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An understanding of how software is employed in the field can yield many opportunities for quality improvements. Profiling released software can provide such an understanding. However, profiling released software is difficult due to the potentially large number of deployed sites that must be profiled, the transparency requirements at a user's site, and the remote data collection and deployment management process. Researchers have recently proposed various approaches to tap into the opportunities offered by profiling deployed systems and overcome those challenges. Initial studies have illustrated the application of these approaches and have shown their feasibility. Still, the proposed approaches, and the tradeoffs between overhead, accuracy, and potential benefits for the testing activity have been barely quantified. This paper aims to overcome those limitations. Our analysis of 1,200 user sessions on a 155 KLOC deployed system substantiates the ability of field data to support test suite improvements, assesses the efficiency of profiling techniques for released software, and the effectiveness of testing efforts that leverage profiled field data.
Index Terms- Profiling, instrumentation, software deployment, testing, empirical studies.

S. Elbaum and M. Diep, "Profiling Deployed Software: Assessing Strategies and Testing Opportunities," in IEEE Transactions on Software Engineering, vol. 31, no. , pp. 312-327, 2005.
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