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Typestate Checking and Regular Graph Constraints

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We introduce regular graph constraints and explore their decidability properties. The motivation for regular graph constraints is 1) type checking of changing types of objects in the presence of linked data structures, 2) shape analysis techniques, and 3) generalization of similar constraints over trees and grids. We define a subclass of graphs called heaps as an abstraction of the data structures that a program constructs during its execution. We prove that determining the validity of implication for regular graph constraints over the class of heaps is undecidable. We show undecidability by exhibiting a characterization of certain corresponder graphs in terms of presence and absence of homomorphisms to a finite number of fixed graphs. The undecidability of implication of regular graph constraints implies that there is no algorithm that will verify that procedure preconditions are met or that the invariants are maintained when these properties are expressed in any specification language at least as expressive as regular graph constraints.


Viktor Kuncak and Martin Rinard. Typestate checking and regular graph constraints. Technical Report 863, MIT LCS, 2002.

BibTex Entry

  author = {Viktor Kuncak and Martin Rinard},
  title = {Typestate Checking and Regular Graph Constraints},
  institution = {MIT LCS},
  number = 863,
  year = 2002,
  url = {},
  localurl = {}

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