Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

First Advisor

Harvey Siy

Second Advisor

Mahadevan Subramaniam

Third Advisor

Dhundy Bastola


In real-world software development, maintenance plays a major role and developers spend 50-80% of their time in maintenance-related activities. During software maintenance, a significant amount of effort is spent on ending and fixing bugs. In some cases, the fix does not completely eliminate the buggy behavior; though it addresses the reported problem, it fails to account for conditions that could lead to similar failures. There could be many possible reasons: the conditions may have been overlooked or difficult to reproduce, e.g., when the components that invoke the code or the underlying components it interacts with can not put it in a state where latent errors appear. We posit that such latent errors can be discovered sooner if the buggy section can be tested more thoroughly in a separate environment, a strategy that is loosely analogous to the medical procedure of performing a biopsy where tissue is removed, examined and subjected to a battery of tests to determine the presence of a disease.

In this thesis, we propose a process in which the buggy code is extracted and isolated in a test framework. Test drivers and stubs are added to exercise the code and observe its interactions with its dependencies. We lay the groundwork for the creation of an automated tool for isolating code by studying its feasibility and investigating existing testing technologies that can facilitate the creation of such drivers and stubs. We investigate mocking frameworks, symbolic execution and model checking tools and test their capabilities by examining real bugs from the Apache Tomcat project. We demonstrate the merits of performing unit-level symbolic execution and model checking to discover runtime exceptions and logical errors. The process is shown to have high coverage and able to uncover latent errors due to insufficient fixes.


A Thesis Presented to the Department of Computer Science and the Faculty of the Graduate College University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfilment of the Requirements for the Degree Master of Science in Computer Science. Copyright 2013 Sanik Bajracharya.