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Program slicing is a method for automatically decomposing programs by analyzing their data flow and control flow. Starting from a subset of a program's behavior, slicing reduces that program to a minimal form which still produces that behavior. The reduced program, called a ``slice,'' is an independent program guaranteed to represent faithfully the original program within the domain of the specified subset of behavior. Some properties of slices are presented. In particular, finding statement-minimal slices is in general unsolvable, but using data flow analysis is sufficient to find approximate slices. Potential applications include automatic slicing tools for debuggng and parallel processing of slices.
Date of Publication: July 1984