A stateless model checker powered by maximal causality reduction
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.idea testing ICB explorer Oct 16, 2018
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Maximal-Causality-Reduction (MCR) Java version

MCR is a stateless model checker powered by an efficient reduction algorithm. It systematically explores the state-space of the program by collecting runtime traces of the program executions and constructing ordering constraints over the traces to generate other possible schedules. It captures the values of the writes and reads to prune redundant explorations. By enforcing at least one read to return a different value, it generates a new schedule which drives the program to reach a new state.

Getting Started


How to Run

First git clone the project. To compile mcr, run mvn package under the root directory of the project, it will generates jar files into build directory.

To run the tests under mcr-test/, run the bash script mcr_cmd. The usage of mcr_cmd:

usage: ./mcr_cmd [options] test_class [parameters]
  e.g., ./mcr_cmd [options] edu.tamu.aser.rvtest_simple_tests.Example
  	--help -h usage
	--debug -D print debug information
	--static -S using static analysis       (see the ECOOP'17 paper)
	--class_path absolute_dir -c absolute_dir
					if this is not specified, default the current bin/ as the class path
	--memmory-model MM -m MM selecting the memory model SC/TSO/PSO  (see the OOPLSA'16 paper)

If -S is specified, the tool will first run static analysis to generate the system dependencies graph into SDGs and then explore the program. The number of the reads and constraitns as well as the constraints solving times are save to the file under stats/.

-m selects the executed memory model. We currently support SC/TSO/PSO, and use SC.

to run the users' own tests

MCR works with JUnit 4. Given a JUnit 4 test class, it will explore each of the tests in the test class. To use MCR, you need to add the following annotation "@RunWith(JUnit4MCRRunner.class)" to the test class. Users can refer to the benchmarks we put under 'mcr-test/' for more ideas about how to write the tests.

An Example

MCR is able to detect concurrency errors caused by deadlocks, order violation, data race and so on. The following code contains a potential deadlock. (See TestDeadLock.java under edu.tamu.aser.results).

	public void increment1() {
        synchronized (mutex1) {
            this.field = 1;
            synchronized (mutex2) { }

    public void increment2() {
        synchronized (mutex2) {
            int r = this.field;
            synchronized (mutex1) { }

    public int getField() {
        return this.field;

    public void test() throws InterruptedException {

        final TestDeadLock counter = new TestDeadLock();
        Thread t1 = new Thread(new Runnable() {
            public void run() { counter.increment1(); }

        Thread t2 = new Thread(new Runnable() {
            public void run() { counter.increment2(); }

        t1.start(); t2.start();

        t1.join();  t2.join();

After running MCR on the program above (./mcr_cmd edu.tamu.aser.results.TestDeadLock), MCR can generate the specific interleaving which triggers the deadlock and reproduce the failure meanwhile:

The following trace triggered this error:

Useful Documents