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  1. Free, publicly-accessible full text available April 17, 2024
  2. Modern cluster managers like Borg, Omega and Kubernetes rely on the state-reconciliation principle to be highly resilient and extensible. In these systems, all cluster-management logic is embedded in a loosely coupled collection of microservices called controllers. Each controller independently observes the current cluster state and issues corrective actions to converge the cluster to a desired state. However, the complex distributed nature of the overall system makes it hard to build reliable and correct controllers – we find that controllers face myriad reliability issues that lead to severe consequences like data loss, security vulnerabilities, and resource leaks. We present Sieve, the first automatic reliability-testing tool for cluster-management controllers. Sieve drives controllers to their potentially buggy corners by systematically and extensively perturbing the controller’s view of the current cluster state in ways it is expected to tolerate. It then compares the cluster state’s evolution with and without perturbations to detect safety and liveness issues. Sieve’s design is powered by a fundamental opportunity in state-reconciliation systems – these systems are based on state-centric interfaces between the controllers and the cluster state; such interfaces are highly transparent and thereby enable fully-automated reliability testing. To date, Sieve has efficiently found 46 serious safety and liveness bugs (35 confirmed and 22 fixed) in ten popular controllers with a low false-positive rate of 3.5%. 
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  3. As machine learning (ML) systems become pervasive, safeguarding their security is critical. However, recently it has been demonstrated that motivated adversaries are able to mislead ML systems by perturbing test data using semantic transformations. While there exists a rich body of research providing provable robustness guarantees for ML models against ℓp norm bounded adversarial perturbations, guarantees against semantic perturbations remain largely underexplored. In this paper, we provide TSS -- a unified framework for certifying ML robustness against general adversarial semantic transformations. First, depending on the properties of each transformation, we divide common transformations into two categories, namely resolvable (e.g., Gaussian blur) and differentially resolvable (e.g., rotation) transformations. For the former, we propose transformation-specific randomized smoothing strategies and obtain strong robustness certification. The latter category covers transformations that involve interpolation errors, and we propose a novel approach based on stratified sampling to certify the robustness. Our framework TSS leverages these certification strategies and combines with consistency-enhanced training to provide rigorous certification of robustness. We conduct extensive experiments on over ten types of challenging semantic transformations and show that TSS significantly outperforms the state of the art. Moreover, to the best of our knowledge, TSS is the first approach that achieves nontrivial certified robustness on the large-scale ImageNet dataset. For instance, our framework achieves 30.4% certified robust accuracy against rotation attack (within ±30∘) on ImageNet. Moreover, to consider a broader range of transformations, we show TSS is also robust against adaptive attacks and unforeseen image corruptions such as CIFAR-10-C and ImageNet-C. 
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  4. We present an approach to learn contracts for object-oriented programs where guarantees of correctness of the contracts are made with respect to a test generator. Our contract synthesis approach is based on a novel notion of tight contracts and an online learning algorithm that works in tandem with a test generator to synthesize tight contracts. We implement our approach in a tool called Precis and evaluate it on a suite of programs written in C#, studying the safety and strength of the synthesized contracts, and compare them to those synthesized by Daikon. 
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  5. null (Ed.)
    Despite over a decade of research, it is still challenging for mobile UI testing tools to achieve satisfactory effectiveness, especially on industrial apps with rich features and large code bases. Our experiences suggest that existing mobile UI testing tools are prone to exploration tarpits, where the tools get stuck with a small fraction of app functionalities for an extensive amount of time. For example, a tool logs out an app at early stages without being able to log back in, and since then the tool gets stuck with exploring the app's pre-login functionalities (i.e., exploration tarpits) instead of its main functionalities. While tool vendors/users can manually hardcode rules for the tools to avoid specific exploration tarpits, these rules can hardly generalize, being fragile in face of diverted testing environments and fast app iterations. To identify and resolve exploration tarpits, we propose VET, a general approach including a supporting system for the given specific Android UI testing tool on the given specific app under test (AUT). VET runs the tool on the AUT for some time and records UI traces, based on which VET identifies exploration tarpits by recognizing their patterns in the UI traces. VET then pinpoints the actions (e.g., clicking logout) or the screens that lead to or exhibit exploration tarpits. In subsequent test runs, VET guides the testing tool to prevent or recover from exploration tarpits. From our evaluation with state-of-the-art Android UI testing tools on popular industrial apps, VET identifies exploration tarpits that cost up to 98.6% testing time budget. These exploration tarpits reveal not only limitations in UI exploration strategies but also defects in tool implementations. VET automatically addresses the identified exploration tarpits, enabling each evaluated tool to achieve higher code coverage and improve crash-triggering capabilities. 
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  6. null (Ed.)
