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Programming IT Technology

Using Redundancies to Find Errors 338

gsbarnes writes "Two Stanford researchers (Dawson Engler and Yichen Xie) have written a paper (pdf) showing that seemingly harmless redundant code is frequently a sign of not so harmless errors. Examples of redundant code: assigning a variable to itself, or dead code (code that is never reached). Some of their examples are obvious errors, some of them subtle. All are taken from a version of the Linux kernel (presumably they have already reported the bugs they found). Two interesting lessons: Apparently harmless mistakes often indicate serious troubles, so run lint and pay attention to its output. Also, in addition to its obvious practical uses, Linux provides a huge open codebase useful for researchers investigating questions about software engineering."
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Using Redundancies to Find Errors

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