Practical Program Analysis Using General Purpose Logic Programming Systems --- A Case Study

Steven Dawson, C. R. Ramakrishnan, David S. Warren


Many analysis problems can be cast in the form of evaluating minimal models of a logic program. Although such formulations are appealing due to their simplicity and declarativeness, they have not been widely used in practice because, either existing logic programming systems do not guarantee completeness, or those that do have been viewed as too inefficient for integration into a compiler. The objective of this paper is to re-examine this issue in the context of recent advances in implementation technologies of logic programming systems.

We find that such declarative formulations can indeed be used in practical systems, when combined with the appropriate tool for evaluation. We use existing formulations of analysis problems --- groundness analysis of logic programs, and strictness analysis of functional programs --- in this case study, and the XSB system, a table-based logic programming system, as the evaluation tool of choice. We give experimental evidence that the resultant groundness and strictness analysis systems are practical in terms of both time and space. In terms of implementation effort, the analyzers took less than 2 man-weeks (in total), to develop, optimize and evaluate. The analyzer itself consists of about 100 lines of tabled Prolog code and the entire system, including the components to read and preprocess input programs and to collect the analysis results, consists of about 500 lines of code.

Bibtex Entry:

author = {Steven Dawson and  C. R. Ramakrishnan and  David S. Warren},
title = {Practical Program Analysis Using General Purpose Logic Programming Systems --- A Case Study},
booktitle = {ACM Symposium on Programming Language Design and Implementation},
publisher = {ACM},
pages = {117--126},
year = {1996}

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