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Bot Disguised as a Human Software Developer Fixes Bugs


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A bot masquerading as a human?

A software bot developed at the KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Sweden can find bugs in code and write patches comparable to those created by human developers.

Credit: ichef.bbci.co.uk

Researchers at KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Sweden have developed a software bot that can find bugs in code and write patches with effectiveness comparable to that of human developers.

The Repairnator bot aims to automatically generate patches that repair build failures, show those patches to developers, and convince them to accept the patches as valid contributions to the code base.

The KTH researchers disguised the bot as a human developer and allowed it to compete with humans to develop patches on GitHub.

One test ran from February to December 2017, with Repairnator working on 14,188 projects, performing approximately 30 repair attempts daily; the bot analyzed more than 11,500 builds with failures, and was able to reproduce the failure in more than 3,000 cases, and to develop a patch in 15 cases.

A second experiment yielded five patches that human moderators accepted into builds.

From Technology Review
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