Carnegie Mellon University

Padhye and team holding up their award certificates for a group photo during the awards ceremony

August 15, 2023

Padhye Awarded SIGSOFT Distinguished Paper for Advancing Software Testing Techniques

By Josh Quicksall

Rohan Padhye, an Assistant Professor in the Software and Societal Systems Department (S3D) and the head of PASTA lab at CMU, was recently a part of the team honored with the esteemed ACM SIGSOFT Distinguished Paper Award. The recognition was bestowed upon his group for their work titled "Guiding Greybox Fuzzing with Mutation Testing," which was presented at the 2023 ACM SIGSOFT International Symposium on Software Testing and Analysis (ISSTA).

The paper introduces a novel Java-based framework called Mu2 that combines greybox fuzzing and mutation testing for software testing. The research has the potential to shift the focus of fuzz testing research beyond merely identifying crash bugs and towards synthesizing high-quality test suites for more efficient and sustainable regression testing.

The paper, co-authored by Padhye and his team of talented students and collaborators, including Vasudev Vikram, Isabella Laybourn, Ao Li, Nicole Nair, Kelton O'Brien, and Rafaello Sanna, demonstrates Mu2's significant advancements in software testing through its evaluation on five Java targets. An optimized version of Mu2 showed an improvement in mutation scores (which correlate with a test suite’s fault finding ability) up to 20% across benchmarks, making mutation-analysis-guided fuzzing a viable alternative to coverage-guided fuzzing for producing a high-quality test input corpus.

Padhye and his team hope that their work will pave the way for more innovative research in fuzz testing to secure evolving software systems. By synthesizing higher quality test suites, researchers can develop software systems that are ultimately faster and more environmentally friendly. Padhye would also like to extend his congratulations to his excellent students and collaborators on this achievement.

As the leading research symposium on software testing and analysis, ISSTA brings together academic, industrial researchers, and practitioners to exchange ideas, problems, and experience in analyzing and testing software systems. More than 100 papers were accepted for ISSTA 2023, with only nine receiving distinguished paper awards.

Padhye earned his master's degree from IIT Bombay and his doctorate in Computer Science from UC Berkeley. Prior to joining the faculty at Carnegie Mellon University, where he now leads the Program Analysis, Software Testing, and Applications (PASTA) research group, he spent two years at IBM Research India and collaborated with Microsoft Research and Samsung Research America. His research, which focuses on the automated discovery of software bugs, has resulted in over 50 new bugs being identified in widely used open-source software. His work has been published at venues such as ICSE, ASE, ISSTA, OOPSLA, SOSP, SoCC, and USENIX Security.