Concurrency Debugging with MaxSMT
Current Maximum Satisfiability (MaxSAT) algorithms based on successive calls to a powerful Satisfiability (SAT) solver are now able to solve real-world instances in many application domains. Moreover, replacing the SAT solver with a Satisfiability Modulo Theories (SMT) solver enables effective MaxSMT algorithms. However, MaxSMT has seldom been used in debugging multi-threaded software.
Multi-threaded programs are usually non-deterministic due to the huge number of possible thread operation schedules, which makes them much harder to debug than sequential programs. A recent approach to isolate the root cause of concurrency bugs in multi-threaded software is to produce a report that shows the differences between a failing and a non-failing execution. However, since they rely solely on heuristics, these reports can be unnecessarily large. Hence, reports may contain operations that are not relevant to the bug’s occurrence.
This paper proposes the use of MaxSMT for the generation of minimal reports for multi-threaded software with concurrency bugs. The proposed techniques report situations that the existing techniques are not able to identify. Experimental results show that using MaxSMT can significantly improve the accuracy of the generated reports and, consequently, their usefulness in debugging the root cause of concurrency bugs.