Improved Loop Execution Modeling in the Clang Static Analyzer
The LLVM Clang Static Analyzer is a source code analysis tool which aims to find bugs in C, C++, and Objective-C programs using symbolic execution, i.e. it simulates the possible execution paths of the code. Currently the simulation of the loops is somewhat naive (but efficient), unrolling the loops a predefined constant number of times. However, this approach can result in a loss of coverage in various cases. This study aims to introduce two alternative approaches which can extend the current method and can be applied simultaneously: (1) determining loops worth to fully unroll with applied heuristics, and (2) using a widening mechanism to simulate an arbitrary number of iteration steps. These methods were evaluated on numerous open source projects, and proved to increase coverage in most of the cases. This work also laid the infrastructure for future loop modeling improvements.