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Fakultät für Informatik

Proseminar: Abstract Interpretation

LSF: tba
Moodle: tba

This proseminar will be given in German.


Abstract Interpretation is a method of static program analysis. As all methods in this field it is able to derive properties from programs without (or before) executing them. The applications for this are numerous and have time-and-time again shown its usefulness for compiler optimizations (i.e. for faster programs), security (i.e. is it leaking my personal data), or safety (i.e. do the brakes automatically hit in time when the proximity sensor of my car senses a wall). 

Formally, abstract interpretation is a sound approximation of the semantics of computer programs based on monotonic functions over ordered sets specifically lattices. Does this definition help you? Probably not at this point. So let's try something else: Abstract Interpretation is an execution of the program  that doesn't work on actual values but rather on abstractions you control. So instead of remembering an actual integer you just remember if it is a positive or negative value, because that is what interests you.

In this seminar we will - step by step - explore the field of abstract interpretation by reading classic text as well as current publications on the topic. It will be an awesome journey for everyone interested how programs work and what we can say about them by "just looking at them". You need to know a bit of math though and be comfortable with functions, greek letter and such. It is what it is. 


The proseminar will be held in the form of a "discussion seminar". All seminar participants meet every two weeks for a session in which, after a short introduction, a specific topic is freely discussed. For each session, corresponding papers have to be worked through, which are announced in advance. For each paper, a seminar participant prepares a short presentation (~10 min), which is presented to the seminar at the beginning of the corresponding session. The final grade for the proseminar evaluates the quality of the discussion contributions, the short presentation as well as a short written paper, which has to be prepared at the end of the seminar.