Polymorphic Predicate Abstraction

ACM Transactions on Programming Languages and Systems (TOPLAS), 27(2):314-343, March 2005.
Thomas Ball, Todd Millstein, Sriram Rajamani
Predicate abstraction is a technique for creating abstract models of software that are amenable to model checking algorithms. We show how polymorphism, a well-known concept in programming languages and program analysis, can be incorporated in a predicate abstraction algorithm for C programs. The use of polymorphism in predicates, via the introduction of symbolic names for values, allows us to model the effect of a procedure independent of its calling contexts. Therefore, we can safely and precisely abstract a procedure once and then reuse this abstraction across multiple calls and multiple applications containing the procedure. Polymorphism also enables us to handle programs that need to be analyzed in an open environment, for all possible callers. We have proved that our algorithm is sound and have implemented it in the C2BP tool as part of the SLAM software model checking toolkit.