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SUSHI (Symbolic Unit testing via Search of Heap Inputs) is an automatic test case generator for Java programs, aimed at achieving high branch coverage. It leverages a technique called symbolic execution, performed with the symbolic executor JBSE, to calculate from a program path that reaches a branch a path constraint, i.e., a constraint on the program inputs that, when satisfied, allows to cover the path. To solve path constraints and generate the corresponding tests SUSHI transforms path constraints in search problems and feeds by them the search-based test case generator EvoSuite.

The main advantage of SUSHI is its ability of generating test inputs including complex data structures. This allows, for instance, to automatically test compiler passes that take parse trees as inputs.

Installing SUSHI

There are two ways to install SUSHI. The easiest is via Docker; The less easy is by building it from source and deploying it on your local machine. In both cases we support only the head revision of the master branch. Formal releases will be available when SUSHI will be more feature-ready and stable.

Installing SUSHI via Docker

A convenient package is available from the SUSHI GitHub page, that allows you to install a Docker image containing a setup of SUSHI and some examples to play with. From the command line run:

$ docker pull

Alternatively, download the Dockerfile to the current directory and from the command line run:

$ docker build -t sushi .
$ docker run -it sushi

The resulting environment is an Ubuntu container, where at the current (/root) directory you will find a clone of the head revision of the master branch of the SUSHI and of the sushi-experiments repositories.

Building SUSHI

SUSHI is composed by several projects, some of which are imported as git submodules, and is built with Gradle version 8.4, that is included in the repository. First, ensure that all the dependencies are present, including Z3, GLPK and GLPK-Java (see section "Dependencies"). Then, clone the SUSHI git repository and init/update its submodules. If you work from the command line, this means running first git clone, and then git submodule init && git submodule update. Next, patch the build.gradle files to match the installed GLPK-Java, as explained in the subsection "Patching the build scripts". You shall also follow the instructions described in the subsection "Patching the tests" of the file of the JBSE subproject. Finally, run the build Gradle task, e.g. by invoking ./gradlew build from the command line.


SUSHI has many dependencies. It must be built using a JDK version 8 - neither less, nor more. We suggest to use the latest Eclipse Temurin from Adoptium v8 with HotSpot JVM (note that the JDK with the OpenJ9 JVM currently does not work, because there are some slight differences in the standard library classes). If you are on an Apple Silicon Mac we suggest to use the JDK Zulu distribution from Azul. The Gradle wrapper gradlew included in the repository will take care to select the right version of Java. Gradle will automatically resolve and use the following compile-time-only dependencies:

  • JavaCC is used in the JBSE submodule for compiling the parser for the JBSE settings files.
  • JUnit is used in the JBSE submodule for running the test suite that comes with JBSE (in future SUSHI might come with a test suite of its own).

The runtime dependencies that are automatically resolved by Gradle and included in the build path are:

  • The tools.jar library, that is part of every JDK 8 setup (note, not of the JRE).
  • Javassist, that is used by JBSE for all the bytecode manipulation tasks. The patched version of Javassist that is distributed with JBSE is necessary, and SUSHI will not work with an upstream Javassist version.
  • args4j, that is used by SUSHI to process command line arguments.
  • GLPK-Java, the Java wrapper to the native linear constraint solver GLPK (more on this later).
  • ojAlgo, that is used by SUSHI in alternative to GLPK to solve linear constraints; ojAlgo is slower than GLPK, but it is pure Java.

Another runtime dependency that is included in the git project is:

  • EvoSuite; SUSHI depends on a customized version of EvoSuite that can be found in the libs subdirectory. It will not work with the upstream EvoSuite versions that you can download from the EvoSuite web page.

There are two additional runtime dependencies that are not handled by Gradle so you will need to fix them manually.

