10.1145/3297280.3297322
Chatterjee, Krishnendu
Krishnendu
Chatterjee0000-0002-4561-241X
Goharshady, Amir Kafshdar
Amir Kafshdar
Goharshady0000-0003-1702-6584
Goharshady, Ehsan Kafshdar
Ehsan Kafshdar
Goharshady
The treewidth of smart contracts
ACM
2019
2019-05-26T21:59:15Z
2019-08-12T09:12:11Z
conference
https://research-explorer.app.ist.ac.at/record/6490
https://research-explorer.app.ist.ac.at/record/6490.json
9781450359337
Smart contracts are programs that are stored and executed on the Blockchain and can receive, manage and transfer money (cryptocurrency units). Two important problems regarding smart contracts are formal analysis and compiler optimization. Formal analysis is extremely important, because smart contracts hold funds worth billions of dollars and their code is immutable after deployment. Hence, an undetected bug can cause significant financial losses. Compiler optimization is also crucial, because every action of a smart contract has to be executed by every node in the Blockchain network. Therefore, optimizations in compiling smart contracts can lead to significant savings in computation, time and energy.
Two classical approaches in program analysis and compiler optimization are intraprocedural and interprocedural analysis. In intraprocedural analysis, each function is analyzed separately, while interprocedural analysis considers the entire program. In both cases, the analyses are usually reduced to graph problems over the control flow graph (CFG) of the program. These graph problems are often computationally expensive. Hence, there has been ample research on exploiting structural properties of CFGs for efficient algorithms. One such well-studied property is the treewidth, which is a measure of tree-likeness of graphs. It is known that intraprocedural CFGs of structured programs have treewidth at most 6, whereas the interprocedural treewidth cannot be bounded. This result has been used as a basis for many efficient intraprocedural analyses.
In this paper, we explore the idea of exploiting the treewidth of smart contracts for formal analysis and compiler optimization. First, similar to classical programs, we show that the intraprocedural treewidth of structured Solidity and Vyper smart contracts is at most 9. Second, for global analysis, we prove that the interprocedural treewidth of structured smart contracts is bounded by 10 and, in sharp contrast with classical programs, treewidth-based algorithms can be easily applied for interprocedural analysis. Finally, we supplement our theoretical results with experiments using a tool we implemented for computing treewidth of smart contracts and show that the treewidth is much lower in practice. We use 36,764 real-world Ethereum smart contracts as benchmarks and find that they have an average treewidth of at most 3.35 for the intraprocedural case and 3.65 for the interprocedural case.