    Tests that modify (i.e., "pollute") the state shared among tests in a test suite are called \polluter tests". Finding these tests is im- portant because they could result in di erent test outcomes based on the order of the tests in the test suite. Prior work has proposed the PolDet technique for nding polluter tests in runs of JUnit tests on a regular Java Virtual Machine (JVM). Given that Java PathFinder (JPF) provides desirable infrastructure support, such as systematically exploring thread schedules, it is a worthwhile attempt to re-implement techniques such as PolDet in JPF. We present a new implementation of PolDet for nding polluter tests in runs of JUnit tests in JPF. We customize the existing state comparison in JPF to support the so-called \common-root iso- morphism" required by PolDet. We find that our implementation is simple, requiring only -200 lines of code, demonstrating that JPF is a sophisticated infrastructure for rapid exploration of re-search ideas on software testing. We evaluate our implementation on 187 test classes from 13 Java projects and nd 26 polluter tests. Our results show that the runtime overhead of PolDet@JPF com- pared to base JPF is relatively low, on average 1.43x. However, our experiments also show some potential challenges with JPF. 
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  7. Configuration changes are among the dominant causes of failures of large-scale software system deployment. Given the velocity of configuration changes, typically at the scale of hundreds to thousands of times daily in modern cloud systems, checking these configuration changes is critical to prevent failures due to misconfigurations. Recent work has proposed configuration testing, Ctest, a technique that tests configuration changes together with the code that uses the changed configurations. Ctest can automatically generate a large number of ctests that can effectively detect misconfigurations, including those that are hard to detect by traditional techniques. However, running ctests can take a long time to detect misconfigurations. Inspired by traditional test-case prioritization (TCP) that aims to reorder test executions to speed up detection of regression code faults, we propose to apply TCP to reorder ctests to speed up detection of misconfigurations. We extensively evaluate a total of 84 traditional and novel ctest-specific TCP techniques. The experimental results on five widely used cloud projects demonstrate that TCP can substantially speed up misconfiguration detection. Our study provides guidelines for applying TCP to configuration testing in practice. 
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  8. null (Ed.)
    Due to the importance of Android app quality assurance, many Android UI testing tools have been developed by researchers over the years. However, recent studies show that these tools typically achieve low code coverage on popular industrial apps. In fact, given a reasonable amount of run time, most state-of-the-art tools cannot even outperform a simple tool, Monkey, on popular industrial apps with large codebases and sophisticated functionalities. Our motivating study finds that these tools perform two types of operations, UI Hierarchy Capturing (capturing information about the contents on the screen) and UI Event Execution (executing UI events, such as clicks), often inefficiently using UIAutomator, a component of the Android framework. In total, these two types of operations use on average 70% of the given test time. Based on this finding, to improve the effectiveness of Android testing tools, we propose TOLLER, a tool consisting of infrastructure enhancements to the Android operating system. TOLLER injects itself into the same virtual machine as the app under test, giving TOLLER direct access to the app’s runtime memory. TOLLER is thus able to directly (1) access UI data structures, and thus capture contents on the screen without the overhead of invoking the Android framework services or remote procedure calls (RPCs), and (2) invoke UI event handlers without needing to execute the UI events. Compared with the often-used UIAutomator, TOLLER reduces average time usage of UI Hierarchy Capturing and UI Event Execution operations by up to 97% and 95%, respectively. We integrate TOLLER with existing state-of-the-art/practice Android UI testing tools and achieve the range of 11.8% to 70.1% relative code coverage improvement on average. We also find that TOLLER-enhanced tools are able to trigger 1.4x to 3.6x distinct crashes compared with their original versions without TOLLER enhancement. These improvements are so substantial that they also change the relative competitiveness of the tools under empirical comparison. Our findings highlight the practicality of TOLLER as well as raising the community awareness of infrastructure support’s significance beyond the community’s existing heavy focus on algorithms. 
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  9. null (Ed.)
    The need for fail-slow fault tolerance in modern distributed systems is highlighted by the increasingly reported fail-slow hardware/software components that lead to poor performance system-wide. We argue that fail-slow fault tolerance not only needs new distributed protocol designs, but also desires programming support for implementing and verifying fail-slow fault-tolerant code. Our observation is that the inability of tolerating fail-slow faults in existing distributed systems is often rooted in the implementations and is difficult to understand and debug. We designed the Dependably Fast Library (DepFast) for implementing fail-slow tolerant distributed systems. DepFast provides expressive interfaces for taking control of possible fail-slow points in the program to prevent unexpected slowness propagation once and for all. We use DepFast to implement a distributed replicated state machine (RSM) and show that it can tolerate various types of fail-slow faults that affect existing RSM implementations. 
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  10. null (Ed.)
    Modern datacenter infrastructures are increasingly architected as a cluster of loosely coupled services. The cluster states are typically maintained in a logically centralized, strongly consistent data store (e.g., ZooKeeper, Chubby and etcd), while the services learn about the evolving state by reading from the data store, or via a stream of notifications. However, it is challenging to ensure services are correct, even in the presence of failures, networking issues, and the inherent asynchrony of the distributed system. In this paper, we identify that partial histories can be used to effectively reason about correctness for individual services in such distributed infrastructure systems. That is, individual services make decisions based on observing only a subset of changes to the world around them. We show that partial histories, when applied to distributed infrastructures, have immense explanatory power and utility over the state of the art. We discuss the implications of partial histories and sketch tooling for reasoning about distributed infrastructure systems. 
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