Large spurious cycle in global static analyses and its algorithmic mitigation

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

9 Citations (Scopus)


We present a simple algorithmic extension of the classical call-strings approach to mitigate substantial performance degradation caused by spurious interprocedural cycles. Spurious interprocedural cycles are, in a realistic setting, key reasons for why approximate call-return semantics in both context-sensitive and -insensitive static analysis can make the analysis much slower than expected. In the traditional call-strings-based context-sensitive static analysis, because the number of distinguished contexts must be finite, multiple call-contexts are inevitably joined at the entry of a procedure and the output at the exit is propagated to multiple return-sites. We found that these multiple returns frequently create a single large cycle (we call it "butterfly cycle") covering almost all parts of the program and such a spurious cycle makes analyses very slow and inaccurate. Our simple algorithmic technique (within the fixpoint iteration algorithm) identifies and prunes these spurious interprocedural flows. The technique's effectiveness is proven by experiments with a realistic C analyzer to reduce the analysis time by 7%-96%. Since the technique is algorithmic, it can be easily applicable to existing analyses without changing the underlying abstract semantics, it is orthogonal to the underlying abstract semantics' context-sensitivity, and its correctness is obvious.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProgramming Languages and Systems - 7th Asian Symposium, APLAS 2009, Proceedings
Number of pages16
Publication statusPublished - 2009
Externally publishedYes
Event7th Asian Symposium on Programming Languages and Systems, APLAS 2009 - Seoul, Korea, Republic of
Duration: 2009 Dec 142009 Dec 16

Publication series

NameLecture Notes in Computer Science (including subseries Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence and Lecture Notes in Bioinformatics)
Volume5904 LNCS
ISSN (Print)0302-9743
ISSN (Electronic)1611-3349


Conference7th Asian Symposium on Programming Languages and Systems, APLAS 2009
Country/TerritoryKorea, Republic of

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Theoretical Computer Science
  • General Computer Science


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