Higher-Order and Symbolic Computation

, Volume 19, Issue 4, pp 415-463

First online:

Deriving escape analysis by abstract interpretation

  • Patricia M. HillAffiliated withUniversity of Leeds Email author 
  • , Fausto SpotoAffiliated withUniversità di Verona

Rent the article at a discount

Rent now

* Final gross prices may vary according to local VAT.

Get Access


Escape analysis of object-oriented languages approximates the set of objects which do not escape from a given context. If we take a method as context, the non-escaping objects can be allocated on its activation stack; if we take a thread, Java synchronisation locks on such objects are not needed. In this paper, we formalise a basic escape domain \({\mathcal{E}}\) as an abstract interpretation of concrete states, which we then refine into an abstract domain \({\cal ER}\) which is more concrete than \({\mathcal{E}}\) and, hence, leads to a more precise escape analysis than \({\mathcal{E}}\). We provide optimality results for both \({\mathcal{E}}\) and \({\cal ER}\), in the form of Galois insertions from the concrete to the abstract domains and of optimal abstract operations. The Galois insertion property is obtained by restricting the abstract domains to those elements which do not contain garbage, by using an abstract garbage collector. Our implementation of \({\cal ER}\) is hence an implementation of a formally correct escape analyser, able to detect the stack allocatable creation points of Java (bytecode) applications.


Abstract interpretation Denotational semantics Garbage collection