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SafeType: Detecting Type Violations for Type-Based Alias Analysis of C Open Access


Other title
Type-based alias analysis
Type of item
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Ireland, Iain A.
Supervisor and department
Amaral, Jose Nelson (Computing Science)
Examining committee member and department
Bowman, John (Mathematical and Statistical Sciences)
Amaral, Jose Nelson (Computing Science)
Hoover, James (Computing Science)
Department of Computing Science

Date accepted
Graduation date
Master of Science
Degree level
A type-based alias analysis uses the types of variables in a program to assist in determining the alias relations of those variables. The C standard imposes restrictions on the types of expressions that may access objects in memory, with the explicit intent of specifying when two objects may be aliased. In practice, however, many C programs do not conform to these restrictions, making type-based alias analysis unsound for those programs. As a result, type-based alias analysis is frequently disabled. This thesis presents SafeType, a sound approach for compile-time detection of violations of the C standard’s type-based restrictions on memory access; describes an implementation of SafeType in the IBM XL C compiler, extended with flow- and context-sensitive queries to handle variables with type void *; evaluates that implementation, showing that it scales to programs with hundreds of thousands of lines of code; and identifies a previously unreported violation of the C standard’s type-based restrictions on memory access in the 470.lbm benchmark in SPEC CPU2006.
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