Automated Concurrency-Bug Fixing

This research was conducted by Guoliang Jin, Wei Zhang, Dongdong Deng, Ben Liblit, and Shan Lu. The paper appeared in the 10th USENIX Symposium on Operating Systems Design and Implementation (USENIX OSDI 2012).


Concurrency bugs are widespread in multithreaded programs. Fixing them is time-consuming and error-prone. We present CFix, a system that automates the repair of concurrency bugs. CFix works with a wide variety of concurrency-bug detectors. For each failure-inducing interleaving reported by a bug detector, CFix first determines a combination of mutual-exclusion and order relationships that, once enforced, can prevent the buggy interleaving. CFix then uses static analysis and testing to determine where to insert what synchronization operations to force the desired mutual-exclusion and order relationships, with a best effort to avoid deadlocks and excessive performance losses. CFix also simplifies its own patches by merging fixes for related bugs.

Evaluation using four different types of bug detectors and thirteen real-world concurrency-bug cases shows that CFix can successfully patch these cases without causing deadlocks or excessive performance degradation. Patches automatically generated by CFix are of similar quality to those manually written by developers.

Full Paper

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