ILEA: Inter-language analysis across Java and C

Gang Tan, Greg Morrisett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


Java bug finders perform static analysis to find implementation mistakes that can lead to exploits and failures; Java compilers perform static analysis for optimization. If Java programs contain foreign function calls to C libraries, however, static analysis is forced to make either optimistic or pessimistic assumptions about the foreign function calls, since models of the C libraries are typically not available. We propose ILEA (stands for Inter-LanguagE Analysis), which is a framework that enables existing Java analyses to understand the behavior of C code. Our framework includes: (1) a novel specification language, which extends the Java Virtual Machine Language (JVML) with a few primitives that approximate the effects that the C code might have; (2) an automatic specification extractor, which builds models of the C code. Comparing to other possible specification languages, our language is expressive, yet facilitates construction of automatic specification extractors. Furthermore, because the specification language is based on the JVML, existing Java analyses can be easily migrated to utilize specifications in the language. We also demonstrate the utility of the specifications generated, by modifying an existing nonnull analysis to identify null-related bugs in Java applications that contain C libraries. Our preliminary experiments identified dozens of null-related bugs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)39-56
Number of pages18
JournalACM SIGPLAN Notices
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2007

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Computer Science


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