Misconceptions About Loops, or: Static Code Analysis is Hard

When thinking about loops in programming languages, they often get simplified down to a conditions section and a body, but this belies the dizzying complexity that emerges when considering loop edge cases within the context of static analysis. A paper titled Misconceptions about Loops in C by [Martin Brain] and colleagues as presented to SOAP 2024 conference goes through a whole list of false assumptions when it comes to loops, including for languages other than C. Perhaps most interesting is the conclusion that these ‘edge cases’ are in fact a lot more common than generally assumed, courtesy of how creative languages and their users can be when writing their code, with or without dragging in the meta-language of C’s preprocessor.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://hackaday.com/2024/07/09/misconceptions-about-loops-or-static-code-analysis-is-hard/