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This paper presents a method for automatically analyzing loops, and discusses why it is a useful way to look at loops. The method is based on the idea that there are four basic ways in which the logical structure of a loop is built up. An experiment is presented which shows that this accounts for the structure of a large class of loops. The paper discusses how the method can be used to automatically analyze the structure of a loop, and how the resulting analysis can be used to guide a proof of correctness for the loop. An automatic system is described which performs this type of analysis. The paper discusses the relationship between the structure building methods presented and programming language constructs. A system is described which is designed to assist a person who is writing a program. The intent is that the system will cooperate with a programmer throughout aUl phases of work on a program and be able to communicate with the programmer about it.
Date of Publication: May 1979