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Expanding the Reach of Fuzzing: from Exposing Syntax Errors to Enabling Program Synthesis

13 Nov
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Wednesday, 11/13/2019 12:00pm to 1:00pm
Computer Science Building, Room 150/151
Rising Stars

Abstract: Software bugs, leading to correctness or security issues, are pervasive in modern software. Fuzzing or fuzz testing is a method to find such bugs automatically by sending many random-looking inputs to the program under test. Recently, coverage-guided fuzz testing, which leverages an evolutionary algorithm to guide its test-input generation, has gained huge traction in industry and academia thanks to its scalability and bug-finding power. However, due to its random-mutation-based input generation technique, coverage-guided fuzzing cannot reach far beyond the syntax analysis stage of programs. In this talk, I will introduce several projects expanding the reach of fuzz testing. First, I will introduce methods that enable fuzz testing to find inputs hitting deeply nested branches and inputs that expose performance bottlenecks in programs. Then, I will explore how leveraging human knowledge---in the form of input generators---allows coverage-guided fuzzing's evolutionary algorithm to explore behavior and bugs deep in the core logic of the program. Finally, I will share a key insight that enables us to pair these input generators with machine learning methods to achieve huge speedups in valid input generation, and even step towards program synthesis for real-world APIs. 

Bio: Caroline Lemieux is a PhD candidate at UC Berkeley, advised by Koushik Sen. Her research interests center around improving the correctness and reliability of software systems by developing automated methods for engineering tasks such as testing, debugging, and comprehension. Her current projects focus on fuzz testing and program synthesis. Her work on fuzz testing has been awarded an ACM SIGSOFT Distinguished Paper Award, Distinguished Artifact Award, and Tool Demonstration Award. Before Berkeley, she received her B.Sc. in Computer Science and Mathematics at the University of British Columbia. She is the recipient of a Berkeley Fellowship for Graduate Study, and, most recently, a Google PhD Fellowship in Programming Technologies and Software Engineering.

A pizza lunch for attendees will be available at 11:30 a.m. in CS 150

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