Applying a Semantic Fault Model to the Empirical Study of Corrective Maintenance

Eighth IEEE Workshop on Empirical Studies of Software Maintenance, Montreal, Canada, October 2002.

Jane Huffman Hayes and Jeff Offutt.


A full understanding of the characteristics of faults is crucial to several important research areas in testing and software maintenance. Applicable maintenance research areas include change impact analysis, maintainability, regression testing, and comparative evaluation of maintenance techniques. We explore the fundamental nature of faults by looking at the differences between a syntactic and semantic characterization of faults. We offer definitions of these characteristics and explore the differentiation. We discuss the concept of "size" of program faults. This model is then directly applied to changes in corrective maintenance. The measurement of fault size provides interesting and useful distinctions between the syntactic and semantic characterization of changes.

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