Abstract Execution


We propose a new static software analysis principle called Abstract Execution, generalizing Symbolic Execution: While the latter analyzes all possible execution paths of a specific program, Abstract Execution analyzes a partially unspecified program by permitting abstract symbols representing unknown contexts. For each abstract symbol, we faithfully represent each possible concrete execution resulting from its substitution with concrete code. There is a wide range of applications of Abstract Execution, especially for verifying relational properties of schematic programs. We implemented Abstract Execution in a deductive verification framework and proved correctness of eight well-known statement-level refactoring rules, including two with loops. For each refactoring we characterize the preconditions that make it semantics-preserving. Most preconditions are not mentioned in the literature.

Proc. Third World Congress on Formal Methods - The Next 30 Years, (FM)