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Soundness, Idempotence and Commutativity of Set-Sharing (TPLP)

[Page last updated on "January 13, 2005, 15:31:42".]

Patricia M. Hill, Roberto Bagnara, and Enea Zaffanella


It is important that practical data-flow analyzers are backed by reliably proven theoretical results. Abstract interpretation provides a sound mathematical framework and necessary generic properties for an abstract domain to be well-defined and sound with respect to the concrete semantics. In logic programming, the abstract domain Sharing is a standard choice for sharing analysis for both practical work and further theoretical study. In spite of this, we found that there were no satisfactory proofs for the key properties of commutativity and idempotence that are essential for Sharing to be well-defined and that published statements of the soundness of Sharing assume the occur-check. This paper provides a generalization of the abstraction function for Sharing that can be applied to any language, with or without the occur-check. Results for soundness, idempotence and commutativity for abstract unification using this abstraction function are proven.

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