Comparing Constraints Mined From Execution Logs to Understand Software Evolution

Thomas Krismayer, Michael Vierhauser, Rick Rabiser, Paul Grünbacher

Proceedings of the 35th IEEE International Conference on Software Maintenance and Evolution (ICSME), 2019

Complex software systems evolve frequently, e.g., when introducing new features or fixing bugs during maintenance. However, understanding the impact of such changes on system behavior is often difficult. Many approaches have thus been proposed that analyze systems before and after changes, e.g., by comparing source code, model-based representations, or system execution logs. In this paper, we propose an approach for comparing run-time constraints, synthesized by a constraint mining algorithm, based on execution logs recorded before and after changes. Specifically, automatically mined constraints define the expected timing and order of recurring events and the values of data elements attached to events. Our approach presents the differences of the mined constraints to users, thereby providing a higher-level view on software evolution and supporting the analysis of the impact of changes on system behavior. We present a motivating example and a preliminary evaluation based on a cyber-physical system controlling unmanned aerial vehicles. The results of our preliminary evaluation show that our approach can help to analyze changed behavior and thus contributes to understanding software evolution.