AbstractsComputer Science

DASE: Document-Assisted Symbolic Execution for Improving Automated Test Generation

by Lei Zhang

Institution: University of Waterloo
Year: 2014
Keywords: Automated Test Generation; Bug Detection; Symbolic Execution; Path Pruning; Documentation Analysis; Natural Language Processing
Record ID: 2028035
Full text PDF: http://hdl.handle.net/10012/8532


Software testing is crucial for uncovering software defects and ensuring software reliability. Symbolic execution has been utilized for automatic test generation to improve testing effectiveness. However, existing test generation techniques based on symbolic execution fail to take full advantage of programs’ rich amount of documentation specifying their input constraints, which can further enhance the effectiveness of test generation. In this paper we present a general approach, Document-Assisted Symbolic Execution (DASE), to improve automated test generation and bug detection. DASE leverages natural language processing techniques and heuristics to analyze programs’ readily available documentation and extract input constraints. The input constraints are then used as pruning criteria; inputs far from being valid are trimmed off. In this way, DASE guides symbolic execution to focus on those inputs that are semantically more important. We evaluated DASE on 88 programs from 5 mature real-world software suites: GNU Coreutils, GNU findutils, GNU grep, GNU Binutils, and elftoolchain. Compared to symbolic execution without input constraints, DASE increases line coverage, branch coverage, and call coverage by 5.27–22.10%, 5.83–21.25% and 2.81–21.43% respectively. In addition, DASE detected 13 previously unknown bugs, 6 of which have already been confirmed by the developers.