Control-Flow Refinement by Partial Evaluation, and its Application to Termination and Cost Analysis

Jesus Doménech, John Patrick Gallagher, Samir Genaim

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

Control-flow refinement refers to program transformations whose purpose is to make implicit control-flow explicit, and is used in the context of program analysis to increase precision. Several techniques have been suggested for different programming models, typically tailored to improving precision for a particular analysis. In this paper we explore the use of partial evaluation of Horn clauses as a general-purpose technique for control-flow refinement for integer transitions systems. These are control-flow graphs where edges are annotated with linear constraints describing transitions between corresponding nodes, and they are used in many program analysis tools. Using partial evaluation for control-flow refinement has the clear advantage over other approaches in that soundness follows from the general properties of partial evaluation; in particular, properties such as termination and complexity are preserved. We use a partial evaluation algorithm incorporating property-based abstraction, and show how the right choice of properties allows us to prove termination and to infer complexity of challenging programs that cannot be handled by state-of-the-art tools. We report on the integration and evaluation of the technique in a termination analyzer, and its use as a preprocessing step for several cost analyzers.
Original languageEnglish
JournalTheory and Practice of Logic Programming
Volume19
Issue number5-6
Pages (from-to)990–1005
ISSN1471-0684
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2019

Keywords

  • partial evaluation
  • termination analysis
  • cost analysis

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