Bilateral Algorithms for Symbolic Abstraction

  • Aditya Thakur
  • Matt Elder
  • Thomas Reps
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 7460)


Given a concrete domain \(\mathcal{C}\), a concrete operation \(\tau: \mathcal{C} \to \mathcal{C}\), and an abstract domain \(\mathcal{A}\), a fundamental problem in abstract interpretation is to find the best abstract transformer\(\tau^{\#}: \mathcal{A} \to \mathcal{A}\) that over-approximates τ. This problem, as well as several other operations needed by an abstract interpreter, can be reduced to the problem of symbolic abstraction: the symbolic abstraction of a formula ϕ in logic \(\mathcal{L}\), denoted by \(\widehat{\alpha}(\varphi)\), is the best value in \(\mathcal{A}\) that over-approximates the meaning of ϕ. When the concrete semantics of τ is defined in \(\mathcal{L}\) using a formula ϕτ that specifies the relation between input and output states, the best abstract transformer τ# can be computed as \(\widehat{\alpha}(\varphi_\tau)\).

In this paper, we present a new framework for performing symbolic abstraction, discuss its properties, and present several instantiations for various logics and abstract domains. The key innovation is to use a bilateral successive-approximation algorithm, which maintains both an over-approximation and an under-approximation of the desired answer.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Aditya Thakur
    • 1
  • Matt Elder
    • 1
  • Thomas Reps
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.University of WisconsinMadisonUSA
  2. 2.GrammaTech, Inc.IthacaUSA

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