ORBS and the limits of static slicing
2015 IEEE 15th International Working Conference on Source Code Analysis and Manipulation (SCAM)
Observation-based slicing is a recently-introduced, language-independent slicing technique based on the dependencies observable from program behaviour. Due to the well-known limits of dynamic analysis, we may only compute an underapproximation of the true observation-based slice. However, because the observation-based slice captures all possible dependence that can be observed, even such approximations can yield insight into the limitations of static slicing. For example, a static slice, S,
... tatic slice, S, that is strictly smaller than the corresponding observation based slice is potentially unsafe. We present the results of three sets of experiments on 12 different programs, including benchmarks and larger programs, which investigate the relationship between static and observation-based slicing. We show that, in extreme cases, observation-based slices can find the true minimal static slice, where static techniques cannot. For more typical cases, our results illustrate the potential for observation-based slicing to highlight limitations in static slicers. Finally, we report on the sensitivity of observation-based slicing to test quality. 978-1-4673-7529-0/15 c 2015 IEEE SCAM 2015, Bremen, Germany Accepted for publication by IEEE. c 2015 IEEE. Personal use of this material is permitted. Permission from IEEE must be obtained for all other uses, in any current or future media, including reprinting/ republishing this material for advertising or promotional purposes, creating new collective works, for resale or redistribution to servers or lists, or reuse of any copyrighted component of this work in other works.