Improving systematic constraint-driven analysis using incremental and parallel techniques
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This dissertation introduces Pikse, a novel methodology for more effective and efficient checking of code conformance to specifications using parallel and incremental techniques, describes a prototype implementation that embodies the methodology, and presents experiments that demonstrate its efficacy. Pikse has at its foundation a well-studied approach -- systematic constraint-driven analysis -- that has two common forms: (1) constraint-based testing -- where logical constraints that define desired inputs and expected program behavior are used for test input generation and correctness checking, say to perform black-box testing; and (2) symbolic execution -- where a systematic exploration of (bounded) program paths using symbolic input values is used to check properties of program behavior, say to perform white-box testing. Our insight at the heart of Pikse is that for certain path-based analyses, (1) the state of a run of the analysis can be encoded compactly, which provides a basis for parallel techniques that have low communication overhead; and (2) iterations performed by the analysis have commonalities, which provides the basis for incremental techniques that re-use results of computations common to successive iterations. We embody our insight into a suite of parallel and incremental techniques that enable more effective and efficient constraint-driven analysis. Moreover, our techniques work in tandem, for example, for combined black-box constraint-based input generation with white-box symbolic execution. We present a series of experiments to evaluate our techniques. Experimental results show Pikse enables significant speedups over previous state-of-the-art.