Program Generalization for Software Reuse: From C to C++

Michael Siff and Thomas Reps
University of Wisconsin

We consider the problem of software generalization: Given a program component C, create a parameterized program component C' such that C' is usable in a wider variety of syntactic contexts than C. Furthermore, C' should be a semantically meaningful generalization of C; namely, there must exist an instantiation of C' that is equivalent in functionality to C.

In this paper, we present an algorithm that generalizes C functions via type inference. The original functions operate on specific data types; the result of generalization is a collection of C++ function templates that operate on parameterized types. This version of the generalization problem is useful in the context of converting existing C programs to C++.

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