WYSINWYX: What You See Is Not What You eXecute

Originally published here.

Verified Software: Theories, Tools, Experiments, First IFIP TC 2/WG 2.3 Conference, VSTTE 2005, Zurich, Switzerland, October 10-13, 2005


Gogul Balakrishnan, Thomas W. Reps, David Melski and Tim Teitelbaum


What You See Is Not What You eXecute: computers do not execute source-code programs; they execute machine-code programs that are generated from source code. Not only can the WYSINWYX phenomenon create a mismatch between what a programmer intends and what is actually executed by the processor, it can cause analyses that are performed on source code to fail to detect certain bugs and vulnerabilities. This issue arises regardless of whether one’s favorite approach to assuring that programs behave as desired is based on theorem proving, model checking, or abstract interpretation.

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