Meta-circular abstract interpretation in prolog

Michael Codish, Harald Søndergaard

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

11 Scopus citations


We give an introduction to the meta-circular approach to the abstract interpretation of logic programs. This approach is particularly useful for prototyping and for introductory classes on abstract interpretation. Using interpreters, students can immediately write, adapt, and experiment with interpreters and working dataflow analysers. We use a simple meta-circular interpreter, based on a "non-ground TP" semantics, as a generic analysis engine. Instantiating the engine is a matter of providing an appropriate domain of approximations, together with definitions of "abstract" unification and disjunction. Small changes of the interpreter let us vary both what can be "observed" by an analyser, and how fixed point computation is done. Amongst the dataflow analyses used to exemplify this approach are a parity analysis, groundness dependency analysis, call patterns, depth-k analysis, and a "pattern" analysis to establish most specific generalisations of calls and success sets.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Essence of Computation
Subtitle of host publicationComplexity, Analysis, Transformation
PublisherSpringer Verlag
Number of pages26
ISBN (Print)9783540003267
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2002

Publication series

NameLecture Notes in Computer Science (including subseries Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence and Lecture Notes in Bioinformatics)
Volume2566 LNCS
ISSN (Print)0302-9743
ISSN (Electronic)1611-3349

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Theoretical Computer Science
  • General Computer Science


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