May 30, 2018

Announcing the Facebook Testing and Verification request for research proposals

By: Mark Harman, Peter O'Hearn

Testing and verification research is increasingly having profound real-world impact. Facebook itself has had notable success with the deployment of Test and Verification (TAV) research in tools such as Infer and Sapienz. However, there are many open scientific challenges that remain, the solutions to which may lead to even greater real-world impact. To support new and innovative research in the area of Test and Verification, we invite university faculty to respond to a call for Testing and Verification research proposals.


We are interested in research proposals that will lead towards direct impact on deployment and real-world impact of Testing and Verification (TAV) techniques in the tech sector. Topics of interest include but are not limited to:

  • Automated fixes, from dynamic or static analyses, including their discovery and verification applied to the fixes
  • Automated test case design (in particular Search Based Software Testing)
  • Catering for and maximizing value from so-called flakey (non-deterministic) testing behaviors
  • Debugging support techniques (particularly for mobile and web-based software systems)
  • Genetic improvement, program synthesis and automated performance improvement
  • Incremental verification and testing techniques
  • Reasoning about distributed and concurrent programs
  • Actionability of reports (e.g., involving context, relevance, debug payload, bug assignment)
  • Generating tests to confirm static analysis reports or inform verification failures
  • Using verification results to focus testing
  • Replication of field failures and reproducibility of test cases
  • Scalable buffer overrun and other security analyses

One possible source of open problems and challenges for Testing and Verification can be found in the IEEE International Working Conference on Source Code Analysis and Manipulation (SCAM) keynote paper by Mark Harman and Peter O’Hearn, From Start-ups to Scale-ups: Opportunities and Open Problems for Static and Dynamic Program Analysis.

To enable promising researchers to develop their work further and potentially submit to future award opportunities, five awards in the $30k – $50k USD range, along with a larger number of smaller feasibility study awards will be granted. Larger gifts may become available for future phases of the TAV Research Funding Program, subject to the outcomes from Phase One.

Award recipients are encouraged to openly publish any findings from their work as well as make any code available as open source. No Facebook data will be provided for accepted research proposals.

For more information and to respond to the Testing and Verification request for proposals, learn more here,