Interprocedural Slicing Using Dependence Graphs

Susan Horwitz, Thomas Reps, and David Binkley
University of Wisconsin

The notion of a program slice, originally introduced by Mark Weiser, is useful in program debugging, automatic parallelization, and program integration. A slice of a program is taken with respect to a program point p and a variable x; the slice consists of all statements of the program that might affect the value of x at point p. This paper concerns the problem of interprocedural slicing---generating a slice of an entire program, where the slice crosses the boundaries of procedure calls. To solve this problem, we introduce a new kind of graph to represent programs, called a system dependence graph, which extends previous dependence representations to incorporate collections of procedures (with procedure calls) rather than just monolithic programs. Our main result is an algorithm for interprocedural slicing that uses the new representation. (It should be noted that our work concerns a somewhat restricted kind of slice: Rather than permitting a program to be sliced with respect to program point p and an arbitrary variable, a slice must be taken with respect to a variable that is defined or used at p.)

The chief difficulty in interprocedural slicing is correctly accounting for the calling context of a called procedure. To handle this problem, system dependence graphs include some data-dependence edges that represent transitive dependences due to the effects of procedure calls, in addition to the conventional direct-dependence edges. These edges are constructed with the aid of an auxiliary structure that represents calling and parameter-linkage relationships. This structure takes the form of an attribute grammar. The step of computing the required transitive-dependence edges is reduced to the construction of the subordinate characteristic graphs for the grammar's nonterminals.

CR Categories and Subject Descriptors: D.3.3 [Programming Languages]: Language Constructs -- control structures, procedures, functions, and subroutines; D.3.4 [Programming Languages]: Processors -- compilers, optimization

General Terms: Algorithms, Design

Additional Key Words and Phrases: attribute grammar, control dependence, data dependence, data-flow analysis, flow-insensitive summary information, program debugging, program dependence graph, program integration, program slicing, subordinate characteristic graph

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