Sign In

Communications of the ACM


Static Analysis

one red cube in a group of white cubes, illustration

Credit: Tostphoto

back to top 

The relationship between source code, computers, and people is complex. Though most code exists to be run on a computer, its purpose is not limited to that. It is also intended to be read and understood. The complexity of modern software development stands in opposition to the effort to understand code: Software that cannot be understood cannot be easily maintained or improved, and many empirical studies indicate a correlation between a given codebase's complexity and its rate of defects.3 It's difficult to understand a codebase of any significant size, and programmers therefore need and deserve every useful tool and technique to help them understand complex codebases.

One such category of tool, static program analysis, consists of programs or algorithms designed to extract facts from another program's source code, without executing the program in question and usually as a distinct stage in the day-to-day software development process. Software developers who use tools for static program analysis (usually referred to simply as static analysis) then have an opportunity to use the facts yielded by the analysis to further understand, evaluate, and modify the associated codebase.


No entries found

Log in to Read the Full Article

Sign In

Sign in using your ACM Web Account username and password to access premium content if you are an ACM member, Communications subscriber or Digital Library subscriber.

Need Access?

Please select one of the options below for access to premium content and features.

Create a Web Account

If you are already an ACM member, Communications subscriber, or Digital Library subscriber, please set up a web account to access premium content on this site.

Join the ACM

Become a member to take full advantage of ACM's outstanding computing information resources, networking opportunities, and other benefits.

Subscribe to Communications of the ACM Magazine

Get full access to 50+ years of CACM content and receive the print version of the magazine monthly.

Purchase the Article

Non-members can purchase this article or a copy of the magazine in which it appears.