Automatic Program Repair with Evolutionary Computation

22 Oct
10/22/2010 - 6:15am to 7:15am
Distinguished Lecturer Series

Stephanie Forrest
University of New Mexico
Computer Science

Computer Science Building, Room 151

Faculty Host: Lori Clarke

There are many methods for detecting and mitigating software errors but few generic methods that automatically repair errors once they are discovered. The talk will describe recent research applying the mechanisms of biological evolution quite directly to the problem of repairing software bugs. In this work, errors in off-the-shelf, legacy programs are repaired automatically without formal specifications, program annotations, or special coding practices. The method uses an extended form of genetic programming to evolve a program that retains required functionality but is not susceptible to the error. We use existing test suites to encode both the error and required functionality. The talk will describe the algorithm and summarize experimental results on 15 programs totaling 1.2M lines of C code. If time permits, the talk will also describe recent extensions to assembly code programs and closed-loop repair of security vulnerabilities.


Stephanie Forrest is Professor and Chairman of Computer Science at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque. Professor Forrest received the Ph.D. in Computer and Communication Sciences from the University of Michigan. Before joining UNM she worked for Teknowledge Inc. and was a Director's Fellow at the Center for Nonlinear Studies, Los Alamos National Laboratory. Professor Forrest is a member of the External Faculty at the Santa Fe Institute and Co-chair of its Science Board. She also served as SFI's Interim Vice President 1999-2000.

A reception will be held at 10:00 AM in the atrium, outside the presentation room.