Execution Generated Test Cases: How to Make Systems Code Crash Itself


This paper presents a technique that uses code to automatically generate its own test cases at run-time by using a combination of symbolic and concrete (i.e., regular) execution. The input values to a program (or software component) provide the standard interface of any testing framework with the program it is testing, and generating input values that will explore all the “interesting” behavior in the tested program remains an important open problem in software testing research. Our approach works by turning the problem on its head: we lazily generate, from within the program itself, the input values to the program (and values derived from input values) as needed. We applied the technique to real code and found numerous corner-case errors ranging from simple memory overflows and infinite loops to subtle issues in the interpretation of language standards.