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Section: New Results

Keywords : Control Flow Analysis, Abstract interpretation.

A Calculational Approach to Control-Flow Analysis by Abstract Interpretation

Participants : Thomas Jensen, Jan Midtgaard.

Control-flow analysis (CFA) is a fundamental static analysis on which many other analyses rely. As such it has been the focus of researchers throughout the past two decades. Surprisingly, very few formulate CFA within the classical abstract interpretation methodology. Such a formulation of CFA is advantageous in that it is constructive: Rather than proving CFA safe a priori, CFA is induced by systematically composing and calculating with Galois connections. Unfortunately it has remained an open problem of how to exploit Galois connections and widenings for CFA since its formulation by Nielson and Nielson  [50] . This work  [27] represents a preliminary answer.

We present a derivation of a control-flow analysis by abstract interpretation. Our starting point is a transition system semantics defined as an abstract machine for a small functional language in continuation-passing style. We obtain a Galois connection for abstracting the machine states by composing Galois connections, most notable an independent-attribute Galois connection on machine states and a Galois connection induced by a closure operator associated with a constituent-parts relation on environments. We calculate abstract transfer functions by applying the state abstraction to the collecting semantics, resulting in a novel characterization of a standard demand-driven control-flow analysis – namely 0-CFA.


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