasks (i.e., object detection, object tracking, and depth completion). Based on this, to comprehensively understand MSF systems' robustness and reliability, we design 14 common and realistic corruption patterns to synthesize large-scale corrupted datasets. We further perform a systematic evaluation of these systems through our large-scale evaluation. Our results reveal the vulnerability of the current AI-enabled MSF perception systems, calling for researchers and practitioners to take robustness and reliability into account when designing AI-enabled MSF.

2.Identifying Characteristics of the Agile Development Process That Impact User Satisfaction

Authors:Minshun Yang, Seiji Sato, Hironori Washizaki, Yoshiaki Fukazawa, Juichi Takahashi

Abstract: The purpose of this study is to identify the characteristics of Agile development processes that impact user satisfaction. We used user reviews of OSS smartphone apps and various data from version control systems to examine the relationships, especially time-series correlations, between user satisfaction and development metrics that are expected to be related to user satisfaction. Although no metrics conclusively indicate an improved user satisfaction, motivation of the development team, the ability to set appropriate work units, the appropriateness of work rules, and the improvement of code maintainability should be considered as they are correlated with improved user satisfaction. In contrast, changes in the release frequency and workload are not correlated.

3.TestLab: An Intelligent Automated Software Testing Framework

Authors:Tiago Dias, Arthur Batista, Eva Maia, Isabel Praça

Abstract: The prevalence of software systems has become an integral part of modern-day living. Software usage has increased significantly, leading to its growth in both size and complexity. Consequently, software development is becoming a more time-consuming process. In an attempt to accelerate the development cycle, the testing phase is often neglected, leading to the deployment of flawed systems that can have significant implications on the users daily activities. This work presents TestLab, an intelligent automated software testing framework that attempts to gather a set of testing methods and automate them using Artificial Intelligence to allow continuous testing of software systems at multiple levels from different scopes, ranging from developers to end-users. The tool consists of three modules, each serving a distinct purpose. The first two modules aim to identify vulnerabilities from different perspectives, while the third module enhances traditional automated software testing by automatically generating test cases through source code analysis.

4.Using Screenshot Attachments in Issue Reports for Triaging

Authors:Ethem Utku Aktas, Cemal Yilmaz

Abstract: In previous work, we deployed IssueTAG, which uses the texts present in the one-line summary and the description fields of the issue reports to automatically assign them to the stakeholders, who are responsible for resolving the reported issues. Since its deployment on January 12, 2018 at Softtech, i.e., the software subsidiary of the largest private bank in Turkey, IssueTAG has made a total of 301,752 assignments (as of November 2021). One observation we make is that a large fraction of the issue reports submitted to Softtech has screenshot attachments and, in the presence of such attachments, the reports often convey less information in their one-line summary and the description fields, which tends to reduce the assignment accuracy. In this work, we use the screenshot attachments as an additional source of information to further improve the assignment accuracy, which (to the best of our knowledge) has not been studied before in this context. In particular, we develop a number of multi-source (using both the issue reports and the screenshot attachments) and single-source assignment models (using either the issue reports or the screenshot attachments) and empirically evaluate them on real issue reports. In the experiments, compared to the currently deployed single-source model in the field, the best multi-source model developed in this work, significantly (both in the practical and statistical sense) improved the assignment accuracy for the issue reports with screenshot attachments from 0.843 to 0.858 at acceptable overhead costs, a result strongly supporting our basic hypothesis.

5.A Reference Framework for Variability Management of Software Product Lines

Authors:Saiqa Aleem, Luiz Fernando Capretz, Faheem Ahmed

Abstract: Variability management (VM) in software product line engineering (SPLE) is introduced as an abstraction that enables the reuse and customization of assets. VM is a complex task involving the identification, representation, and instantiation of variability for specific products, as well as the evolution of variability itself. This work presents a comparison and contrast between existing VM approaches using qualitative meta-synthesis to determine the underlying perspectives, metaphors, and concepts of existing methods. A common frame of reference for the VM was proposed as the result of this analysis. Putting metaphors in the context of the dimensions in which variability occurs and identifying its key concepts provides a better understanding of its management and enables several analyses and evaluation opportunities. Finally, the proposed framework was evaluated using a qualitative study approach. The results of the evaluation phase suggest that the organizations in practice only focus on one dimension. The presented frame of reference will help the organization to cover this gap in practice.

6.$ω$Test: WebView-Oriented Testing for Android Applications

Authors:Jiajun Hu, Lili Wei, Yepang Liu, Shing-Chi Cheung

Abstract: WebView is a UI widget that helps integrate web applications into the native context of Android apps. It provides powerful mechanisms for bi-directional interactions between the native-end (Java) and the web-end (JavaScript) of an Android app. However, these interaction mechanisms are complicated and have induced various types of bugs. To mitigate the problem, various techniques have been proposed to detect WebView-induced bugs via dynamic analysis, which heavily relies on executing tests to explore WebView behaviors. Unfortunately, these techniques either require manual effort or adopt random test generation approaches, which are not able to effectively explore diverse WebView behaviors. In this paper, we study the problem of test generation for WebViews in Android apps. Effective test generation for WebViews requires identifying the essential program properties to be covered by the generated tests. To this end, we propose WebView-specific properties to characterize WebView behaviors, and devise a cross-language dynamic analysis method to identify these properties. We develop $\omega$Test, a test generation technique that searches for event sequences covering the identified WebView-specific properties. An evaluation on 74 real-world open-/closed-source Android apps shows that $\omega$Test can cover diverse WebView behaviors and detect WebView-induced bugs effectively. $\omega$Test detected 36 previously-unknown bugs. From the 22 bugs that we have reported to the app developers, 13 bugs were confirmed, 9 of which were fixed.