Discovering process models for the analysis of application failures under uncertainty of event logs

Antonio Pecchia, Ingo Weber, Marcello Cinque, Yu Ma

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Computer applications, such as servers, databases and middleware, ubiquitously emit execution traces stored in log files. The use of logs for the analysis of application failures is known since the early days of computers. Field data studies have shown that application logs are fraught with uncertainty, i.e., missing or noisy events in the logs. A body of research that has dealt successfully with uncertainty in event logs is process mining from the business process management community, specifically by discovering process models. The literature has shown the value of process mining across several domains, but as yet there is no study that quantifies possible improvements from using process models, and the impact of uncertainty in the context of application failures. This work addresses the use of process mining for detecting failures from application logs. First, process models are discovered from logs; then conformance checking is used to detect deviations from the models. We contribute to knowledge engineering research with a systematic measurement study that quantifies the failure detection capability of conformance checking in spite of missing events, and its accuracy with respect to process models obtained from noisy logs. Analysis is done with a dataset of 55,462 execution traces from three independent real-life applications. We obtain a mixed answer depending on the application under test; our measurements provide insights into the use of process mining for failure analysis.

Original languageEnglish
Article number105054
JournalKnowledge-Based Systems
StatePublished - 15 Feb 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Application logs
  • Conformance checking
  • Failure detection
  • Process discovery
  • Uncertainty


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