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Certifying a java type resolution function using program transformation, annotation, and reflection

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In Java, type resolution is a function that takes a reference to a type occurring in a given context as input and returns the canonical name of that type. This information is fundamental to static analysis—a “must have” function underlying virtually all forms of semantic-based analysis. In the case of Java, this function is also complex and it is quite common to encounter tools where it is implemented incorrectly. This paper presents a novel approach for certifying the correctness of a given type resolution function with respect to an arbitrary Java source code base. The approach uses program transformation to instrument a subject code base in such a way that reflection can then be used to certify the correctness of the type resolution function against the function used by the Java compiler. In this form of certification, the type resolution function of the Java compiler serves as the test oracle.

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This work was in part supported by the United States Department of Energy under Contract DE-AC04-94AL85000. Sandia is a multiprogram laboratory operated by Sandia Corporation, a Lockheed Martin Company, for the United States Department of Energy.

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Correspondence to Victor Winter.

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Winter, V., Reinke, C. & Guerrero, J. Certifying a java type resolution function using program transformation, annotation, and reflection. Software Qual J 24, 115–135 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11219-014-9262-2

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  • Source code analysis
  • Java
  • Type resolution
  • Reflection
  • Annotation
  • Program transformation