  • JBSE needs to interact with an external numeric solver for pruning infeasible program paths. At the purpose SUSHI uses Z3, a standalone binary that can be installed almost everywhere in your system.
  • SUSHI uses the GNU Linear Programming Kit (GLPK) and its Java wrapper GLPK-Java to find, among the (many) traces produced by a JBSE run, a minimal subset that still covers all the coverage objectives. Both unfortunately have a native part. If your operating system is Debian or Ubuntu you can install the libglpk and libglpk-java packages. Under OSX there is a GLPK package under Macports, but no package for GLPK-Java. In the worst case you will need to install GLPK and/or GLPK-Java from sources: In such case consider that both have many other dependencies on their own. Refer to the GLPK and GLPK-Java pages for instructions on how to install these packages from sources.

Finally, two runtime dependencies that are not currently used by SUSHI at runtime, but might be in future, are:

  • JaCoCo, that is used by the coverage calculator included in SUSHI-Lib.
  • ASM, that is a transitive dependency used by JaCoCo.

Gradle will download them to compile SUSHI-Lib, but you can avoid to deploy them.

Patching the build scripts

Once installed GLPK-Java, you will (possibly) need to modify the build.gradle file in the master subdirectory.

  • The provided master/build.gradle file instructs Gradle to use version 1.12.0 of the GLPK-Java jar file that matches the version used in the Dockerfile, but in case your development machine uses a different version of GLPK-Java, the master/build.gradle file must be modified to match your setup. In this case you must edit the master/build.gradle file as follows: Find the def glpkVersion = ... statement in the file and replace the version number on the right-hand side of the assignment with the version number of the GLPK-Java you installed on your development machine.
  • The master/build.gradle file must also be set with a path to the directory where the native part of GLPK-Java is found. This is not indispensable for building SUSHI, but it is for running it, especially under Eclipse. The provided path is /usr/local/lib/jni, thus in the case (notably under Windows and Ubuntu) your actual setup path differs from this default you must edit the def glpkJniLocation = ... statement in the file and put the correct path on the right-hand side of the assignment. The GLPK-Java documentation will tell you where the native files are installed.

Working under Eclipse

If you want to build (and possibly modify) SUSHI by using (as we do) the latest Eclipse for Java Developers, you are lucky: All the Eclipse plugins that are necessary to import and build SUSHI are already present in the distribution. The only caveat is that, since starting from version 2020-09 Eclipse requires at least Java 11 to run, your development machine will need to have both a Java 11 or greater (to run Eclipse) and a Java 8 setup (to build and run JBSE and SUSHI). Gradle will automatically select the right version of the JDK when building SUSHI. If you use a different flavor, or an earlier version, of Eclipse you might need to install the egit and the Buildship plugins, both available from the Eclipse Marketplace. After that, to import SUSHI under Eclipse follow these steps:

  • To avoid conflicts we advise to import SUSHI under an empty workspace.
  • Be sure that the default Eclipse JRE is the JRE subdirectory of a full JDK 8 setup, not a standalone (i.e., not part of a JDK) JRE.
  • SUSHI and JBSE use the reserved sun.misc.Unsafe class, a thing that Eclipse forbids by default. To avoid Eclipse complaining about that you must modify the workspace preferences as follows: From the main menu choose Eclipse > Preferences... under macOS, or Window > Preferences... under Windows and Linux. On the left panel select Java > Compiler > Errors/Warnings, then on the right panel open the option group "Deprecated and restricted API", and for the option "Forbidden reference (access rules)" select the value "Warning" or "Info" or "Ignore".
  • Switch to the Git perspective. If you cloned the Github SUSHI repository and the submodules from the command line, you can import the clone under Eclipse by clicking under the Git Repositories view the button for adding an existing repository. Otherwise you can clone the repository by clicking the clone button, again available under the Git Repositories view (remember to tick the box "Clone submodules"). Eclipse does not want you to clone the repository under your Eclipse workspace, and instead wants you to follow the standard git convention of putting the git repositories in a git subdirectory of your home directory. If you clone the repository from a console, please follow this standard (if you clone the repository from the Git perspective Eclipse will do this for you).
  • Switch back to the Java perspective and from the main menu select File > Import... In the Select the Import Wizard window that pops up choose the Gradle > Existing Gradle Project wizard and press the Next button twice. In the Import Gradle Project window that is displayed, enter in the Project root directory field the path to the SUSHI cloned git repository, and then press the Finish button to confirm. Now your workspace should have four Java project named jbse, sushi, sushi-lib, and sushi-master.
  • Don't forget to apply all the patches as described at the beginning of the "Building SUSHI" section.
  • Unfortunately the Buildship Gradle plugin is not able to fully configure the imported projects: As a consequence, after the import you will see some compilation errors due to the fact that the JBSE project did not generate some source files yet. Fix the situation by following this procedure: In the Gradle Tasks view double-click on the sushi > build > build task to build all the projects. Then, right-click the jbse project in the Package Explorer, and in the contextual menu that pops up select Gradle > Refresh Gradle Project. After that, you should see no more errors.

