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Hang bugs — when software gets stuck, but doesn’t crash — can frustrate both users and programmers, taking weeks for companies to identify and fix. Now researchers from North Carolina State University have developed software that can spot and fix the problems in seconds.

“Many of us have experience with hang bugs — think of a time when you were on website and the wheel just kept spinning and spinning,” says Helen Gu, co-author of a paper on the work and a professor of computer science at NC State. “Because these bugs don’t crash the program, they’re hard to detect. But they can frustrate or drive away customers and hurt a company’s bottom line.”

With that in mind, Gu and her collaborators developed an automated program, called HangFix, that can detect hang bugs, diagnose the relevant problem, and apply a patch that corrects the root cause of the error. Video

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