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The Dogged Pursuit of Bug-Free C Programs: The Frama-C Software Analysis Platform

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Credit: Andrij Borys Associates

The C programming language is a cornerstone of computer science. Designed by Dennis Ritchie and Ken Thompson at Bell Labs as a key element of Unix engineering, it was rapidly adopted by system-level programmers for its portability, efficiency, and relative ease of use compared to assembly languages. Nearly 50 years after its creation, it is still widely used in software engineering.

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But C is a difficult language to wield. Its native design choices give developers much freedom—a reason for its popularity—but that can often clash with the requirements of modern development practices, such as strong typing, encapsulation, or genericity. Given its ubiquity in software engineering, this has had noticeable safety and, more recently, cybersecurity impacts. The use of verification techniques, and in the case of systems with high-confidence requirements, formal methods, can address these shortcomings.


Joseph Kiniry

Great article CEA team! I have used the Frama-C platform for teaching and commercial work for over a decade.

At Galois we use it in tandem with other software/firmware verification technologies, such as our Cryptol DSL ( and its complementary SAW ( and Crux verification tools (

We see enormous benefit in combining complementary tools into a single rigorous digital engineering process and methodology for developing secure, high-assurance systems.

Roderick Chapman

Great to see such a prominent article about Frama-C on the cover of CACM! Well done to everyone at CEA.

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