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Evaluation of Generalizability of Neural Program Analyzers under Semantic-Preserving Transformations

04/15/2020
by   Md Rafiqul Islam Rabin, et al.
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The abundance of publicly available source code repositories, in conjunction with the advances in neural networks, has enabled data-driven approaches to program analysis. These approaches, called neural program analyzers, use neural networks to extract patterns in the programs for tasks ranging from development productivity to program reasoning. Despite the growing popularity of neural program analyzers, the extent to which their results are generalizable is unknown. In this paper, we perform a large-scale evaluation of the generalizability of two popular neural program analyzers using seven semantically-equivalent transformations of programs. Our results caution that in many cases the neural program analyzers fail to generalize well, sometimes to programs with negligible textual differences. The results provide the initial stepping stones for quantifying robustness in neural program analyzers.

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