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Symposium on Principles of Programming Languages

About: Symposium on Principles of Programming Languages is an academic conference. The conference publishes majorly in the area(s): Semantics (computer science) & Correctness. Over the lifetime, 1704 publication(s) have been published by the conference receiving 159605 citation(s). more


Open accessProceedings ArticleDOI: 10.1145/512950.512973
01 Jan 1977-
Abstract: A program denotes computations in some universe of objects. Abstract interpretation of programs consists in using that denotation to describe computations in another universe of abstract objects, so that the results of abstract execution give some information on the actual computations. An intuitive example (which we borrow from Sintzoff [72]) is the rule of signs. The text -1515 * 17 may be understood to denote computations on the abstract universe {(+), (-), (±)} where the semantics of arithmetic operators is defined by the rule of signs. The abstract execution -1515 * 17 → -(+) * (+) → (-) * (+) → (-), proves that -1515 * 17 is a negative number. Abstract interpretation is concerned by a particular underlying structure of the usual universe of computations (the sign, in our example). It gives a summary of some facets of the actual executions of a program. In general this summary is simple to obtain but inaccurate (e.g. -1515 + 17 → -(+) + (+) → (-) + (+) → (±)). Despite its fundamentally incomplete results abstract interpretation allows the programmer or the compiler to answer questions which do not need full knowledge of program executions or which tolerate an imprecise answer, (e.g. partial correctness proofs of programs ignoring the termination problems, type checking, program optimizations which are not carried in the absence of certainty about their feasibility, …). more

6,524 Citations

Proceedings ArticleDOI: 10.1145/263699.263712
George C. Necula1Institutions (1)
01 Jan 1997-
Abstract: This paper describes proof-carrying code (PCC), a mechanism by which a host system can determine with certainty that it is safe to execute a program supplied (possibly in binary form) by an untrusted source. For this to be possible, the untrusted code producer must supply with the code a safety proof that attests to the code's adherence to a previously defined safety policy. The host can then easily and quickly validate the proof without using cryptography and without consulting any external agents.In order to gain preliminary experience with PCC, we have performed several case studies. We show in this paper how proof-carrying code might be used to develop safe assembly-language extensions of ML programs. In the context of this case study, we present and prove the adequacy of concrete representations for the safety policy, the safety proofs, and the proof validation. Finally, we briefly discuss how we use proof-carrying code to develop network packet filters that are faster than similar filters developed using other techniques and are formally guaranteed to be safe with respect to a given operating system safety policy. more

Topics: Proof-carrying code (73%), Source code (62%), Redundant code (61%) more

1,785 Citations

Proceedings ArticleDOI: 10.1145/41625.41635
01 Oct 1987-
Abstract: We address the problem of designing programming systems to reason with and about constraints. Taking a logic programming approach, we define a class of programming languages, the CLP languages, all of which share the same essential semantic properties. From a conceptual point of view, CLP programs are highly declarative and are soundly based within a unified framework of formal semantics. This framework not only subsumes that of logic programming, but satisfies the core properties of logic programs more naturally. From a user's point of view, CLP programs have great expressive power due to the constraints which they naturally manipulate. Intuition in the reasoning about programs is enhanced as a result of working directly in the intended domain of discourse. This contrasts with working in the Herbrand Universe wherein every semantic object has to be explicitly coded into a Herbrand term; this enforces reasoning at a primitive level. Finally, from an implementor's point of view, CLP systems can be efficient because of the exploitation of constraint solving techniques over specific domains. more

Topics: CLP(R) (71%), Constraint programming (66%), Functional logic programming (66%) more

