Data-flow analysis Article about Data-flow analysis by The Free Dictionary

Available Expression – A expression is said to be available at a program point x if along paths its reaching to x. As we show in this chapter, the HSA features have allowed us to support more generic C++ AMP code than what the current C++ AMP standard allows. For example, we show that with the HSA shared virtual memory feature, we can support capture of array references without requiring array_view. For another example, with the HSA wait API and HSAIL signal instructions, we can efficiently support dynamic memory allocation within device code, which is not allowed in the current HSA standard.

definition of data flow analysis

Here, the uncontrolled format string condition is defined in terms of the analysis tool API. On the other hand, the definition of an ActionElement that passes a format string to format string function can be done entirely based on the standard vocabulary provided by the Knowledge Discovery Metamodel . •Data flow analysis is a process for collecting information about the use, definition, and dependencies of data in programs. The data flow analysis algorithm operates on a CFG generated from an AST. Dataflow problems which have sets of data-flow values which can be represented as bit vectors are called bit vector problems, gen-kill problems, or locally separable problems.

We know program point 1 assigns null to a variable, and we also know this value is overwritten at points 3 and 5. Using this information, we can determine whether the definition at point 1 may reach program point 6 where it’s used. Is killed in block B because x ory is defined without a subse-quent computation of x + y. In this case, the first time we apply the transfer function fs, x + ywill be removed from OVT[B.

Symbolic pointers¶

The trick is to introduce a dummy definition for each variable x in the entry to the flow graph. If the dummy definition of xreaches a point p where x might be used, then there might be an opportunity to use x before definition. Assigns a constant to x, then we can simply replace x by the constant. If, on the other hand, several definitions of x may reach a single program point, then we cannot perform constant folding on x. Thus, for constant folding we wish to find those definitions that are the unique definition of their variable to reach a given program point, no matter which execution path is taken.

definition of data flow analysis

After a value is computed in a register, and presumably used within a block, it is not necessary to store that value if it is dead at the end of the block. Also, if all registers are full and we need another register, we should favor using a register with a dead value, since that value does not have to be stored. Use our DFD examples and specialized notations to visually represent the flow of data through your system. Get started with a template, and then use our shapes to customize your processes, data stores, data flows and external entities. A Logical DFD visualizes the data flow that is essential for a business to operate.


At least one block starts in a state with a value less than the maximum. If the minimum element represents totally conservative information, the results can be used safely even during the data-flow iteration. If it represents the most accurate information, fixpoint should be reached before the results can be applied.

Using DFD layers, the cascading levels can be nested directly in the diagram, providing a cleaner look with easy access to the deeper dive. Progression to Levels 3, 4 and beyond is possible, but going beyond Level 3 is uncommon. Doing so can create complexity that makes it difficult to communicate, compare or model effectively. Here is a comprehensive look at diagram symbols and notations and how they’re used. Remote teams Collaborate as a team anytime, anywhere to improve productivity.

The I N ‘ s and OUT’s never grow; that is, successive values of these sets are subsets of their previous values. B) If variable x is put in m or 0UTp9], then there is a path from the beginning or end of block B,respectively, along which x might be used. Since x + y is never in OUT , and it is never generated along the path in question, we can show by induction on the length of the path that x + y is eventually removed from I N ‘ s and O U T ‘ s along that path. A block generates expression x + y if it definitely evaluates x + y and does not subsequently define x or y. N o te that the path may have loops, so we could come to another occurrence of d along the path, which does not “kill” d.

Data Flow Analysis typically operates over a Control-Flow Graph , a graphical representation of a program. The most important difference is that the meet operator is intersection rather than union. This operator is the proper one because an expression is available at the beginning of a block only if it is available at the end of all its predecessors. In contrast, a definition reaches the beginning of a block whenever it reaches the end of any one or more of its predecessors. We say a definition d reaches a point p if there is a path from the point immediately following d to p, such that d is not “killed” along that path. We kill a definition of a variable x if there is any other definition of x anywhere along the path .


In contrast, for available expression equations we want the solution with the largest sets of available expressions, so we start with an approximation that is too large and work down. The number of nodes in the flow graph is an upper bound definition of data flow analysis on the number of times around the while-loop. The reason is that if a definition reaches a point, it can do so along a cycle-free path, and the number of nodes in a flow graph is an upper bound on the number of nodes in a cycle-free path.

Random order – This iteration order is not aware whether the data-flow equations solve a forward or backward data-flow problem. Therefore, the performance is relatively poor compared to specialized iteration orders. The algorithm is started by putting information-generating blocks in the work list. We can solve this problem with a classic constant propagation lattice combined with symbolic evaluation.

We also care about the initial sets of facts that are true at the entry or exit , and initially at every in our out point . We generate facts when we have new information at a program point, and we kill facts when that program point invalidates other information. The goal of static analysis is to reason about program behavior at compile-time, before ever running the program. The goal of dynamic analysis, in contrast, is to reason about program behavior at run-time.

For example, it can use a constraint solver to prune impossible flow conditions, and/or it can abstract them, losing precision, after their symbolic representations grow beyond some threshold. This is similar to how we had to limit the sizes of computed sets of possible values to 3 elements. It is the analysis of flow of data in control flow graph, i.e., the analysis that determines the information regarding the definition and use of data in program. In general, its process in which values are computed using data flow analysis.

