On the complexity of flow-sensitive dataflow analyses

Robert Muth, Saumya Debray

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

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 - 2000
Externally publishedYes
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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