A grammar-based approach to invertible programs

Kazutaka Matsuda, Shin-Cheng Mu, Zhenjiang Hu, and Masato Takeichi. In 19th European Symposium on Programming (ESOP 2010), LNCS 6012, pp 448-467, March 2010. [PDF]

Program inversion has many applications such as in the implementation of serialization/deserialization and in providing support for redo/undo, and has been studied by many researchers. However, little attention has been paid to two problems: how to characterize programs that are easy or hard to invert and whether, for each class of programs, efficient inverses can be obtained. In this paper, we propose an inversion framework that we call grammar-based inversion, where a program is associated with an unambiguous grammar describing the range of the program. The complexity of the grammar indicates how hard it is to invert the program, while the complexity is related to how efficient an inverse can be obtained.

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