In computer science, symbolic execution (also symbolic evaluation) refers to the analysis of programs by tracking symbolic rather than actual values, a case of abstract interpretation. The field of symbolic simulation applies the same concept to hardware. Symbolic computation applies the concept to the analysis of mathematical expressions.

Symbolic execution is used to reason about all the inputs that take the same path through a program.

Symbolic execution is useful for software testing because it can analyse if and when errors in the code may occur. It can be used to predict what code statements do to specified inputs and outputs. It is also important for considering path traversal.

Symbolic execution is used to reason about a program path-by-path. This may be superior to reasoning about a program, like Dynamic program analysis does, input-by-input.

Symbolic execution vs Symbolic Analysis (Laitila, 2008)

Symbolic execution emphasizes execution, travering program paths.  Symbolic analysis has the same purpose, but furthermore, it is a formalism to run / execute symbols using their internal state automaton. The automaton can be programmed to do anything, which is characteristics for the symbol. One exellent feature of symbolic analysis is its reduncancy and the  internal semantics of each symbol because of its clause-notation in the Symbolic-language. It is possible to reconstruate parse trees from the symbols so that the side effects caused by any symbol can be matched with the corresponding symbols. This makes it possible to partially verify the code.

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