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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

A formal semantics of C with applications
by Ellison, Charles McEwen, III, Ph.D., University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2012, 428; 3600342
Abstract (Summary)

This dissertation shows that complex, real programming languages can be completely formalized in the [special characters omitted] Framework, yielding interpreters and analysis tools for testing and bug detection. This is demonstrated by providing, in [special characters omitted], the first complete formal semantics of the C programming language. With varying degrees of effort, tools such as interpreters, debuggers, and model-checkers, together with tools that check for memory safety, races, deadlocks, and undefined behavior are then generated from the semantics.

Being executable, the semantics has been thoroughly tested against the GCC torture test suite and successfully passes 99.2% of 776 test programs. The semantics is also evaluated against popular analysis tools, using a new test suite in addition to a third-party test suite. The semantics-based tool performs at least as well or better than the other tools tested.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Rosu, Grigore
Commitee: Agha, Gul, Meseguer, Jose, Schulte, Wolfram
School: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Department: Computer Science
School Location: United States -- Illinois
Source: DAI-B 75/01(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Computer science
Keywords: C programming language, Formal semantics, K framework, Undefined behavior
Publication Number: 3600342
ISBN: 978-1-303-50436-5
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