A Compositional Deadlock Detector for Android Java

IEEE/ACM International Conference on Automated Software Engineering (ASE)


We develop a static deadlock analysis for commercial Android Java applications, of sizes in the tens of millions of LoC, under active development at Facebook. The analysis runs primarily at code-review time, on only the modified code and its dependents; we aim at reporting to developers in under 15 minutes.

To detect deadlocks in this setting, we first model the real language as an abstract language with balanced re-entrant locks, nondeterministic iteration and branching, and non-recursive procedure calls. We show that the existence of a deadlock in this abstract language is equivalent to a certain condition over the sets of critical pairs of each program thread; these record, for all possible executions of the thread, which locks are currently held at the point when a fresh lock is acquired. Since the critical pairs of any program thread is finite and computable, the deadlock detection problem for our language is decidable, and in NP.

We then leverage these results to develop an open-source implementation of our analysis adapted to deal with real Java code. The core of the implementation is an algorithm which computes critical pairs in a compositional, abstract interpretation style, running in quasi-exponential time. Our analyser is built in the INFER verification framework and has been in industrial deployment for over two years; it has seen over two hundred fixed deadlock reports with a report fix rate of ∼54%.

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