Automated Program Recognition

Unknown author (1987-02-01)

The key to understanding a program is recognizing familiar algorithmic fragments and data structures in it. Automating this recognition process will make it easier to perform many tasks which require program understanding, e.g., maintenance, modification, and debugging. This report describes a recognition system, called the Recognizer, which automatically identifies occurrences of stereotyped computational fragments and data structures in programs. The Recognizer is able to identify these familiar fragments and structures, even though they may be expressed in a wide range of syntactic forms. It does so systematically and efficiently by using a parsing technique. Two important advances have made this possible. The first is a language-independent graphical representation for programs and programming structures which canonicalizes many syntactic features of programs. The second is an efficient graph parsing algorithm.