DustMiner: Troubleshooting Interactive Complexity Bugs in Sensor Networks

This paper presents a tool for uncovering bugs due to interactive complexity in networked sensing applications. Such bugs are not localized to one component that is faulty, but rather result from complex and unexpected interactions between multiple often individually non-faulty components. Moreover, the manifestations of these bugs are often not repeatable, making them particularly hard to find, as the particular sequence of events that invokes the bug may not be easy to reconstruct. Because of the distributed nature of failure scenarios, our tool looks for sequences of events that may be responsible for faulty behavior, as opposed to localized bugs such as a bad pointer in a module. An extensible framework is developed where a front-end collects runtime data logs of the system being debugged and an offline back-end uses frequent discriminative pattern mining to uncover likely causes of failure. We provide a case study of debugging a recent multichannel MAC protocol that was found to exhibit corner cases of poor performance (worse than single channel MAC). The tool helped uncover event sequences that lead to a highly degraded mode of operation. Fixing the problem significantly improved the performance of the protocol. We also provide a detailed analysis of tool overhead in terms of memory requirements and impact on the running application.
Date: November 15, 2008
Book Title: Proceedings of the 6th ACM conference on Embedded network sensor systems
Type: Proceedings
Publisher: ACM
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  author = "Mohammad Maifi Hasan Khan and Hieu Khac Le and Hossein Ahmadi and Tarek F. Abdelzaher and Jiawei Han",
  title = "{DustMiner: Troubleshooting Interactive Complexity Bugs in Sensor Networks}",
  month = "November",
  year = "2008",
  booktitle = "Proceedings of the 6th ACM conference on Embedded network sensor systems",
  publisher = "ACM",