3 years ago

A Journey Among Java Neutral Program Variants.

Nicolas Harrand, Simon Allier, Marcelino Rodriguez-cancio, Martin Monperrus, Benoit Baudry

Neutral program variants are functionally similar to an original program, yet implement slightly different behaviors. Techniques such as approximate computing or genetic improvement share the intuition that potential for enhancements lies in these acceptable behavioral differences (e.g., enhanced performance or reliability). Yet, the automatic synthesis of neutral program variants, through speculative transformations remains a key challenge.

This work aims at characterizing plastic code regions in Java programs, i.e., the areas that are prone to the synthesis of neutral program variants. Our empirical study relies on automatic variations of 6 real-world Java programs. First, we transform these programs with three state-of-the-art speculative transformations: add, replace and delete statements. We get a pool of 23445 neutral variants, from which we gather the following novel insights: developers naturally write code that supports fine-grain behavioral changes; statement deletion is a surprisingly effective speculative transformation; high-level design decisions, such as the choice of a data structure, are natural points that can evolve while keeping functionality.

Second, we design 3 novel speculative transformations, targeted at specific plastic regions. New experiments reveal that respectively 60\%, 58\% and 73\% of the synthesized variants (175688 in total) are neutral and exhibit execution traces that are different from the original.

Publisher URL: http://arxiv.org/abs/1901.02533

DOI: arXiv:1901.02533v1

You might also like
Discover & Discuss Important Research

Keeping up-to-date with research can feel impossible, with papers being published faster than you'll ever be able to read them. That's where Researcher comes in: we're simplifying discovery and making important discussions happen. With over 19,000 sources, including peer-reviewed journals, preprints, blogs, universities, podcasts and Live events across 10 research areas, you'll never miss what's important to you. It's like social media, but better. Oh, and we should mention - it's free.

  • Download from Google Play
  • Download from App Store
  • Download from AppInChina

Researcher displays publicly available abstracts and doesn’t host any full article content. If the content is open access, we will direct clicks from the abstracts to the publisher website and display the PDF copy on our platform. Clicks to view the full text will be directed to the publisher website, where only users with subscriptions or access through their institution are able to view the full article.