CSC News

October 31, 2017

Project Aims to Rid Computing of Regex-Related Bugs

Regular expressions (regrexes) are responsible for many faults in software projects. However, static bug finders and automated program repair techniques generally ignore this common language feature.


Kathryn Stolee, Assistant Professor of Computer Science at NC State, proposes a project, titled "Supporting Regular Expression Testing, Search, Repair, Comprehension and Maintenance," that will explore and characterize regex-related bugs, then develop approaches for detecting and patching these bugs using static analysis and automated program repair. Both detection and patching techniques heavily depend on similarity analysis of regexes.


The expected research outcomes include publicly available data sets of regex-related faults, new regex-related bug patterns for static bug finders like FindBUgs and PMB, as well as an open source tool for automated patch generation for regular expressions.


The total amount funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) for the project is $499,996, and the award runs from August 15, 2017 to July 31, 2020.



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