Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Computer Science


Dr. Nazim Madhavji

Second Advisor

Dr. Mechelle Gittens


A software defect rediscovery is a software failure caused by a previously reported defect. It has been observed that a majority of field software failures are rediscoveries which account for typically 50% but sometimes as much as 90% of the total failures. A number of causes for defect rediscoveries have been identified in the literature and solutions have been designed to address some of them. For an organization aiming at reducing the cost due to the rediscoveries, it is important to understand the significance of each of these causes. The significance of each cause will guide the organization to utilize the known solutions or design new ones if necessary, to ultimately reduce the cost to the organization due to rediscoveries. In this thesis, we identify and define the causes for rediscoveries, both on the side of the software provider as well as the software user and design a taxonomy for these causes. We establish the significance of each of the causes for rediscoveries by conducting two exploratory based empirical case studies. The overall findings of this study suggest that the delay on the software providers’ side to provide the patch contributes to approximately 50% of the rediscoveries; whereas, that on the software users’ side to install the patch contributes to approximately 50% of the rediscoveries. This overall result is further broken down quantitatively into specific causes, which are all described in this thesis. From a practitioner’s point of view, the results of this investigation will provide the decision support regarding the designing and prioritizing of various policies and solutions aimed at reducing the cost due to rediscoveries. From a research point of view, the results of our investigation add to the existing body of knowledge on the causes for rediscoveries in software systems.



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