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  1. Variable names are critical for conveying intended program behavior. Machine learning-based program analysis methods use variable name representations for a wide range of tasks, such as suggesting new variable names and bug detection. Ideally, such methods could capture semantic relationships between names beyond syntactic similarity, e.g., the fact that the names average and mean are similar. Unfortunately, previous work has found that even the best of previous representation approaches primarily capture "relatedness" (whether two variables are linked at all), rather than "similarity" (whether they actually have the same meaning). We propose VarCLR, a new approach for learning semantic representations of variable names that effectively captures variable similarity in this stricter sense. We observe that this problem is an excellent fit for contrastive learning, which aims to minimize the distance between explicitly similar inputs, while maximizing the distance between dissimilar inputs. This requires labeled training data, and thus we construct a novel, weakly-supervised variable renaming dataset mined from GitHub edits. We show that VarCLR enables the effective application of sophisticated, general-purpose language models like BERT, to variable name representation and thus also to related downstream tasks like variable name similarity search or spelling correction. VarCLR produces models that significantly outperform themore »state-of-the-art on IdBench, an existing benchmark that explicitly captures variable similarity (as distinct from relatedness). Finally, we contribute a release of all data, code, and pre-trained models, aiming to provide a drop-in replacement for variable representations used in either existing or future program analyses that rely on variable names.« less
  2. The decompiler is one of the most common tools for examining executable binaries without the corresponding source code. It transforms binaries into high-level code, reversing the compilation process. Unfortunately, decompiler output is far from readable because the decompilation process is often incomplete. State-of-the-art techniques use machine learning to predict missing information like variable names. While these approaches are often able to suggest good variable names in context, no existing work examines how the selection of training data influences these machine learning models. We investigate how data provenance and the quality of training data affect performance, and how well, if at all, trained models generalize across software domains. We focus on the variable renaming problem using one such machine learning model, DIRE . We first describe DIRE in detail and the accompanying technique used to generate training data from raw code. We also evaluate DIRE ’s overall performance without respect to data quality. Next, we show how training on more popular, possibly higher quality code (measured using GitHub stars) leads to a more generalizable model because popular code tends to have more diverse variable names. Finally, we evaluate how well DIRE predicts domain-specific identifiers, propose a modification to incorporate domain information,more »and show that it can predict identifiers in domain-specific scenarios 23% more frequently than the original DIRE model.« less