Imperial College London spinout, GraphicsFuzz, develops a testing solution for graphics drivers

1 min read

Graphics driver bugs can adversely affect the development of graphics applications like smartphone apps, with the most serious bugs leading to serious security risks. For example, a Google Chrome Bug Bounty was awarded for a security issue on the Samsung Galaxy S6, which allowed data to be stolen across web browser tabs, found with the GraphicsFuzz technology. More recently, GraphicsFuzz disclosed a security issue in the graphics driver of the Samsung Galaxy S9, where a valid webpage triggers a whole device reboot.

Historically, the focus of graphics driver testing has been on performance and standards-compliance. Reliability issues are treated on a case-by-case basis as they are discovered by developers once the driver has been released to the market.

GraphicsFuzz is looking to raise the quality of the graphics stack with an automated testing technology based on metamorphic testing. This is designed to offer families of tests that should all lead to the same image being rendered, meaning a different image indicates a bug in the graphics stack. Around that concept, GraphicsFuzz has developed a fully-fledged testing solution with two key features:

  • The automated generation of elaborate test families
  • An “Intelligent Reducer” to help narrow down the root cause of each bug

It is common for driver developers to spend days identifying why a bug occurs before being able to fix it. According to GraphicsFuzz, the Intelligent Reducer can automatically reduce a test while making sure that it keeps on triggering a bug, to finally produce a much smaller test case that makes bug fixing easier and faster.

Graphicsfuzz is initially focusing on licensing its ShaderTest GLES – a product that gives access to the whole testing solution plus 3000 tests for the OpenGL ES graphics standard – to graphics processor vendors and OEMs.

It adds that follow-up products will feature new tests to validate further parts of the graphics stack, and will also tackle new, trending graphics standard, such as Vulkan and Metal.