Concept

Pointer analysis

Summary
In computer science, pointer analysis, or points-to analysis, is a static code analysis technique that establishes which pointers, or heap references, can point to which variables, or storage locations. It is often a component of more complex analyses such as escape analysis. A closely related technique is shape analysis. This is the most common colloquial use of the term. A secondary use has pointer analysis be the collective name for both points-to analysis, defined as above, and alias analysis. Points-to and alias analysis are closely related but not always equivalent problems. Example For the following example program, a points-to analysis would compute that the points-to set of p is {x, y}. int x; int y; int* p = unknown() ? &x : &y; Introduction As a form of static analysis, fully precise pointer analysis can be shown to be undecidable. Most approaches are sound, but range widely in performance and precision. Many design decisions impact both the precis
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