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  1. Novice programmers often struggle with code understanding and debugging. Live Programming environments visualize the runtime values of a program each time it is modified to provide immediate feedback, which help with tracing the program execution. This paper presents the use of a Live Programming tool in a CS1 course to better understand the impact of Live Programming on novices’ learning metrics and their perceptions of the tool. We conducted a within-subjects study at a large public university in a CS1 course in Python (N=237) where students completed tasks in a lab setting, in some cases with a Live Programming environment, and in some cases without. Through post-lab surveys and open-ended feedback, we measured how well students understood the material and how students perceived the programming environment. To understand the impact of Live Programming, we compared the collected data for students who used Live Programming with the data for students who did not. We found that while learning outcomes were the same regardless of whether Live Programming was used or not, students who used the Live Programming tool completed some code tracing tasks faster. Furthermore, students liked the Live Programming environment more, and rated it as more helpful for their learning.
  2. One vision for program synthesis, and specifically for programming by example (PBE), is an interactive programmer's assistant, integrated into the development environment. To make program synthesis practical for interactive use, prior work on Small-Step Live PBE has proposed to limit the scope of synthesis to small code snippets, and enable the users to provide local specifications for those snippets. This paradigm, however, does not work well in the presence of loops. We present LooPy, a synthesizer integrated into a live programming environment, which extends Small-Step Live PBE to work inside loops and scales it up to synthesize larger code snippets, while remaining fast enough for interactive use. To allow users to effectively provide examples at various loop iterations, even when the loop body is incomplete, LooPy makes use of live execution , a technique that leverages the programmer as an oracle to step over incomplete parts of the loop. To enable synthesis of loop bodies at interactive speeds, LooPy introduces Intermediate State Graph , a new data structure, which compactly represents a large space of code snippets composed of multiple assignment statements and conditionals. We evaluate LooPy empirically using benchmarks from competitive programming and previous synthesizers, and show that itmore »can solve a wide variety of synthesis tasks at interactive speeds. We also perform a small qualitative user study which shows that LooPy's block-level specifications are easy for programmers to provide.« less
  3. Web applications often handle large amounts of sensitive user data. Modern secure web frameworks protect this data by (1) using declarative languages to specify security policies alongside database schemas and (2) automatically enforcing these policies at runtime. Unfortunately, these frameworks do not handle the very common situation in which the schemas or the policies need to evolve over time—and updates to schemas and policies need to be performed in a carefully coordinated way. Mistakes during schema or policy migrations can unintentionally leak sensitive data or introduce privilege escalation bugs. In this work, we present a domain-specific language (Scooter) for expressing schema and policy migrations, and an associated SMT-based verifier (Sidecar) which ensures that migrations are secure as the application evolves. We describe the design of Scooter and Sidecar and show that our framework can be used to express realistic schemas, policies, and migrations, without giving up on runtime or verification performance.
  4. WebAssembly (Wasm) is a platform-independent bytecode that offers both good performance and runtime isolation. To implement isolation, the compiler inserts safety checks when it compiles Wasm to native machine code. While this approach is cheap, it also requires trust in the compiler's correctness---trust that the compiler has inserted each necessary check, correctly formed, in each proper place. Unfortunately, subtle bugs in the Wasm compiler can break---and have broken---isolation guarantees. To address this problem, we propose verifying memory isolation of Wasm binaries post-compilation. We implement this approach in VeriWasm, a static offline verifier for native x86-64 binaries compiled from Wasm; we prove the verifier's soundness, and find that it can detect bugs with no false positives. Finally, we describe our deployment of VeriWasm at Fastly.
  5. We present VeRA, a system for verifying the range analysis pass in browser just-in-time (JIT) compilers. Browser developers write range analysis routines in a subset of C++, and verification developers write infrastructure to verify custom analysis properties. Then, VeRA automatically verifies the range analysis routines, which browser developers can integrate directly into the JIT. We use VeRA to translate and verify Firefox range analysis routines, and it detects a new, confirmed bug that has existed in the browser for six years.