Imprecision is inherent in any decidable (sound) approximation of undecidable program properties. In abstract interpretation this corresponds to the release of false alarms, e.g., when it is used for program analysis and program verification. As all alarming systems, a program analysis tool is credible when few false alarms are reported. As a consequence, we have to live together with false alarms, but also we need methods to control them. As for all approximation methods, also for abstract interpretation we need to estimate the accumulated imprecision during program analysis. In this paper we introduce a theory for estimating the error propagation in abstract interpretation, and hence in program analysis. We enrich abstract domains with a weakening of a metric distance. This enriched structure keeps coherence between the standard partial order relating approximated objects by their relative precision and the effective error made in this approximation. An abstract interpretation is precise when it is complete. We introduce the notion of partial completeness as a weakening of precision. In partial completeness the abstract interpreter may produce a bounded number of false alarms. We prove the key recursive properties of the class of programs for which an abstract interpreter is partially complete with a given bound of imprecision. Then, we introduce a proof system for estimating an upper bound of the error accumulated by the abstract interpreter during program analysis. Our framework is general enough to be instantiated to most known metrics for abstract domains.

Partial (In)Completeness in Abstract Interpretation: Limiting the Imprecision in Program Analysis

Marco Campion
;
Mila Dalla Preda;Roberto Giacobazzi
2022

Abstract

Imprecision is inherent in any decidable (sound) approximation of undecidable program properties. In abstract interpretation this corresponds to the release of false alarms, e.g., when it is used for program analysis and program verification. As all alarming systems, a program analysis tool is credible when few false alarms are reported. As a consequence, we have to live together with false alarms, but also we need methods to control them. As for all approximation methods, also for abstract interpretation we need to estimate the accumulated imprecision during program analysis. In this paper we introduce a theory for estimating the error propagation in abstract interpretation, and hence in program analysis. We enrich abstract domains with a weakening of a metric distance. This enriched structure keeps coherence between the standard partial order relating approximated objects by their relative precision and the effective error made in this approximation. An abstract interpretation is precise when it is complete. We introduce the notion of partial completeness as a weakening of precision. In partial completeness the abstract interpreter may produce a bounded number of false alarms. We prove the key recursive properties of the class of programs for which an abstract interpreter is partially complete with a given bound of imprecision. Then, we introduce a proof system for estimating an upper bound of the error accumulated by the abstract interpreter during program analysis. Our framework is general enough to be instantiated to most known metrics for abstract domains.
Abstract Interpretation, Abstract Domain, Program Analysis, Partial Completeness
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11562/1056937
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