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Assisting Failure Diagnosis through Filesystem Instrumentation Open Access


Other title
Machine learning
Failure diagnosis
Software maintenance
Type of item
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Huang, Liang
Supervisor and department
Wong, Kenny (Computing Science)
Examining committee member and department
Reformat, Marek (Electrical and Computer Engineering)
Stroulia, Eleni (Computing Science)
Department of Computing Science

Date accepted
Graduation date
Master of Science
Degree level
With increasing software size and complexity, corrective software maintenance has become a challenging process. When a failure is reported, it takes time and expertise for human operators to collect the right information and pinpoint the root cause. Typically, the operators are overloaded with information generated from many system components, and need assistance. In practice, however, failures are often recurrent. If they can be identified accurately, the appropriate fix may already be known from prior collected experience about the system. Our approach to diagnose failures is to look at differences in the state of the filesystem and how files are accessed under normal and abnormal situations. In this research, we monitor the behavior of the system through its file-related calls on an instrumented filesystem. When a failure occurs, these calls are abstracted and classified to identify the likely cause. A diagnostic tool is implemented based on this approach. Through an experiment involving one J2EE Web application, we present the effectiveness of our approach in terms of precision and recall.
License granted by Liang Huang ( on 2011-08-30T22:11:13Z (GMT): Permission is hereby granted to the University of Alberta Libraries to reproduce single copies of this thesis and to lend or sell such copies for private, scholarly or scientific research purposes only. Where the thesis is converted to, or otherwise made available in digital form, the University of Alberta will advise potential users of the thesis of the above terms. The author reserves all other publication and other rights in association with the copyright in the thesis, and except as herein provided, neither the thesis nor any substantial portion thereof may be printed or otherwise reproduced in any material form whatsoever without the author's prior written permission.
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