Proceedings of ISP RAS

Automatic concurrency defect detection for Android applications.

V. P. Ivannikov, S. P. Vartanov, M. K. Ermakov.


This paper describes issues related to automatic detection of concurrency defects using dynamic analysis methods with primary target subject as the Android platform. Due to the increased popularity and spread of Android platform and, more importantly, high importance of concurrent work flow for all user applications on this platform, automatic tools for defect detection are likely to be beneficial for many developers. The paper is organised as follows: section 1 provides a brief introduction to the discussed subjects (concurrency basics, Android platform basics). Section 2 discusses theoretical base for a set of dynamic concurrency detection methods. Section 3 contains an overview of several key points in Android work flow related to native code execution in system utilities and in user applications through the JNI mechanisms. This overview is followed by a description of existing tools implementing concurrency defect detection methods for native code and the practical considerations of applying these tools for Android analysis. Section 4 provides the information on Java-oriented tools for concurrency defect detection (Java ThreadSanitizer and Coffee Machine) with the major focus on Coffee Machine, developed within the scope of this project. An overview of Coffee Machine tool functionality and base methods is given, followed by an evaluation of practical application of the tool to Android platform. Section 5 concludes the paper with an evaluation of key issues for both native and Java dynamic analysis for automatic concurrency defect detection.


dynamic analysis, concurrency defect detection, Android


Proceedings of the Institute for System Programming, vol. 24, 2013, pp. 191-206.

ISSN 2220-6426 (Online), ISSN 2079-8156 (Print).

DOI: 10.15514/ISPRAS-2013-24-10

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