In the end, your Eclipse workspace should contain these projects:

  • sushi: the container project from which Gradle must be run;
  • sushi-master: the bulk of the SUSHI tool; on the filesystem it is in the master subdirectory;
  • sushi-lib: the sushi-lib submodule for the run-time library component of SUSHI; on the filesystem it is in the runtime subdirectory;
  • jbse: JBSE as a submodule; on the filesystem it is in the jbse subdirectory.

Deploying SUSHI

Deploying SUSHI outside the build environment to a target machine is tricky. The gradlew build command will produce a SUSHI-Lib jar runtime/build/libs/sushi-lib-<VERSION>.jar, the JBSE jars in jbse/build/libs (refer to the JBSE project's README file for more information on them), and a jar for the main SUSHI application master/build/libs/sushi-master-<VERSION>.jar. Moreover, it will copy all the dependencies of the SUSHI-Lib, JBSE and SUSHI projects in runtime/deps, jbse/deps, and master/deps respectively. You need to deploy all of them plus the native files (Z3 and the native parts of GLPK and GLPK-Java). The build process will also produce an uber-jar master/build/libs/sushi-master-<VERSION>-shaded.jar, containing all the runtime dependencies excluded EvoSuite, tools.jar, the GLPK-Java jar file, and the native files. Deploying based on the uber-jar is easier, but to our experience a setup based on the uber-jar is more crash-prone (on the other hand, using the uber-jar for JBSE is safe).

Here follow detailed instructions for deploying SUSHI based on the plain jars:

  • Deploy Z3, possibly adding the Z3 binary to the system PATH.
  • Deploy the sushi-master-<VERSION>.jar and set the Java classpath to point at it.
  • Deploy either the jbse-<version>.jar or the jbse-<version>-shaded.jar and set the Java classpath to point at it. In the first case, also deploy the Javassist jar that you find in the jbse/libs directory, and set the Java classpath to point at it.
  • Deploy the sushi-lib-<VERSION>.jar and set the Java classpath to point at it.
  • Deploy the EvoSuite jar contained in the libs directory. SUSHI executes EvoSuite in a separate process, therefore you do not need to add the EvoSuite jar to the Java classpath, unless you want to compile the emitted tests and these have scaffolding.
  • SUSHI requires a full JDK (not just a JRE) version 8 installed on the platform it runs. Add the tools.jar of the JDK 8 installed on the platform to the Java classpath.
  • Deploy the args4j jar that you find in the Gradle cache. You will find a copy of it in the master/deps directory. This jar must be in the Java classpath.
  • Deploy the ojAlgo jar that you find in the Gradle cache. You will find a copy of it in the master/deps directory. This jar must be in the Java classpath.
  • Deploy GPLK and GLPK-Java, ensuring that the version of GLPK-Java you are deploying is the same used during compilation. Then, set the Java native library path to point to the directory where the native libraries of GLPK-Java are installed, either by providing the -Djava.library.path=... option when launching SUSHI, or (under any UNIX-like system) by setting the environment variable LD_LIBRARY_PATH. Also, set the Java classpath to point at the GLPK-Java jar file.

