Incremental Slicing Based on Data-Dependences Types

Abstract

Program slicing is useful for assisting with software-maintenance tasks, such as program understanding, debugging, impact analysis, and regression testing. The presence and frequent usage of pointers, in languages such as C, causes complex data dependences. To function effectively on such programs, slicing techniques must account for pointer-induced data dependences. Although many existing slicing techniques function in the presence of pointers, none of those techniques distinguishes data dependences based on their types. This paper presents a new slicing technique, in which slices are computed based on types of data dependences. This new slicing technique offers several benefits and can be exploited in different ways, such as identifying subtle data dependences for debugging purposes, computing reduced-size slices quickly for complex programs, and performing incremental slicing. In particular, this paper describes an algorithm for incremental slicing that increases the scope of a slice in steps, by incorporating different types of data dependences at each step. The paper also presents empirical results to illustrate the performance of the technique in practice. The experimental results show how the sizes of the slices grow for different small- and medium-sized subjects. Finally, the paper presents a case study that explores a possible application of the slicing technique for debugging.


Related research categories:
(1) Program Analysis
(2) Empirical Studies
(3) Data Flow
(4) Slicing

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