Generating Precise and Concise Procedure Summaries

Greta Yorsh, Eran Yahav, and Satish Chandra

In Proc. ACM Symposium on Principles of Programming Languages, 2008 (POPL 2008)

We present a framework for generating procedure summaries that are
precise - applying the summary in a given context yields the same result as re-analyzing the procedure in that context, and
concise - the summary exploits the commonalities in the ways the procedure manipulates abstract values, and does not contain superfluous context information.

The use of a precise and concise procedure summary in modular analyses provides a way to capture infinitely many possible contexts in a finite way; in interprocedural analyses, it provides a compact representation of an explicit input-output summary table without loss of precision.
We define a class of abstract domains and transformers for which precise and concise summaries can be efficiently generated using our framework. Our framework is rich enough to encode a wide range of problems, including all IFDS and IDE problems. In addition, we show how the framework is instantiated to provide novel solutions to two hard problems: modular linear constant propagation and modular typestate verification, both in the presence of aliasing. We implemented a prototype of our framework that computes summaries for the typestate domain, and report on preliminary experimental results.

Click here to access the paper: PostScript; PDF; Slides (short version - POPL08 talk) Slides (longer version)