Composite Constant Propagation and its Application to Android Program Analysis

Damien Octeau, Daniel Luchaup, Somesh Jha, Patrick McDaniel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Many program analyses require statically inferring the possible values of composite types. However, current approaches either do not account for correlations between object fields or do so in an ad hoc manner. In this paper, we introduce the problem of composite constant propagation. We develop the first generic solver that infers all possible values of complex objects in an interprocedural, flow and context-sensitive manner, taking field correlations into account. Composite constant propagation problems are specified using COAL, a declarative language. We apply our COAL solver to the problem of inferring Android Inter-Component Communication (ICC) values, which is required to understand how the components of Android applications interact. Using COAL, we model ICC objects in Android more thoroughly than the state-of-the-art. We compute ICC values for 489 applications from the Google Play store. The ICC values we infer are substantially more precise than previous work. The analysis is efficient, taking two minutes per application on average. While this work can be used as the basis for many whole-program analyses of Android applications, the COAL solver can also be used to infer the values of composite objects in many other contexts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number7447806
Pages (from-to)999-1014
Number of pages16
JournalIEEE Transactions on Software Engineering
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 1 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Software


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