Experimental Program Analysis: A New Program Analysis Paradigm, J. R. Ruthruff, S. Elbaum, and G. Rothermel, Proceedings of the ACM International Symposium on Software Testing and Analysis: Big-New-Idea Track, July 17-20, 2006, pages 49-60.


Program analysis techniques are used by software engineers to deduce and infer characteristics of software systems. Recent research has suggested that a new form of program analysis technique can be created by incorporating characteristics of experimentation into analyses. This paper reports the results of research exploring this suggestion. Building on principles and methodologies underlying the use of experimentation in other fields, we provide descriptive and operational definitions of experimental program analysis, illustrate them by example, and describe several differences between experimental program analysis and experimentation in other fields. We show how the use of an experimental program analysis paradigm can help researchers identify limitations of analysis techniques, improve existing experimental program analysis techniques, and create new experimental program analysis techniques.