You can study the Dockerfile as an example of an automatic deployment workflow on Ubuntu.

If you deploy the sushi-master-<VERSION>-shaded.jar uber-jar you do not need to deploy the JBSE, SUSHI-Lib, args4j, ojAlgo and Javassist jars.


Compile the target program with the debug symbols, then launch SUSHI either from the command line or from another program, e.g., from the main of an application. In the first case you need to invoke it as follows:

$ java -Xms16G -Xmx16G -cp <classpath> -Djava.library.path=<nativeLibraryPath> sushi.Main <options>

where <classpath> and <nativeLibraryPath> must be set according to the indications of the previous section. (Note that SUSHI is resource-consuming, thus we increased to 16 GB the memory allocated to the JVM running it).

If you prefer to invoke SUSHI programmatically, this is a possible template of a launcher class:

import sushi.Main;
import sushi.Options;

public final class Launcher {
  public static void main(String[] args) {
    final Options o = new Options();
    final Main m = new Main(o);

The launcher must create a sushi.Options object, configure it with the necessary options, then it must create a sushi.Main object and pass to its constructor the previously configured sushi.Options object. Finally, it must invoke the sushi.Main.start() method. Note that the command line SUSHI launcher is not much different from this example, the main difference being that the command line launcher parses the command line arguments to create the sushi.Options object.

Shall you launch SUSHI via the command line or programmatically, you will need to set a number of options for it to work. The indispensable ones, that you must set in order to obtain any result, are:

  • -java8_home (command line) or setJava8Home (sushi.Options): the path to the home directory of a Java 8 full JDK setup, in case the default JDK installed on the deploy platform is not Java 8, or should be overridden. If this parameter is not provided, SUSHI will try with the default JDK installed on the deploy platform.
  • -evosuite (command line) or setEvosuitePath (sushi.Options): the path to the EvoSuite jar file evosuite-shaded-1.1.1-SNAPSHOT.jar contained in the libs/ folder.
  • -jbse_lib (command line) or setJBSELibraryPath (sushi.Options): this must be set to the path of the JBSE jar file from the jbse/build/libs directory. It must be the same you put in the classpath. If you chose to deploy the sushi-master-<VERSION>-shaded.jar uber-jar, set this option to point to it.
  • -sushi_lib (command line) or setSushiLibPath (sushi.Options): this must be set to the path of the SUSHI-Lib jar file from the runtime/build/libs directory. If you chose to deploy the sushi-master-<VERSION>-shaded.jar uber-jar, set this option to point to it.
  • -z3 (command line) or setZ3Path (sushi.Options): the path to the Z3 binary.
  • -classes (command line) or setClassesPath (sushi.Options): a colon- or semicolon-separated (depending on the OS) list of paths; It is the classpath of the software under test.
  • -target_class (command line) or setTargetClass (sushi.Options): the name in internal classfile format of the class to test: SUSHI will generate tests for all the methods in the class. Or alternatively:
  • -target_method (command line) or setTargetMethod (sushi.Options): the signature of a method to test. The signature is a colon-separated list of: the name of the container class in internal classfile format; the descriptor of the method; the name of the method. You can use the javap command, included with every JDK setup, to obtain the internal format signatures of methods: javap -s my.Class prints the list of all the nonprivate methods in my.Class with their signatures in internal format.
  • -tmp_base (command line) or setTmpDirectoryBase (sushi.Options): a path to a temporary directory; SUSHI needs to create many intermediate files, and will put them in a subdirectory of the one that you specify with this option. The subdirectory will have as name the date and time when SUSHI was launched.
  • -out (command line) or setOutDirectory (sushi.Options): a path to a directory where SUSHI will put the generated tests.
  • -evosuite_no_dependency (command line) or setEvosuiteNoDependency (tardis.Options): when active, the generated test classes will not depend on the EvoSuite jar (i.e., no scaffolding class will be generated).

