CVSM Bibliography, Entry [ HoPR1989TOPLAS ]

Howitz, Susan; Prins, Jan; Reps, Thomas: Integrating Noninterfering Versions of Programs; ACM Transactions on Programming Languages and Systems 11:3, p.345-387; 1989
Deskriptoren: CVSM

Abstract: The need to integrate several versions of a program into a common one arises frequently, but it is a tedious and time consuming task to integrate programs by hand. To date, the only available tools for assisting with program integration are variants of text-based differential file comparators; these are of limited utility because one has no guarantees about how the program that is the product of an integration behaves compared to the programs that were integrated. This paper concerns the design of a semantics-based tool for automatically integrating program versions. The main contribution of the paper is an algorithm that takes as input three programs A, B, and Base, where A and B are two variants of Base. Whenever the changes made to Base to create A and B do not "interfere" (in a sense defined in the paper), the algorithm produces a program M that integrates A and B. The algorithm is predicated on the assumption that differences in the behavior of the variant programs from that of Base, rather than differences in the text, are significant and must be preserved in M. Although it is undecidable whether a program modification actually leads to such a difference, it is possible to determine a safe approximation by comparing each of the variants with Base. To determine this information, the integration algorithm employs a program representation that is similar (although not identical) to the dependence graphs that have been used previously in vectorizing and parallelizing compilers. The algorithm also makes use of the notion of a program slice to find just those statements of a program that determine the values of potentially affected variables. The program-integration problem has not been formalized previously. It should be noted, however, that the integration problem examined here is a greatly simplified one; in particular, we assume that expressions contain only scalar variables and constants, and that the only statements used in programs are assignment statements, conditional statements, and while-loops.