UBC Faculty Research and Publications

Inferring models of concurrent systems from logs of their behavior with CSight Beschastnikh, Ivan; Brun, Yuriy; Ernst, Michael D.; Krishnamurthy, Arvind

Abstract

Concurrent systems are notoriously difficult to debug and understand. A common way of gaining insight into system behavior is to inspect execution logs and documentation. Unfortunately, manual inspection of logs is an arduous process, and documentation is often incomplete and out of sync with the implementation. To provide developers with more insight into concurrent systems, we developed CSight. CSight mines logs of a system’s executions to infer a concise and accurate model of that system’s behavior, in the form of a communicating finite state machine (CFSM). Engineers can use the inferred CFSM model to understand complex behavior, detect anomalies, debug, and increase confidence in the correctness of their implementations. CSight’s only requirement is that the logged events have vector timestamps. We provide a tool that automatically adds vector timestamps to system logs. Our tool prototypes are available at http://synoptic.googlecode.com/. This paper presents algorithms for inferring CFSM models from traces of concurrent systems, proves them correct, provides an implementation, and evaluates the implementation in two ways: by running it on logs from three different networked systems and via a user study that focused on bug finding. Our evaluation finds that CSight infers accurate models that can help developers find bugs.

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