Floating-Point Symbolic Execution: A Case Study in N-version Programming


Symbolic execution is a well-known program analysis technique for testing software, which makes intensive use of constraint solvers. Recent support for floating-point constraint solving has made it feasible to support floating-point reasoning in symbolic execution tools.

In this paper, we present the experience of two research teams that independently added floating-point support to KLEE, a popular symbolic execution engine. Since the two teams independently developed their extensions, this created the rare opportunity to conduct a rigorous comparison between the two implementations, essentially a modern case study on N-version programming.

As part of our comparison, we report on the different design and implementation decisions taken by each team, and show their impact on a rigorously assembled and tested set of benchmarks, itself a contribution of the paper.