CTrigger

CTrigger: exposing atomicity violation bugs from their hiding places. Multicore hardware is making concurrent programs pervasive. Unfortunately, concurrent programs are prone to bugs. Among different types of concurrency bugs, atomicity violation bugs are common and important. Existing techniques to detect atomicity violation bugs suffer from one limitation: requiring bugs to manifest during monitored runs, which is an open problem in concurrent program testing. This paper makes two contributions. First, it studies the interleaving characteristics of the common practice in concurrent program testing (i.e., running a program over and over) to understand why atomicity violation bugs are hard to expose. Second, it proposes CTrigger to effectively and efficiently expose atomicity violation bugs in large programs. CTrigger focuses on a special type of interleavings (i.e., unserializable interleavings) that are inherently correlated to atomicity violation bugs, and uses trace analysis to systematically identify (likely) feasible unserializable interleavings with low occurrence-probability. CTrigger then uses minimum execution perturbation to exercise low-probability interleavings and expose difficult-to-catch atomicity violation. We evaluate CTrigger with real-world atomicity violation bugs from four sever/desktop applications (Apache, MySQL, Mozilla, and PBZIP2) and three SPLASH2 applications on 8-core machines. CTrigger efficiently exposes the tested bugs within 1--235 seconds, two to four orders of magnitude faster than stress testing. Without CTrigger, some of these bugs do not manifest even after 7 full days of stress testing. In addition, without deterministic replay support, once a bug is exposed, CTrigger can help programmers reliably reproduce it for diagnosis. Our tested bugs are reproduced by CTrigger mostly within 5 seconds, 300 to over 60000 times faster than stress testing.