The Auspicious Couple: Symbolic Execution and WCET Analysis
Paper i proceeding, 2013

We have recently shown that symbolic execution together with the implicit path enumeration technique can successfully be applied in the Worst-Case Execution Time (WCET) analysis of programs. Symbolic execution offers a precise framework for program analysis and tracks complex program properties by analyzing single program paths in isolation. This path-wise program exploration of symbolic execution is, however, computationally expensive, which often prevents full symbolic analysis of larger applications: the number of paths in a program increases exponentially with the number of conditionals, a situation denoted as the path explosion problem. Therefore, for applying symbolic execution in the timing analysis of programs, we propose to use WCET analysis as a guidance for symbolic execution in order to avoid full symbolic coverage of the program. By focusing only on paths or program fragments that are relevant for WCET analysis, we keep the computational costs of symbolic execution low. Our WCET analysis also profits from the precise results derived via symbolic execution. In this article we describe how use-cases of symbolic execution are materialized in the r-TuBound toolchain and present new applications of WCET-guided symbolic execution for WCET analysis. The new applications of selective symbolic execution are based on reducing the effort of symbolic analysis by focusing only on relevant program fragments. By using partial symbolic program coverage obtained by selective symbolic execution, we improve the WCET analysis and keep the effort for symbolic execution low.

decision procedures

program verification

timing analysis

formal methods

automated reasoning

symbolic execution

program analysis


Armin Biere

Johannes Kepler Universitat Linz

Jens Knoop

Technische Universität Wien

Laura Kovacs

Chalmers, Data- och informationsteknik, Programvaruteknik

Jakob Zwirchmayr

Technische Universität Wien

Proceedings of the 13th International Workshop on Worst-Case Execution Time Analysis (WCET 2013), July 9, 2013, Paris, France. Claire Maiza (editor), OASICS Series of Schloss Dagstuhl - Leibniz-Zentrum fuer Informatik

2190-6807 (ISSN)

Vol. 30 53-63


Informations- och kommunikationsteknik


Data- och informationsvetenskap


Datavetenskap (datalogi)