Unifying Execution of Imperative and Declarative Code

Aleksandar Milicevic, Derek Rayside, Kuat Yessenov, and Daniel Jackson
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA
Session: 
Program Surfing II

We present a unified environment for running declarative specifications in the context of an imperative object-oriented programming language. Specifications are Alloy-like, written in first-order relational logic with transitive closure, and the imperative language is Java. By being able to mix imperative code with executable declarative specifications, the user can easily express constraint problems in place, i.e., in terms of the existing data structures and objects on the heap. After a solution is found, the heap is updated to reflect the solution, so the user can continue to manipulate the program heap in the usual imperative way. We show that this approach is not only convenient, but, for certain problems can also outperform a standard imperative implementation. We also present an optimization technique that allowed us to run our tool on heaps with almost 2000 objects.