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Kamel Alrashedy, Vincent J. Hellendoorn, Alessandro Orso

Pretrained models of code, such as CodeBERT and CodeT5, have become popular choices for code understanding and generation tasks. Such models tend to be large and require commensurate volumes of training data, which are rarely available for downstream tasks. Instead, it has become popular to train models with far larger but less realistic datasets, such as functions with artificially injected bugs. Models trained on such data, however, tend to only perform well on similar data, while underperforming on real world programs. In this paper, we conjecture that this discrepancy stems from the presence of distracting samples that steer the model away from the real-world task distribution. To investigate this conjecture, we propose an approach for identifying the subsets of these large yet unrealistic datasets that are most similar to examples in real-world datasets based on their learned representations. Our approach extracts high-dimensional embeddings of both real-world and artificial programs using a neural model and scores artificial samples based on their distance to the nearest real-world sample. We show that training on only the nearest, representationally most similar samples while discarding samples that are not at all similar in representations yields consistent improvements across two popular pretrained models of code on two code understanding tasks. Our results are promising, in that they show that training models on a representative subset of an unrealistic dataset can help us harness the power of large-scale synthetic data generation while preserving downstream task performance. Finally, we highlight the limitations of applying AI models for predicting vulnerabilities and bugs in real-world applications

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Ravi Mangal, Aditya V. Nori, Alessandro Orso

Neural networks are becoming increasingly prevalent in software, and it is therefore important to be able to verify their behavior. Because verifying the correctness of neural networks is extremely challenging, it is common to focus on the verification of other properties of these systems. One important property, in particular, is robustness. Most existing definitions of robustness, however, focus on the worst-case scenario where the inputs are adversarial. Such notions of robustness are too strong, and unlikely to be satisfied by-and verifiable for-practical neural networks. Observing that real-world inputs to neural networks are drawn from non-adversarial probability distributions, we propose a novel notion of robustness: probabilistic robustness, which requires the neural network to be robust with at least $(1 - \epsilon)$ probability with respect to the input distribution. This probabilistic approach is practical and provides a principled way of estimating the robustness of a neural network. We also present an algorithm, based on abstract interpretation and importance sampling, for checking whether a neural network is probabilistically robust. Our algorithm uses abstract interpretation to approximate the behavior of a neural network and compute an overapproximation of the input regions that violate robustness. It then uses importance sampling to counter the effect of such overapproximation and compute an accurate estimate of the probability that the neural network violates the robustness property.

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