Date: 11 Jun 2005

Graphical user interfaces for algorithmic debugging

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Abstract

Algorithmic Debugging is a method for semi-automatic program debugging, where the debugger incrementally acquires knowledge about the debugged program by interacting with the user. However, a major obstacle that prevents large-scale use of the method is the large number of questions (sometimes hard to answer) put to the user. One important improvement would be to provide a graphical user interface (GUI) for algorithmic debugging that provides context and additional information that makes it easier for the user to answer questions, and is flexible enough to let the user postpone answering certain questions and to a greater extent control where to look for the bug. In this paper we discuss several of these issues, and present a prototype graphical user interface that has been implemented and used as a part of a generalized algorithmic debugger for imperative languages, and recently adapted to an algorithmic debugger for lazy functional languages.