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Tight Polynomial Worst-Case Bounds for Loop Programs

by   Amir M. Ben-Amram, et al.
Dublin City University
The Academic College of Tel Aviv Yaffo

In 2008, Ben-Amram, Jones and Kristiansen showed that for a simple programming language—representing non-deterministic imperative programs with bounded loops, and arithmetics limited to addition and multiplication - it is possible to decide precisely whether a program has certain growth-rate properties, in particular whether a computed value, or the program's running time, has a polynomial growth rate. A natural and intriguing problem was to move from answering the decision problem to giving a quantitative result, namely, a tight polynomial upper bound. This paper shows how to obtain asymptotically-tight, multivariate, disjunctive polynomial bounds for this class of programs. This is a complete solution: whenever a polynomial bound exists it will be found. A pleasant surprise is that the algorithm is quite simple; but it relies on some subtle reasoning. An important ingredient in the proof is the forest factorization theorem, a strong structural result on homomorphisms into a finite monoid.


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