L. Bent, D. C. Atkinson W. G. Griswold, ``A Comparative Study of Two Whole Program Slicers for C'', UCSD TR CS2001-0668, April 2001.


Abstract

Recently, a few whole-program static slicers for the C programming language have been developed, permitting a variety of hypotheses about time-precision tradeoffs in program analysis for software engineering to be tested. This paper reports an initial investigation into these claims through GrammaTech's CodeSurfer and UCSD's Sprite research prototype, which represent two two radically different approaches in the program analysis tool design space.

First, it was found that algorithmic superiority tended to provide large improvements in relative precision in selected cases. Second, a number of non-algorithmic design choices had a more substantial and sometimes unintuitive influence on slice results. Third, considerable expertise and time was required to discern the reasons why a particular statement appeared in a slice, diminishing the slice's probable usefulness. These results provide recommendations for future tool design.