Inferring Method Effect Summaries for Nested Heap Regions

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Working Paper

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Abstract or Description

Effect systems are important for reasoning about the side effects of a program. Although effect systems have been around for decades, they have not been widely adopted in practice because of the large number of annotations that they require. A tool that infers effects automatically can make effect systems practical. We present an effect inference algorithm and an Eclipse plug-in, DPJIZER, which alleviate the burden of writing effect annotations for a language called Deterministic Parallel Java (DPJ). The key novel feature of the algorithm is the ability to infer effects on nested heap regions. Besides DPJ, we also illustrate how the algorithm can be used for a different effect system based on object ownership. Our experience shows that DPJIZER is both useful and effective: (i) inferring effect annotations automatically saves significant programming burden; and (ii) inferred effects are more precise than those written manually, and are fine-grained enough to enable the compiler to prove determinism of the program.