Testing and Verification of Concurrent Programs

Speaker: Susanne van den Elsen

Audience level: Intermediate


Concurrency is notoriously hard to get right. First of all, it introduces a new class of errors. For example, multiple threads operating on shared data may be involved in a data race and synchronisation mechanisms, when not applied correctly, can introduce deadlock. Moreover, the behaviour of a concurrent system depends on the runtime interleaving of threads or processes, which is a source of nondeterminism. This nondeterminism makes concurrent systems hard to reason about and potential bugs hard to find and reproduce using traditional tools.

In this talk I will discuss dynamic analysis tools that are specifically tailored to detect concurrency errors or give guarantees about their absence. I will give an insight into the techniques used in these tools and demonstrate them on multithreaded C++ programs. I will start with trace analysis, used in concurrency error detectors like ThreadSanitizer and Helgrind. The focus of this talk will be on systematic testing, a technique that drives the system under test through a carefully chosen set of thread interleavings and analyses the resulting execution traces.