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Mutable Replay

Society is increasingly reliant on software, but deployed software contains security vulnerabilities and other bugs that can threaten privacy, property and even human lives. When a security vulnerability or critical error is discovered, a software patch is issued to attempt to fix the problem, but patches themselves can be incorrect, inadequate, and break necessarily functionality. This project investigates the full workflow for the developer to rapidly diagnose the root cause of the vulnerability or error, for the developer to test that a prospective patch indeed completely removes the defect, and for users to check the issued patch on their own configurations and workloads before adopting the patch.

This project explores the use of mutable replay to help reproduce, diagnose, and fix software bugs. A low-overhead recorder records the execution of software in case a failure or exploit occurs, allowing the developer to replay the recorded log to reproduce the problem. Mutable replay allows logs recorded with the buggy version to be replayed after the modest code changes typical of critical patches to show that patches work correctly to resolve detected problems. This project leverages semantic information readily available to the developer to conduct well-understood static and dynamic analyses to correctly transform the recorded log to enable mutable replay. The results of this research will benefit society and individuals by simplifying and hastening both generation and validation of patches, ultimately making software more reliable and secure.

Contact Gail Kaiser (kaiser@cs.columbia.edu)

Team Members

Gail Kaiser

Graduate Students
Anthony Saeiva Narin

Former Graduate Students
Jonathan Bell
Kenny Harvey