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  1. The vast majority of text transformation techniques in NLP are inherently limited in their ability to expand input space coverage due to an implicit constraint to preserve the original class label. In this work, we propose the notion of sibylvariance (SIB) to describe the broader set of transforms that relax the label-preserving constraint, knowably vary the expected class, and lead to significantly more diverse input distributions. We offer a unified framework to organize all data transformations, including two types of SIB: (1) Transmutations convert one discrete kind into another, (2) Mixture Mutations blend two or more classes together. To explore the role of sibylvariance within NLP, we implemented 41 text transformations, including several novel techniques like Concept2Sentence and SentMix. Sibylvariance also enables a unique form of adaptive training that generates new input mixtures for the most confused class pairs, challenging the learner to differentiate with greater nuance. Our experiments on six benchmark datasets strongly support the efficacy of sibylvariance for generalization performance, defect detection, and adversarial robustness.
  2. Fault-isolation is extremely challenging in large scale data processing in cloud environments. Data provenance is a dominant existing approach to isolate data records responsible for a given output. However, data provenance concerns fault isolation only in the data-space, as opposed to fault isolation in the code-space---how can we precisely localize operations or APIs responsible for a given suspicious or incorrect result? We present OptDebug that identifies fault-inducing operations in a dataflow application using three insights. First, debugging is easier with a small-scale input than a large-scale input. So it uses data provenance to simplify the original input records to a smaller set leading to test failures and test successes. Second, keeping track of operation provenance is crucial for debugging. Thus, it leverages automated taint analysis to propagate the lineage of operations downstream with individual records. Lastly, each operation may contribute to test failures to a different degree. Thus OptDebug ranks each operation's spectra---the relative participation frequency in failing vs. passing tests. In our experiments, OptDebug achieves 100% recall and 86% precision in terms of detecting faulty operations and reduces the debugging time by 17x compared to a naïve approach. Overall, OptDebug shows great promise in improving developer productivity in today'smore »complex data processing pipelines by obviating the need to re-execute the program repetitively with different inputs and manually examine program traces to isolate buggy code.« less
  3. As big data analytics become increasingly popular, data-intensive scalable computing (DISC) systems help address the scalability issue of handling large data. However, automated testing for such data-centric applications is challenging, because data is often incomplete, continuously evolving, and hard to know a priori. Fuzz testing has been proven to be highly effective in other domains such as security; however, it is nontrivial to apply such traditional fuzzing to big data analytics directly for three reasons: (1) the long latency of DISC systems prohibits the applicability of fuzzing: naïve fuzzing would spend 98% of the time in setting up a test environment; (2) conventional branch coverage is unlikely to scale to DISC applications because most binary code comes from the framework implementation such as Apache Spark; and (3) random bit or byte level mutations can hardly generate meaningful data, which fails to reveal real-world application bugs. We propose a novel coverage-guided fuzz testing tool for big data analytics, called BigFuzz. The key essence of our approach is that: (a) we focus on exercising application logic as opposed to increasing framework code coverage by abstracting the DISC framework using specifications. BigFuzz performs automated source to source transformations to construct an equivalent DISCmore »application suitable for fast test generation, and (b) we design schema-aware data mutation operators based on our in-depth study of DISC application error types. BigFuzz speeds up the fuzzing time by 78 to 1477X compared to random fuzzing, improves application code coverage by 20% to 271%, and achieves 33% to 157% improvement in detecting application errors. When compared to the state of the art that uses symbolic execution to test big data analytics, BigFuzz is applicable to twice more programs and can find 81% more bugs.« less
  4. Debugging big data analytics often requires a root cause analysis to pinpoint the precise culprit records in an input dataset responsible for incorrect or anomalous output. Existing debugging or data provenance approaches do not track fine-grained control and data flows in user-defined application code; thus, the returned culprit data is often too large for manual inspection and expensive post-mortem analysis is required. We design FlowDebug to identify a highly precise set of input records based on two key insights. First, FlowDebug precisely tracks control and data flow within user-defined functions to propagate taints at a fine-grained level by inserting custom data abstractions through automated source to source transformation. Second, it introduces a novel notion of influence-based provenance for many-to-one dependencies to prioritize which input records are more responsible than others by analyzing the semantics of a user-defined function used for aggregation. By design, our approach does not require any modification to the framework's runtime and can be applied to existing applications easily. FlowDebug significantly improves the precision of debugging results by up to 99.9 percentage points and avoids repetitive re-runs required for post-mortem analysis by a factor of 33 while incurring an instrumentation overhead of 0.4X - 6.1X on vanillamore »Spark.« less
  5. Recent effort to test deep learning systems has produced an intuitive and compelling test criterion called neuron coverage (NC), which resembles the notion of traditional code coverage. NC measures the proportion of neurons activated in a neural network and it is implicitly assumed that increasing NC improves the quality of a test suite. In an attempt to automatically generate a test suite that increases NC, we design a novel diversity promoting regularizer that can be plugged into existing adversarial attack algorithms. We then assess whether such attempts to increase NC could generate a test suite that (1) detects adversarial attacks successfully, (2) produces natural inputs, and (3) is unbiased to particular class predictions. Contrary to expectation, our extensive evaluation finds that increasing NC actually makes it harder to generate an effective test suite: higher neuron coverage leads to fewer defects detected, less natural inputs, and more biased prediction preferences. Our results invoke skepticism that increasing neuron coverage may not be a meaningful objective for generating tests for deep neural networks and call for a new test generation technique that considers defect detection, naturalness, and output impartiality in tandem.