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TFix: Learning to Fix Coding Errors with a Text-to-Text Transformer

Berkay Berabi, Jingxuan He, Veselin Raychev, Martin Vechev. ICML 2021

[Code & Dataset]      
repair

The problem of fixing errors in programs has attracted substantial interest over the years. The key challenge for building an effective code fixing tool is to capture a wide range of errors and meanwhile maintain high accuracy. In this paper, we address this challenge and present a new learning-based system, called TFix. TFix works directly on program text and phrases the problem of code fixing as a text-to-text task. In turn, this enables it to leverage a powerful Transformer based model pre-trained on natural language and fine-tuned to generate code fixes (via a large, high-quality dataset obtained from GitHub commits). TFix is not specific to a particular programming language or class of defects and, in fact, improved its precision by simultaneously fine-tuning on 52 different error types reported by a popular static analyzer. Our evaluation on a massive dataset of JavaScript programs shows that TFix is practically effective: it is able to synthesize code that fixes the error in ∼67 percent of cases and significantly outperforms existing learning-based approaches.

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