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RCU Mutation Testing

Mutation testing is an automated test technique often used in academia to
determine the quality of test suites and the robustness of programs. Though
seen as the gold standards by academics, it has seldom been applied to
programs longer than a few hundred lines of code due to the computational
explosion it is prone to as programs grow.

We have been working to adapt this technique to the practical exigencies of
the RCU to evaluate its testing harness as well as identify new bugs in a more
scalable and automated way. By rapidly triaging and throwing away
uninteresting mutants we have been able to use this technique to identify 1
bug and 2 test case modifications in a relatively well-established and solid
module of the Linux Kernel over the last few weeks.

In this talk, I will describe mutation testing and its potential, how we
overcame the scalability issues associated with this technique, and how this
technique can successfully be used to identify hairy bugs in big and complex
systems.

Joint work with Iftekhar Ahmed, Alex Groce, and Carlos Jensen, all of Oregon
State University

Paul McKenney

Paul E. McKenney has been coding for four decades, more than half of that on parallel hardware, where his work has earned him a reputation among some as a flaming heretic. Over the past decade, Paul is a Distinguished Engineer at the IBM Linux Technology Center. Paul maintains the RCU implementation within the Linux kernel, where the variety of workloads present highly entertaining performance, scalability, real-time response, and energy-efficiency challenges. Prior to that, he worked on the DYNIX/ptx kernel at Sequent, and prior to that on packet-radio and Internet protocols (but long before it was polite to mention Internet at cocktail parties), system administration, business applications, and real-time systems. His hobbies include what passes for running at his age (AKA "hiking") along with the usual house-wife-and-kids habit.


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