Modernization of Legacy Software: Re-engineering Low-Level Code
Agency / Branch:
DOD / OSD
As hardware platforms age, manufacturers are less willing to support them and related technologies. Legacy weapons systems must eventually be modernized. Re-implementation of the legacy software by hand is prohibitively expensive. A system is needed for automatically translating software written in obsolete languages like CMS-2 or assembly to a modern language like C. Previous attempts at translation have amounted to transliteration: the produced "high-level" code closely mimicks the low-level code, even using global variables for registers. Translators that do more than this often assume that the low-level code was generated by a compiler, and hence adheres to certain conventions; such assumptions do not hold for legacy code. GrammaTech is a leader in developing technology for the static analysis of software binaries. Furthermore, we are collaborating with leading researchers at the University of Wisconsin for in developing analyses for discovering malicious and/or buggy code in binaries. We will leverage this background to create breakthrough translation technology that: (1) produces high quality code; and (2) succeeds at translation where others fail. Our translator will be integrated with Northrop Grumman's state-of-the-art emulation technology, for those cases where translation is not possible.
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