Soundness and its role in bug detection systems

Yichen Xie, Mayur Naik, Brian Hackett, Alex Aiken
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Read: 27 August 2020

Proceedings of BUGS 2005 (PLDI 2005 Workshop on the Evaluation of Software Defect Detection Tools)
Chicago, IL, USA
June 2005
Note(s): under-approximation
Papers: godefroid:bugs:2005

This one-page, position paper talks about three different, competing costs in a tool: soundness (no false negatives); cost; and usability (which relates to false positives). They argue:

  1. that unsound tools will usually appear before sound tools;
  2. that sound tools will eventually appear;
  3. that user-annotations will be used.

This paper is worth reading alongside godefroid:bugs:2005 (from the same workshop) that also discusses soundness but with a completely different interpretation.