Higher-Order Pattern Narratives (Analysing Diagnostic Analysis)

A pattern narrative in software narratology means a narrative where messages or log entries are patterns from pattern catalogues. These can be either domain specific patterns, or general trace and log analysis patterns such as Discontinuity, Activity Region, Significant Event, Macrofunction, and Back Trace. Generally, a software pattern narrative is a narrative constructed from software execution artefacts such as logs and memory dumps during their analysis. This is different from the usual meaning of a pattern narrative in narratology and literary criticism where we have a narrative which is a pattern itself like Master Trace analysis pattern. So in our case it is a narrative of patterns and not a narrative which is a pattern. The following picture illustrates the correspondence between a software trace example and its software pattern narrative:

A pattern narrative can be further analysed for any missing patterns using pattern sequences and schemes.

By a second-order narrative we mean a narrative about narrative such as the analysis of original narrative (a first-order narrative). For example, a transformation of a software log into its pattern narrative equivalent (the so called analysis narrative) is a second order narrative. It has its own time sequence (called Analysis Time, TA) where certain patterns are diagnosed out-of-order of their appearance in the resulting pattern narrative. In such a narrative additional patterns may be included that were diagnosed initially but were later replaced or eliminated. The latter property shows that second-order narratives are not simply rearranged plots of the same story (fabula). In the case of generalized memory narratives and hybrid artefacts such as memory dumps we also have analysis narratives. The following picture shows the analysis narrative used to construct software pattern narrative from the previous picture example. We see what patterns were found first:

Such second-order narratives can be analysed further and give rise to third-order narratives and in general to higher-order narratives. The following diagram shows the relationship between a software narrative (order N), its pattern narrative (order N) and analysis narrative (order N+1):

The same principles of software narratology and its analysis patterns can be applied here. Discontinuities, Time Deltas and other patterns can be analysed to find out analysis difficulties which might require further training (such as in domain specific knowledge) and analysis tool development for subsequent computer assistance. For example, if we compare TAs in the analysis report above we find out that there was significant Time Delta pattern before Back Trace pattern was found leading to the first Error Message pattern from a different Thread of Activity. It took some time for an analyst to get an idea to look for specific Data Flow pattern and construct Back Trace (probably by looking at source code).

If you are new to Software Narratology please find this introduction: http://www.dumpanalysis.org/introduction-software-narratology