Eric Mullen, Daryl Zuniga, Zachary Tatlock, and Dan Grossman. Verified peephole optimizations for compcert. In 2016 ACM SIGPLAN Conference on Programming Language Design and Implementation, PLDI '16. ACM, 2016.

Transformations over assembly code are common in many compilers. These transformations are also some of the most bug-dense compiler components. Such bugs could be eliminated by formally verifying the compiler, but state-of-the-art formally verified compilers like CompCert do not support assembly-level program transformations. This paper presents Peek, a framework for expressing, verifying, and running meaning-preserving assembly-level program transformations in CompCert. Peek contributes four new components: a lower level semantics for CompCert x86 syntax, a liveness analysis, a library for expressing and verifying peephole optimizations, and a verified peephole optimization pass built into CompCert. Each of these is accompanied by a correctness proof in Coq against realistic assumptions about the calling convention and the system memory allocator.

Verifying peephole optimizations in Peek requires proving only a set of local properties, which we have proved are sufficient to ensure global transformation correctness. We have proven these local properties for 28 peephole transformations from the literature. We discuss the development of our new assembly semantics, liveness analysis, representation of program transformations, and execution engine; describe the verification challenges of each component; and detail techniques we applied to mitigate the proof burden.

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