Targeted test generation for actor systems

Sihan Li, Farah Hariri, Gul Agha

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


This paper addresses the problem of targeted test generation for actor systems. Specifically, we propose a method to support generation of system-level tests to cover a given code location in an actor system. The test generation method consists of two phases. First, static analysis is used to construct an abstraction of an entire actor system in terms of a message flow graph (MFG). An MFG captures potential actor interactions that are defined in a program. Second, a backwards symbolic execution (BSE) from a target location to an “entry point” of the actor system is performed. BSE uses the MFG constructed in the first phase of our targeted test generation method to guide execution across actors. Because concurrency leads to a huge search space which can potentially be explored through BSE, we prune the search space by using two heuristics combined with a feedback-directed technique. We implement our method in Tap, a tool for Java Akka programs, and evaluate Tap on the Savina benchmarks as well as four open source projects. Our evaluation shows that the Tap achieves a relatively high target coverage (78% on 1,000 targets) and detects six previously unreported bugs in the subjects.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publication32nd European Conference on Object-Oriented Programming, ECOOP 2018
EditorsTodd Millstein
PublisherSchloss Dagstuhl- Leibniz-Zentrum fur Informatik GmbH, Dagstuhl Publishing
ISBN (Electronic)9783959770798
StatePublished - Jul 1 2018
Event32nd European Conference on Object-Oriented Programming, ECOOP 2018 - Amsterdam, Netherlands
Duration: Jul 16 2018Jul 21 2018

Publication series

NameLeibniz International Proceedings in Informatics, LIPIcs
ISSN (Print)1868-8969


Other32nd European Conference on Object-Oriented Programming, ECOOP 2018


  • Actors
  • Static analysis
  • Symbolic execution
  • Test generation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software


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