The reaching definition analysis calculates for each program point the set of definitions that may potentially reach this program point. To be usable, the iterative approach should actually reach a fixpoint. This can be guaranteed by imposing constraints on the combination of the value domain of the states, the transfer functions and the join operation.

3 Intuitively, if a definition d of some variable x reaches point p, then dmight be the place at which the value of xused at p was last defined. It’s a basic overview of the whole system or process being analyzed or modeled. It’s designed to be an at-a-glance view, showing the system as a single high-level process, with its relationship to external entities. It should be easily understood by a wide audience, including stakeholders, business analysts, data analysts and developers. A data flow diagram can dive into progressively more detail by using levels and layers, zeroing in on a particular piece. DFD levels are numbered 0, 1 or 2, and occasionally go to even Level 3 or beyond.

We then extract, from the possible program states at each point, the information we need for the particular data-flow analysis problem we want to solve. In more complex analyses, we must consider paths that jump among the flow graphs for various procedures, as calls and returns are executed. However, to begin our study, we shall concentrate on the paths through a single flow graph for a single procedure. To improve a program, the optimizer must rewrite the code in a way that produces better a target language program. To accomplish this, the compiler analyzes the program in an attempt to determine how it will behave when it runs.

Thus, after changes subside, the solution provided by the iterative algo-rithm of Fig. This class of variables includes all local scalar variables in most languages; in the case of C and C++, local variables whose addresses have been computed at some point are excluded. DFD Level 1 provides a more detailed breakout of pieces of the Context Level Diagram. You will highlight the main functions carried out by the system, as you break down the high-level process of the Context Diagram into its subprocesses. ControlElement and ActionElement are KDM terms, corresponding to a named unit of behavior (e.g., a function in the C programming language), and a statement, respectively. 1.Locate statement that passes format string to a format string function.

Example: finding output parameters¶

Data-flow analysis often employs a CFG , similar to a flow chart, showing all possible paths of data through the program. Data-flow analysis is typically path-insensitive, though it is possible to define data-flow equations that yield a path-sensitive analysis. Modern idiomatic C++ uses smart pointers to express memory ownership, however in pre-C++11 code one can often find raw pointers that own heap memory blocks. A lattice element could also capture the source locations of the branches that lead us to the corresponding program point.

  • Solving the data-flow equations starts with initializing all in-states and out-states to the empty set.
  • Like all the best diagrams and charts, a DFD can often visually “say” things that would be hard to explain in words, and they work for both technical and nontechnical audiences, from developer to CEO.
  • Data-flow analysis is typically path-insensitive, though it is possible to define data-flow equations that yield a path-sensitive analysis.
  • The problem with dynamic slicing is, that it generates large amounts of data and perturbates massively the program’s behavior during execution.
  • It can make conclusions about all paths through the program, while taking control flow into account and scaling to large programs.
  • Safe policies may, unfortunately, cause us to miss some code improvements that would retain the meaning of the program, but in essen-tially all code optimizations there is no safe policy that misses nothing.
  • Using any convention’s DFD rules or guidelines, the symbols depict the four components of data flow diagrams.

Key transformations for compiling high-level, object-oriented C++ code into HSAIL instructions were demonstrated. With data flow analysis, we can compile tiled C++ AMP application into device code with properly formed work-groups that take advantage of the HSA group memory. We have also demonstrated how to enable and use HSA-specific features, such as shared virtual memory and platform atomics. Software pipelining does not happen without careful analysis and structuring of the code. Small loops that do not have many iterations may not be pipelined because the benefits are not realized. If the compiler has to “spill” data to the stack, precious time will be wasted having to fetch this information from the stack during the execution of the loop.

How to make a data flow diagram

“Data-flow analysis” refers to a body of techniques that derive information about the flow of data along program execution paths. As another example, if the result of an assignment is not used along any subsequent execution path, then we can eliminate the assignment as dead code. These and many other important questions can be answered by data-flow analysis. A data flow diagram maps out the flow of information for any process or system. It uses defined symbols like rectangles, circles and arrows, plus short text labels, to show data inputs, outputs, storage points and the routes between each destination.

Data-Flow Analysis

When the data flow algorithm computes a normal state, but not all fields are proven to be overwritten we can’t perform the refactoring. As a consequence of the definitions, any variable in useB must be considered live on entrance to block B, while definitions of variables in defB definitely are dead at the beginning of B. In effect, membership in defB “kills” any opportunity for a variable to be live because of paths that begin at B. An important use for live-variable information is register allocation for basic blocks.

Parts of speech for Data flow analysis

Postorder – This is a typical iteration order for backward data-flow problems. In postorder iteration, a node is visited after all its successor nodes have been visited. Typically, the postorder iteration is implemented with the depth-first strategy. The processes should be numbered or put in ordered list to be referred easily. Taint analysis is very well suited to this problem because the program rarely branches on user IDs, and almost certainly does not perform any computation . Check in the flow condition to find redundant checks, like in the example below.

Learn More About Data-Flow Analysis (DFA) in These Related Titles

To make a conclusion about all paths through the program, we repeat this computation on all basic blocks until we reach a fixpoint. In other words, we keep propagating information through the CFG until the computed sets of values stop changing. Some code-improving transformations depend on information computed in the direction opposite to the flow of control in a program; we shall examine one such example now. In live-variable analysis we wish to know for variable xand point p whether the value of x at pcould be used along some path in the flow graph starting at p. Here is how we use a solution to the reaching-definitions problem to detect uses before definition.

Share this post

Share on facebook
Share on google
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on pinterest
Share on print
Share on email