Saturday, June 21, 2008

Java PathFinder

The Java PathFinder, JPF, is a translator from Java to Promela, the programming language of the SPIN model checker. The purpose is to establish a framework for verification and debugging of Java programs using model checking. The system detects deadlocks and violations of assertions stated by the programmer.

Java PathFinder (JPF) is a system to verify executable Java bytecode programs. In its basic form, it is a Java Virtual Machine (JVM) that is used as an explicit state software model checker, systematically exploring all potential execution paths of a program to find violations of properties like deadlocks or unhandled exceptions. Unlike traditional debuggers, JPF reports the entire execution path that leads to a defect. JPF is especially well-suited to finding hard-to-test concurrency defects in multithreaded programs.

JPF is a pure Java application that can be run either as a standalone command line tool, or embedded into systems like development environments. It was mostly developed - and is still used - at the NASA Ames Research Center. Started in 1999 as a feasibility study for software model checking, JPF has found its way into academia and industry, and has even helped detect defects in real spacecraft.


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