One major purpose of dataflow analysis is observing safety constraints across reordering transformations. If a statement S writes to a variable V, S is said to define V. If statement S reads from a variable V, S is said to use V (the two are not mutually exclusive). A definition of v is killed between p1 and p2 if every path between them contains a definition of v; conversely, if a path exists from p1 to p2 which does not redefine v, and v has been defined on input to p1, it reaches p2 from p1. In this situation, v would furthermore be live at p1 (or immediately after p1, if p1 assigned it); a variable is live at a point if that instantiation of the variable might be used in the future.

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