An important feature of object-oriented programming languages is the ability to dynamically instantiate user-defined container data structures such as lists, trees, and hash tables. Programs implement such data structures using references to dynamically allocated objects, which allows data structures to store unbounded numbers of objects, but makes reasoning about programs more difficult. Reasoning about object-oriented programs with complex data structures is simplified if data structure operations are specified in terms of abstract sets of objects associated with each data structure. For example, an insertion into a data structure in this approach becomes simply an insertion into a dynamically changing set-valued field of an object, as opposed to a manipulation of a dynamically linked structure linked to the object. In this paper we explore reasoning techniques for programs that manipulate data structures specified using set-valued abstract fields associated with container objects. We compare the expressive power and the complexity of specification languages based on 1) decidable prefix vocabulary classes of first-order logic, 2) two-variable logic with counting, and 3) Nelson-Oppen combinations of multisorted theories. Such specification logics can be used for verification of object-oriented programs with supplied invariants. Moreover, by selecting an appropriate subset of properties expressible in such logic, the decision procedures for these logics yield automated computation of lattice operations in abstract interpretation domain, as well as automated computation of abstract program semantics.

@techreport{KuncakRinard04DecisionProcedureSetValuedFields, author = {Viktor Kuncak and Martin Rinard}, title = {On Decision Procedures for Set-Valued Fields}, institution = {MIT CSAIL}, year = 2004, number = {975}, month = {November}, note = {Full version of \cite{KuncakRinard05DecisionProceduresSetValuedFields}}, abstract = { An important feature of object-oriented programming languages is the ability to dynamically instantiate user-defined container data structures such as lists, trees, and hash tables. Programs implement such data structures using references to dynamically allocated objects, which allows data structures to store unbounded numbers of objects, but makes reasoning about programs more difficult. Reasoning about object-oriented programs with complex data structures is simplified if data structure operations are specified in terms of abstract sets of objects associated with each data structure. For example, an insertion into a data structure in this approach becomes simply an insertion into a dynamically changing set-valued field of an object, as opposed to a manipulation of a dynamically linked structure linked to the object. In this paper we explore reasoning techniques for programs that manipulate data structures specified using set-valued abstract fields associated with container objects. We compare the expressive power and the complexity of specification languages based on 1) decidable prefix vocabulary classes of first-order logic, 2) two-variable logic with counting, and 3) Nelson-Oppen combinations of multisorted theories. Such specification logics can be used for verification of object-oriented programs with supplied invariants. Moreover, by selecting an appropriate subset of properties expressible in such logic, the decision procedures for these logics yield automated computation of lattice operations in abstract interpretation domain, as well as automated computation of abstract program semantics. } }