There are many more options that allow to control several aspects of SUSHI behaviour. You can see a synthetic description of all of them by invoking SUSHI from the command line with the -help option.

A possible example of command line is the following:

$ java -Xms16G -Xmx16G -cp /usr/lib/jvm/java-8-openjdk-amd64/lib/tools.jar:/usr/share/java/glpk-java.jar:./libs/sushi-master-0.2.0-SNAPSHOT.jar:./libs/sushi-lib-0.2.0-SNAPSHOT.jar:./libs/jbse-0.10.0-SNAPSHOT-shaded.jar:./libs/args4j-2.32.jar:./libs/ojalgo-48.0.0.jar -Djava.library.path=/usr/lib/jni sushi.Main -jbse_lib ./libs/jbse-0.10.0-SNAPSHOT-shaded.jar -sushi_lib ./libs/sushi-lib-0.2.0-SNAPSHOT.jar -evosuite ./libs/evosuite-shaded-1.1.1-SNAPSHOT.jar -z3 /usr/bin/z3 -classes ./my-application/bin -target_class my/Class -tmp_base ./tmp -out ./tests

where we assume that all the jars except for tools.jar and glpk-java.jar are in ./libs, that the software to be tested is in ./my-application/bin, that the class to generate tests for is my.Class, that a work directory where SUSHI can put intermediate files is ./tmp, and that we want SUSHI to emit the generated tests in ./tests. In the case you prefer (at your own risk) to use the SUSHI uber-jar the command line becomes a bit, but not that much, shorter:

$ java -Xms16G -Xmx16G -cp /usr/lib/jvm/java-8-openjdk-amd64/lib/tools.jar:/usr/share/java/glpk-java.jar:./libs/sushi-master-0.2.0-SNAPSHOT-shaded.jar -Djava.library.path=/usr/lib/jni sushi.Main -jbse_lib ./libs/sushi-master-0.2.0-SNAPSHOT-shaded.jar -sushi_lib ./libs/sushi-master-0.2.0-SNAPSHOT-shaded.jar -evosuite ./libs/evosuite-shaded-1.1.1-SNAPSHOT.jar -z3 /usr/bin/z3 -classes ./my-application/bin -target_class my/Class -tmp_base ./tmp -out ./tests

There is a third way of launching SUSHI that mixes the two approaches: You can launch it from the command line, but by configuring the options through an object of class sushi.Options. At the purpose you must define a class implementing the interface sushi.OptionsConfigurator. This interface declares only one method configure, that you must override to configure a sushi.Options object as in the following example:

import sushi.Options;
import sushi.OptionsConfigurator;

public final class MyConfigurator implements OptionsConfigurator {
  public void configure(Options o) {

As you can see, the resulting code resembles that of a SUSHI launcher, but you do not need to explicitly create the sushi.Options object (it is received as a parameter) nor to create the sushi.Main object and start it. Once created your configurator class, compile it (remember to put the sushi-master jar in the compilation classpath), put the generated classfile where you prefer and invoke SUSHI as follows:

$ java -Xms16G -Xmx16G -cp /usr/lib/jvm/java-8-openjdk-amd64/lib/tools.jar:/usr/share/java/glpk-java.jar:./libs/sushi-master-0.2.0-SNAPSHOT.jar:./libs/sushi-lib-0.2.0-SNAPSHOT.jar:./libs/jbse-0.10.0-SNAPSHOT-shaded.jar:./libs/args4j-2.32.jar:./libs/ojalgo-48.0.0.jar -Djava.library.path=/usr/lib/jni sushi.Main -options_config_path ./my-config -options_config_class MyConfigurator

(here we assume that we put the MyConfigurator.class classfile in the ./my-config directory). You will find examples of both launcher and configurator classes in the sushi-experiments, sushi-experiments-closure01 and sushi-experiments-closure72 projects.

