A Patch-Like Query Language for Commit History Search

Julia Lawall, Senior Research Scientist, Inria
Chaired by
Dr Abhik ROYCHOUDHURY, Provost's Chair Professor, School of Computing

  05 Dec 2019 Thursday, 10:30 AM to 12:00 PM

 MR1, COM1-03-19

The commit history of a code base such as the Linux kernel is a gold mine of information on how evolutions should be made, how bugs should be fixed, etc. Nevertheless, the high volume of commits available and the rudimentary filtering tools provided mean that it is often necessary to wade through a lot of irrelevant information before finding example commits that can help with a specific development problem. To address this issue, we propose Prequel (Patch Query Language), which brings the descriptive power of code matching to the problem of querying a commit history. We evaluate Prequel in the context of the problem of porting Linux drivers across versions, which illustrates a variety of development problems for which the code history can provide example solutions.

Julia Lawall received the Ph.D. degree in 1994 from the Indiana University. She has been a senior research scientist at Inria since 2011. Previously, she was an Associate Professor at the University of Copenhagen. Her research interests are in the area of improving the quality of infrastructure software, using a variety of approaches including program analysis, program transformation, and the design of domain-specific languages. She develops the tool Coccinelle that is extensively used in the development of the Linux kernel and she has over 2000 patches in the Linux kernel based on this work.