Types are a good starting point for various software reengineering tasks. Unfortunately, programs requiring reengineering most desperately are written in languages without an adequate type system (such as COBOL). To solve this problem, we propose a method of automated type inference for these languages. The main ingredients are that if variables are compared using some relational operator their types must be the same; likewise if an expression is assigned to a variable, the type of the expression must be a subtype of that of the variable. We present the formal type system and inference rules for this approach, show their effect on various real life COBOL fragments, describe the implementation of our ideas in a prototype type inference tool for COBOL, and discuss a number of applications.

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Software Engineering [SEN]
Software Analysis and Transformation

van Deursen, A, & Moonen, L.M.F. (1998). Type inference for COBOL systems. Software Engineering [SEN]. CWI.