Detecting Simulink Compiler Bugs via Controllable Zombie Blocks Mutation
As a popular Cyber-Physical System (CPS) development tool chain, MathWorks Simulink is widely used to prototype CPS models in safety-critical applications, e.g., aerospace and healthcare. It is crucial to ensure the correctness and reliability of Simulink compiler (i.e., the compiler module of Simulink) in practice since all CPS models depend on compilation. However, Simulink compiler testing is challenging due to millions of lines of source code and the lack of the complete formal language specification. Although several methods have been proposed to automatically test Simulink compiler, there still remains two challenges to be tackled, namely the limited variant space and the insufficient mutation diversity. To address these challenges, we propose COMBAT, a new differential testing method for Simulink compiler testing. COMBAT includes an EMI (Equivalence Modulo Input) mutation component and a diverse variant generation component. The EMI mutation component inserts assertion statements (e.g., If /While blocks) at arbitrary points of the seed CPS model. These statements break each insertion point into true and false branches. Then, COMBAT feeds all the data passed through the insertion point into the true branch to preserve the equivalence of CPS variants. In such a way, the body of the false branch could be viewed as a new variant space, thus addressing the first challenge. The diverse variant generation component uses Markov chain Monte Carlo optimization to sample the seed CPS model and generate complex mutations of long sequences of blocks in the variant space, thus addressing the second challenge. Experiments demonstrate that COMBAT significantly outperforms the state-of-the-art approaches in Simulink compiler testing. Within five months, COMBAT has reported 16 valid bugs for Simulink R2021b, of which 11 bugs have been confirmed as new bugs by MathWorks Support.