Gauntlet: Finding bugs in compilers for programmable packet processing

Fabian Ruffy, Tao Wang, Anirudh Sivaraman

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

Abstract

Programmable packet-processing devices such as programmable switches and network interface cards are becoming mainstream. These devices are configured in a domain-specific language such as P4, using a compiler to translate packet-processing programs into instructions for different targets. As networks with programmable devices become widespread, it is critical that these compilers be dependable. This paper considers the problem of finding bugs in compilers for packet processing in the context of P416. We introduce domain-specific techniques to induce both abnormal termination of the compiler (crash bugs) and miscompilation (semantic bugs). We apply these techniques to (1) the open-source P4 compiler (P4C) infrastructure, which serves as a common base for different P4 back ends; (2) the P4 back end for the P4 reference software switch; and (3) the P4 back end for the Barefoot Tofino switch. Across the 3 platforms, over 8 months of bug finding, our tool Gauntlet detected 96 new and distinct bugs (62 crash and 34 semantic), which we confirmed with the respective compiler developers. 54 have been fixed (31 crash and 23 semantic); the remaining have been assigned to a developer. Our bug-finding efforts also led to 6 P4 specification changes. We have open sourced Gauntlet at p4gauntlet.github.io and it now runs within P4C's continuous integration pipeline.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 14th USENIX Symposium on Operating Systems Design and Implementation, OSDI 2020
PublisherUSENIX Association
Pages683-699
Number of pages17
ISBN (Electronic)9781939133199
StatePublished - 2020
Event14th USENIX Symposium on Operating Systems Design and Implementation,OSDI 2020 - Virtual, Online
Duration: Nov 4 2020Nov 6 2020

Publication series

NameProceedings of the 14th USENIX Symposium on Operating Systems Design and Implementation, OSDI 2020

Conference

Conference14th USENIX Symposium on Operating Systems Design and Implementation,OSDI 2020
CityVirtual, Online
Period11/4/2011/6/20

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Hardware and Architecture
  • Information Systems

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