On the complexity of flow-sensitive dataflow analyses

Robert Muth, Saumya Debray

Research output: Contribution to journalConference article

20 Scopus citations


This paper attempts to address the question of why certain dataflow analysis problems can be solved efficiently, but not others. We focus on flow-sensitive analyses, and give a simple and general result that shows that analyses that require the use of relational attributes for precision must be PSPACE-hard in general. We then show that if the language constructs are slightly strengthened to allow a computation to maintain a very limited summary of what happens along an execution path, inter-procedural analyses become EXPTIME-hard. We discuss applications of our results to a variety of analyses discussed in the literature. Our work elucidates the reasons behind the complexity results given by a number of authors, improves on a number of such complexity results, and exposes conceptual commonalities underlying such results that are not readily apparent otherwise.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)67-80
Number of pages14
JournalConference Record of the Annual ACM Symposium on Principles of Programming Languages
StatePublished - Dec 3 2000
EventPOPL'00 - The 27th ACM SIGPLAN-SIGACT Symposium on Principles og Programming Languages - Boston, MA, USA
Duration: Jan 19 2000Jan 21 2000

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software

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