A joint points-to and exception analysis has been shown to yield benefits in both precision and performance. Treating exceptions as regular objects, however, incurs significant and rather unexpected overhead. We show that in a typical joint analysis most of the objects computed to flow in and out of a method are due to exceptional control-flow and not normal call-return control-flow. For instance, a context-insensitive analysis of the Antlr benchmark from the DaCapo suite computes 4-5 times more objects going in or out of a method due to exceptional control-flow than due to normal control-flow. As a consequence, the analysis spends a large amount of its time considering exceptions.
We show that the problem can be addressed both effectively and elegantly by coarsening the representation of exception objects. An interesting find is that, instead of recording each distinct exception object, we can collapse all exceptions of the same type, and use one representative object per type, to yield nearly identical precision (loss of less than 0.1%) but with a boost in performance of at least 50% for most analyses and benchmarks and large space savings (usually 40% or more).
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