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Building a Better Backtrace: Techniques for Postmortem Program Analysis

Authors:
Liblit, Ben
Aiken, Alex
Technical Report Identifier: CSD-02-1203
October 2002
CSD-02-1203.pdf
CSD-02-1203.ps

Abstract: After a program has crashed, it can be difficult to reconstruct why the failure occurred, or what actions led to the error. We propose a family of analysis techniques that use the evidence left behind by a failed program to build a time line of its possible actions from launch through termination. Our design can operate with zero run time instrumentation, or can flexibly incorporate a wide variety of artifacts such as stack traces and event logs for increased precision. Efficient demand-driven algorithms are provided, and the approach is well suited for incorporation into interactive debugging support tools.