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Robin Abraham & Martin Erwig


We present a spreadsheet debugger targeted at end users. Whenever the computed output of a cell is incorrect, the user can supply an expected value for a cell, which is employed by the system to generate a list of change suggestions for formulas that, when applied, would result in the user-specified output. The change suggestions are ranked using a set of heuristics.

In previous work, we had presented the system as a proof of concept. In this paper, we describe a systematic evaluation of the effectiveness of inferred change suggestions and the employed ranking heuristics.

Based on the results of the evaluation we have extended both, the change inference process and the ranking of suggestions. An evaluation of the improved system shows that change inference process and the ranking heuristics have both been substantially improved and that the system performs effectively.


Mutation operators
Mutation operators

The full suite of mutation operators we have developed is shown in this table.

These operators can be used to model deviations from the correct spreadsheet.


2007, 29th IEEE International Conference on Software Engineering, May, pages 251-260

Full article

GoalDebug: A spreadsheet debugger for end users