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The authors study the foundations of smooth interpretation, a recently-proposed program approximation scheme that facilitates the use of local numerical search techniques (e.g., gradient descent) in program analysis and synthesis. While the popular techniques for local optimization works well only on relatively smooth functions, functions encoded by real-world programs are infested with discontinuities and local irregular features. Smooth interpretation attenuates such features by taking the convolution of the program with a Gaussian function, effectively replacing discontinuous switches in the program by continuous transitions.
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