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Formalising Boost POSIX Regular Expression Matching


  • Authors:
    Brink van der Merwe , Martin Berglund , Willem Bester

    Publication date:

    Stellenbosch University

    Output type:
    Conference proceedings


    Whereas Perl-compatible regular expression matchers typically exhibit some variation of leftmost-greedy semantics, those conforming to the posix standard are prescribed leftmost-longest semantics. However, the posix standard leaves some room for interpretation, and Fowler and Kuklewicz have done experimental work to confirm differences between various posix matchers. The Boost library has an interesting take on the posix standard, where it maximises the leftmost match not with respect to subexpressions of the regular expression pattern, but rather, with respect to capturing groups. In our work, we provide the first formalisation of Boost semantics, and we analyse the complexity of regular expression matching when using Boost semantics.

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