Residual investigation: Predictive and precise bug detection

Kaituo Li, Christoph Reichenbach, Christoph Csallner, Yannis Smaragdakis

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingPaper in conference proceedingpeer-review

9 Citations (SciVal)


We introduce the concept of "residual investigation" for program analysis. A residual investigation is a dynamic check installed as a result of running a static analysis that reports a possible program error. The purpose is to observe conditions that indicate whether the statically predicted program fault is likely to be realizable and relevant. The key feature of a residual investigation is that it has to be much more precise (i.e., with fewer false warnings) than the static analysis alone, yet significantly more general (i.e., reporting more errors) than the dynamic tests in the program's test suite pertinent to the statically reported error. That is, good residual investigations encode dynamic conditions that, when taken in conjunction with the static error report, increase confidence in the existence of an error, as well as its severity, without needing to directly observe a fault resulting from the error. We enhance the static analyzer FindBugs with several residual investigations, appropriately tuned to the static error patterns in FindBugs, and apply it to 7 large open-source systems and their native test suites. The result is an analysis with a low occurrence of false warnings ("false positives") while reporting several actual errors that would not have been detected by mere execution of a program's test suite.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication2012 International Symposium on Software Testing and Analysis, ISSTA 2012 - Proceedings
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery (ACM)
Number of pages11
ISBN (Print)9781450314541
Publication statusPublished - 2012 Aug 28
Externally publishedYes
Event21st International Symposium on Software Testing and Analysis, ISSTA 2012 - Minneapolis, MN, United States
Duration: 2012 Jul 152012 Jul 20


Conference21st International Symposium on Software Testing and Analysis, ISSTA 2012
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityMinneapolis, MN

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Software Engineering


  • existing test cases
  • False warnings
  • RFBI


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