Symbolic Execution for Memory Consumption Analysis

Chu Duc Jiep, Joxan Jaffar and Rasool Maghareh


With the advances in both hardware and software of embedded systems in the past few years, dynamic memory allocation can now be safely used in embedded software. As a result, the need to develop methods to avoid heap overflow errors in safety-critical embedded systems has increased. Resource analysis of imperative programs with non-regular loop patterns and signed integers, to support both memory allocation and deallocation, has long been an open problem. Existing methods can generate symbolic bounds that are parametric w.r.t. the program inputs; such bounds, however, are imprecise in the presence of non-regular loop patterns. In this paper, we present a worst-case memory consumption analysis, based upon the framework of symbolic execution. Our as- sumption is that loops (and recursions) of to-be-analyzed programs are indeed bounded. We then can exhaustively unroll loops and the memory consumption of each iteration can be precisely computed and summarized for aggregation. Because of path-sensitivity, our algorithm generates more precise bounds. Importantly, we demon- strate that by introducing a new concept of reuse, symbolic execu- tion scales to a set of realistic benchmark programs.