Logical Methods in Computer Science

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Local reasoning about programs exploits the natural local behaviour common in programs by focussing on the footprint - that part of the resource accessed by the program. We address the problem of formally characterising and analysing the footprint notion for abstract local functions introduced by Calcagno, O’Hearn and Yang. With our definition, we prove that the footprints are the only essential elements required for a complete specification of a local function. We formalise the notion of small specifications in local reasoning and show that for well-founded resource models, a smallest specification always exists that only includes the footprints, and also present results for the non-well-founded case. Finally, we investigate the conditions under which the footprints correspond to the smallest safe states, and present a heap model in which, unlike the standard model, this is the case for every program.

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