Program Analysis as Constraint Solving


A constraint-based approach to invariant generation in programs translates a program into constraints that are solved using off-the-shelf constraint solvers to yield desired program invariants. In this paper we show how the constraint-based approach can be used to model a wide spectrum of program analyses in an expressive domain containing disjunctions and conjunctions of linear inequalities. In particular, we show how to model the problem of context-sensitive interprocedural program verification. We also present the first constraint-based approach to weakest precondition and strongest postcondition inference. The constraints we generate are boolean combinations of quadratic inequalities over integer variables. We reduce these constraints to SAT formulae using bit-vector modeling and use off-the-shelf SAT solvers to solve them.

Furthermore, we present interesting applications of the above analyses, namely bounds analysis and generation of most-general counter-examples for both safety and termination properties. We also present encouraging preliminary experimental results demonstrating the feasibility of our technique on a variety of challenging examples.

PLDI'08: Proceedings of the 2008 ACM SIGPLAN Conference on Programming Language Design and Implementation