Debugging Crashes using Continuous Contrast Set Mining

International Conference on Software Engineering (ICSE)


Facebook operates a family of services used by over two billion people daily on a huge variety of mobile devices. Many devices are configured to upload crash reports should the app crash for any reason. Engineers monitor and triage millions of crash reports logged each day to check for bugs, regressions, and any other quality problems. Debugging groups of crashes is a manually intensive process that requires deep domain expertise and close inspection of traces and code, often under time constraints.

We use contrast set mining, a form of discriminative pattern mining, to learn what distinguishes one group of crashes from another. Prior works focus on discretization to apply contrast mining to continuous data. We propose the first direct application of contrast learning to continuous data, without the need for discretization. We also define a weighted anomaly score that unifies continuous and categorical contrast sets while mitigating bias, as well as uncertainty measures that communicate confidence to developers. We demonstrate the value of our novel statistical improvements by applying it on a challenging dataset from Facebook production logs, where we achieve 40x speedup over baseline approaches using discretization.

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