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Effective detection of atomic-set serializability violations in multithreaded programs

Authors Lai, Zhifeng
Issue Date 2010
Summary Today's multithreaded programs are riddled with bugs that can cause multiple threads to access shared data and interleave in ways that do not correspond to any sequential executions. These concurrency bugs give rise to the problem of data-consistency errors, which can lead to drastic consequences (e.g., the Northeast Blackout of 2003). However, detecting concurrency bugs is difficult because these bugs are manifested only under very specific thread interleavings but the number of possible interleavings for a multithreaded program is often myriad. This thesis presents program analysis techniques to automatically verify that a multithreaded program correctly uses synchronization primitives to guarantee atomic-set serializability, a data-consistency criterion recently proposed for better detection of concurrency bugs. Atomic-set serializability characterizes a wide range of concurrency bugs. In addition, previous experiences using this criterion show that it is less likely to have benign violations than the other criteria. This thesis addresses the following two problems on detecting atomic-set serializability violations: inadequate interleaving coverage and inadequate input coverage. First, dynamic approaches are widely used to detect errors (e.g., malign data race) caused by concurrency bugs. Existing dynamic approaches for detecting such violations are based on runtime monitoring. Their effectiveness is restricted by the inadequate coverage of interleavings. To address this problem, this thesis proposes a dynamic predictive analysis technique that can infer potential violations from executions that are even violation-free, and an active randomized testing technique that can quickly confirm real violations reported by the dynamic predictive analysis technique. Second, for a given set of tests, our dynamic predictive analysis technique and active randomized testing technique partially alleviate the problem of inadequate coverage of thread interleaving. However, the input coverage of our testing technique is restricted to that of the given tests. To address this problem, this thesis proposes an effective static checking technique to automatically detect atomic-set serializability violations. Existing static approaches for detecting such violations use path-sensitive analyses, which are usually not scalable for large programs. To address the scalability issue, this thesis proposes a series of flow-insensitive analyses which scale to programs with thousands of lines of code.
Note Thesis (Ph.D.)--Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, 2010
Language English
Format Thesis
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