Seminars at the Faculty of Informatics

Systematic Black-Box Analysis of Collaborative Web Applications

Speaker: Michael Pradel
  TU Darmstadt, Germany
Date: Wednesday, June 14, 2017
Place: USI Lugano Campus, room SI-003, informatics building (Via G. Buffi 13)
Time: 11:30

 

Abstract:

Web applications, such as collaborative editors that allow multiple clients to concurrently interact on a shared resource, are difficult to implement correctly. Existing techniques for analyzing concurrent software do not scale to such complex systems or do not consider multiple interacting clients. This paper presents Simian, the first fully automated technique for systematically analyzing multi-client web applications. Naively exploring all possible interactions between a set of clients of such applications is practically infeasible. Simian obtains scalability for real-world applications by using a two-phase black-box approach. The application code remains unknown to the analysis and is first explored systematically using a single client to infer potential conflicts between client events triggered in a specific context. The second phase synthesizes multi-client interactions targeted at triggering misbehavior that may result from the potential conflicts, and reports an inconsistency if the clients do not converge to a consistent state. We evaluate the analysis on three widely used systems, Google Docs, Firepad, and ownCloud Documents, where it reports a variety of inconsistencies, such as incorrect formatting and misplaced text fragments. Moreover, we find that the two-phase approach runs 10x faster compared to exhaustive exploration, making systematic analysis practically applicable.

(Joint work with Marina Billes and Anders Moller. Paper at PLDI'17.)

 

Biography:

Michael Pradel is an assistant professor at TU Darmstadt, which he joined after a PhD at ETH Zurich and a post-doc at UC Berkeley. His research interests span software engineering and programming languages, with a focus on tools and techniques for building reliable, efficient, and secure software. In particular, he is interested in dynamic program analysis, test generation, concurrency, performance profiling, and JavaScript-based web applications.

 

Host: Prof. Mauro Pezzé