Introspective Pushdown Analysis of Higher-Order Programs

TitleIntrospective Pushdown Analysis of Higher-Order Programs
Publication TypeJournal Articles
Year of Publication2012
AuthorsEarl C, Sergey I, Might M, Van Horn D
JournalarXiv:1207.1813 [cs]
Date Published2012/07/07/
KeywordsComputer Science - Programming Languages, D.3.4, F.3.2

In the static analysis of functional programs, pushdown flow analysis and abstract garbage collection skirt just inside the boundaries of soundness and decidability. Alone, each method reduces analysis times and boosts precision by orders of magnitude. This work illuminates and conquers the theoretical challenges that stand in the way of combining the power of these techniques. The challenge in marrying these techniques is not subtle: computing the reachable control states of a pushdown system relies on limiting access during transition to the top of the stack; abstract garbage collection, on the other hand, needs full access to the entire stack to compute a root set, just as concrete collection does. \emph{Introspective} pushdown systems resolve this conflict. Introspective pushdown systems provide enough access to the stack to allow abstract garbage collection, but they remain restricted enough to compute control-state reachability, thereby enabling the sound and precise product of pushdown analysis and abstract garbage collection. Experiments reveal synergistic interplay between the techniques, and the fusion demonstrates "better-than-both-worlds" precision.