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Diverse Coffee : “Automated Software Transplantation” Speaker : Earl Barr
June 2, 2016 @ 13:00 - 14:00
Earl Barr, professor at University College London (http://earlbarr.com/) gives a talk on Thursday the 2nd of June
Bio of the speaker
Earl Barr is a senior lecturer at the University College London. He received
his Ph.D. at UC Davis in 2009. Earl’s research interests include testing and
analysis, empirical software engineering, and computer security. His recent
work focuses on numerical software, time-travel debugging, the application of
natural language processing techniques to software, and program equivalence.
Earl has won an ACM distinguished paper award in each of the last three years;
his paper entitled “The Naturalness of Software” is this month’s research
highlight in the Communciations of the ACM. Earl dodges vans and taxis on his
bike commute to UCL in London.
Automated transplantation would open many exciting avenues for software development: suppose we could autotransplant code from one system into another, entirely unrelated, system. This paper introduces a theory, an algorithm, and a tool that achieve this. Leveraging lightweight annotation, program analysis identifies an organ (interesting behavior to transplant); testing validates that the organ exhibits the desired behavior during its extraction and after its implantation into a host. While we do not claim automated transplantation is now a solved problem, our results are encouraging: we report that in 12 of 15 experiments, involving 5 donors and 3 hosts (all popular real-world systems), we successfully autotransplanted new functionality and passed all regression tests. Autotransplantation is also already useful: in 26 hours computation time we successfully autotransplanted the H.264 video encoding functionality from the x264 system to the VLC media player; compare this to upgrading x264 within VLC, a task that we estimate, from VLC’s version history, took human programmers an average of 20 days of elapsed, as opposed to dedicated, time.
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