1,705 Citations

Open accessProceedings ArticleDOI: 10.1145/512760.512770
01 Jan 1978-

1,702 Citations

Proceedings ArticleDOI: 10.1145/567752.567778
01 Jan 1979-
Abstract: Semantic analysis of programs is essential in optimizing compilers and program verification systems. It encompasses data flow analysis, data type determination, generation of approximate invariant assertions, etc. Several recent papers (among others Cousot & Cousot[77a], Graham & Wegman[76], Kam & Ullman[76], Kildall[73], Rosen[78], Tarjan[76], Wegbreit[75]) have introduced abstract approaches to program analysis which are tantamount to the use of a program analysis framework (A,t,a) where A is a lattice of (approximate) assertions, t is an (approximate) predicate transformer and a is an often implicit function specifying the meaning of the elements of A. This paper is devoted to the systematic and correct design of program analysis frameworks with respect to a formal semantics. Preliminary definitions are given in Section 2 concerning the merge over all paths and (least) fixpoint program-wide analysis methods. In Section 3 we briefly define the (forward and backward) deductive semantics of programs which is later used as a formal basis in order to prove the correctness of the approximate program analysis frameworks. Section 4 very shortly recall the main elements of the lattice theoretic approach to approximate semantic analysis of programs. The design of a space of approximate assertions A is studied in Section 5. We first justify the very reasonable assumption that A must be chosen such that the exact invariant assertions of any program must have an upper approximation in A and that the approximate analysis of any program must be performed using a deterministic process. These assumptions are shown to imply that A is a Moore family, that the approximation operator (wich defines the least upper approximation of any assertion) is an upper closure operator and that A is necessarily a complete lattice. We next show that the connection between a space of approximate assertions and a computer representation is naturally made using a pair of isotone adjoined functions. This type of connection between two complete lattices is related to Galois connections thus making available classical mathematical results. Additional results are proved, they hold when no two approximate assertions have the same meaning. In Section 6 we study and examplify various methods which can be used in order to define a space of approximate assertions or equivalently an approximation function. They include the characterization of the least Moore family containing an arbitrary set of assertions, the construction of the least closure operator greater than or equal to an arbitrary approximation function, the definition of closure operators by composition, the definition of a space of approximate assertions by means of a complete join congruence relation or by means of a family of principal ideals. Section 7 is dedicated to the design of the approximate predicate transformer induced by a space of approximate assertions. First we look for a reasonable definition of the correctness of approximate predicate transformers and show that a local correctness condition can be given which has to be verified for every type of elementary statement. This local correctness condition ensures that the (merge over all paths or fixpoint) global analysis of any program is correct. Since isotony is not required for approximate predicate transformers to be correct it is shown that non-isotone program analysis frameworks are manageable although it is later argued that the isotony hypothesis is natural. We next show that among all possible approximate predicate transformers which can be used with a given space of approximate assertions there exists a best one which provides the maximum information relative to a program-wide analysis method. The best approximate predicate transformer induced by a space of approximate assertions turns out to be isotone. Some interesting consequences of the existence of a best predicate transformer are examined. One is that we have in hand a formal specification of the programs which have to be written in order to implement a program analysis framework once a representation of the space of approximate assertions has been chosen. Examples are given, including ones where the semantics of programs is formalized using Hoare[78]'s sets of traces. In Section 8 we show that a hierarchy of approximate analyses can be defined according to the fineness of the approximations specified by a program analysis framework. Some elements of the hierarchy are shortly exhibited and related to the relevant literature. In Section 9 we consider global program analysis methods. The distinction between "distributive" and "non-distributive" program analysis frameworks is studied. It is shown that when the best approximate predicate transformer is considered the coincidence or not of the merge over all paths and least fixpoint global analyses of programs is a consequence of the choice of the space of approximate assertions. It is shown that the space of approximate assertions can always be refined so that the merge over all paths analysis of a program can be defined by means of a least fixpoint of isotone equations. Section 10 is devoted to the combination of program analysis frameworks. We study and examplify how to perform the "sum", "product" and "power" of program analysis frameworks. It is shown that combined analyses lead to more accurate information than the conjunction of the corresponding separate analyses but this can only be achieved by a new design of the approximate predicate transformer induced by the combined program analysis frameworks. more

Topics: Program analysis (59%), Abstract interpretation (55%), Data-flow analysis (55%) more

1,675 Citations

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Conference's top 5 most impactful authors

Matthias Felleisen

17 papers, 1.6K citations

Benjamin C. Pierce

17 papers, 1.7K citations

Mooly Sagiv

15 papers, 2.9K citations

Robert Harper

15 papers, 1.7K citations

Viktor Vafeiadis

14 papers, 771 citations

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