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A General Lattice Model for Merging Symbolic Execution Branches

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Formal Methods and Software Engineering (ICFEM 2016)

Part of the book series: Lecture Notes in Computer Science ((LNPSE,volume 10009))

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Abstract

Symbolic execution is a software analysis technique that has been used with success in the past years in program testing and verification. A main bottleneck of symbolic execution is the path explosion problem: the number of paths in a symbolic execution tree is exponential in the number of static branches of the executed program. Here we put forward an abstraction-based framework for state merging in symbolic execution. We show that it subsumes existing approaches and prove soundness. The method was implemented in the verification system KeY. Our empirical evaluation shows that reductions in proof size of up to 80 % are possible by state merging when applied to complex verification problems; new proofs become feasible that were out of reach so far.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    http://www.eecs.ucf.edu/~leavens/JML//OldReleases/jmlrefman.pdf.

  2. 2.

    Our notion of Kripke structure is derived from that commonly used in modal logic [13] and slightly differs from the one often used in model checking. E.g., we require no fixed set of initial states, and the labeling function is given implicitly by the interpretation and Kripke state which is natural for imperative programs. There is no essential difference, however.

  3. 3.

    denotes the substitution of the terms \({\overline{t}}\) for the free variables \({\overline{v}}\) in \(\psi _{{\overline{v}}}\).

  4. 4.

    Available at http://www.key-project.org/timsort/stats.html.

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Acknowledgment

We would like to thank the authors of [15] for the permission to quote data from the extended journal version of their paper under preparation.

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Correspondence to Dominic Scheurer .

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Scheurer, D., Hähnle, R., Bubel, R. (2016). A General Lattice Model for Merging Symbolic Execution Branches. In: Ogata, K., Lawford, M., Liu, S. (eds) Formal Methods and Software Engineering. ICFEM 2016. Lecture Notes in Computer Science(), vol 10009. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-47846-3_5

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-47846-3_5

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