Running SUSHI from the Docker environment

Under the Docker environment you can find a more convenient sushi script that is installed on the PATH. When invoked, it runs java, passes to it the classpath and some of the indispensable options, and starts sushi.Main. This allows you to invoke SUSHI as follows:

$ sushi <options>

relieving you from most of the command line boilerplate. More precisely, you do not need to pass the -java8_home, -evosuite, -jbse_lib, -sushi_lib and -z3 options, because the script does it already for you. This way the previous example commands become much shorter:

$ sushi -classes ./my-application/bin -target_class my/Class -tmp_base ./tmp -out ./tests

with the options on the command line, and

$ sushi -options_config_path ./my-config -options_config_class MyConfigurator

with the configurator classes. The sushi script is at /usr/local/bin in the case you want to study it.

If you want to run SUSHI on the pre-built sushi-experiments subjects included in the Docker image you can exploit the configurators and the launchers included in the sushi-experiment project. For instance, if you want to generate tests for the AVL tree example with accurate HEX invariants, you can run the following command using the configurator:

$ sushi -options_config_path /root/sushi-experiments/bin -options_config_class avl.AvlConfiguratorAccurate

or you can invoke the launcher as follows:

$ java -cp ${CLASSPATH}:/root/sushi-experiments/bin avl.RunAvlAccurate

See the file of the sushi-experiment project for more information on where the configurators and the launchers are. SUSHI will put the generated tests in /root/sushi-experiments/sushi-test and the intermediate files in a subdirectory of /root/sushi-experiments/sushi-out.

Generated tests

The generated tests are in EvoSuite format, where a test suite is composed by two classes: a scaffolding class, and the class containing all the test cases (the actual suite). In case the -evosuite_no_dependency option is active, the scaffolding class will not be generated, and the suite will be composed by the actual suite class only: Note, however, that without scaffolding the tests might be flaky. SUSHI will produce many suites each containing exactly one test case: If, e.g., a run of SUSHI generates 10 test cases, then in the directory indicated with the -out command line parameter you will find 10 scaffolding classes, and 10 actual test suite classes each containing exactly 1 test case. Note that all these classes depend on the JUnit and EvoSuite jars, therefore you will need to put these jars on the classpath when compiling and running the test suites. If the -evosuite_no_dependency option is active, the tests will not depend on EvoSuite so you will not need to put the EvoSuite jar on the classpath.

The names of the generated files are structured as follows:

<class name>_<method number>_<trace number> //the scaffolding class
<class name>_<method number>_<trace number>             //the actual suite class

where <class name> is the name of the class under test, <method number> is a number identifying the method under test, and <trace number> identifies the trace along which the test executes. To associate a method number with the corresponding method under test open the generated actual suite source file, e.g., On top of the file you will find a comment line starting with the words "Covered goal", e.g., //Covered goal: avl_tree.AvlTree.findMax()I:. The method signature you find in the comment is the signature of the method under test (findMax in the example). Alternatively, go to the temporary directory of the SUSHI run that generated the tests, and look for the file branches_<method number>.txt (branches_2.txt in our example). The first line of the file contains the signature of the method under test.

The generated scaffolding/actual suite classes are in the same package as the class under test, so they can access its package-level members. This means, for example, that if you have specified the option -out /your/out/dir, an avl_tree.AvlTree class under test will produce a test /your/out/dir/avl_tree/ If you want to compile and execute the test suites add the output directory to the classpath and qualify the class name of the test suite with the package name, e.g.:

$ javac -cp junit.jar:evosuite-shaded-1.1.1-SNAPSHOT.jar:avltree.jar ./tests/
$ java -cp junit.jar:evosuite-shaded-1.1.1-SNAPSHOT.jar:avltree.jar:./tests org.junit.runner.JUnitCore avl_tree.AvlTree_2_1_Test


SUSHI is a research prototype. As such, it is more focused on functionality than on usability. We are committed to progressively improving the situation.