Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have developed a new automatic bug repair system that they call CodePhage. The unusual tool uses "donor code" from open source software to patch errors.
“We have tons of source code available in open-source repositories—millions of projects—and a lot of these projects implement similar specifications,” said MIT's Stelios Sidiroglou-Douskos. “Even though that might not be the core functionality of the program, they frequently have subcomponents that share functionality across a large number of projects.”
In a test situation, CodePhage was able to successfully patch bugs in two to ten minutes. The researchers say that eventually the tool could be used to write new programs, not just to repair them.