RaceChecker: Efficient Identification of Harmful Data Races

Data races hidden in concurrent programs have caused severe failures. To improve the reliability, many race detectors are proposed. However, most of the reported races are not harmful, which consumes manual effort to identify the harmful races. This paper proposes RaceChecker that can detect the potential races and identify the harmful races effectively and efficiently. Unlike previous detectors, RaceChecker combines happens-before relation and ad-hoc synchronization to prune the infeasible races so that fewer potential races are required to be verified. Before verification, RaceChecker groups the remaining potential races, guaranteeing the potential races in one group do not interfere with each other. Therefore, multiple potential races in one group can be verified together in one execution.

To our knowledge, this is the first effective technique that groups the potential races to improve the efficiency. Unlike previous detectors that verify one potential race in one execution, RaceChecker dynamically controls thread scheduler to create real race conditions to verify multiple potential races in one execution, identifying the harmful races that cause program failures. We have implemented RaceChecker as a prototype tool and have experimented on a number of real-world concurrent programs. Results show that 66% of the potential races are infeasible and nearly 48% of the executions are reduced by the grouping strategy. The known harmful races are also identified effectively. By pruning and grouping, RaceChecker identifies the harmful races more efficiently. Comparing with RaceMob and RaceFuzzer, the time is reduced significantly, with an average of 45% and 81% respectively.

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