AuthorsN. Walkinshaw, K. Bogdanov, S. Ali and M. Holcombe
TitleAutomated Discovery of State Transitions and Their Functions in Source Code
AfilliationSoftware Engineering, Software Engineering
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2007
JournalSoftware Testing, Verification and Reliability
PublisherJohn Wiley & Sons

Finite-state machine specifications form the basis for a number of rigorous state-based testing techniques and can help to understand program behaviour. Unfortunately they are rarely maintained during software development, which means that these benefits can rarely be fully exploited. This paper describes a technique that, given a set of states that are of interest to a developer, uses symbolic execution to reverse-engineer state transitions from source code. A particularly novel aspect of our approach is that, besides determining whether or not a state transition can take place, it also identifies the paths through the source code that govern a transition. The technique has been implemented as a prototype, enabling its preliminary evaluation with respect to real software systems.

Citation KeySimula.approve.74