A component is a set of related relations. Component can be seen as a template. Once we instantiate a component, under the hood Souffle copies all the relations from its body and gives them unique names. However, in the source code, we can still refer to these new rules using the name of the component instance.

New component can be declared using the .comp keyword, the following block between { and } is the component body. In component body, we can declare rules and nested components.

.comp MyComponent {
   .decl TheAnswer(x:number)

A component can be instantiated by using the .init keyword followed by unique name of the instance, equals sign and name of the component type.

.init myCompInstance1 = MyComponent
.decl Test(x:number)
Test(x) :- myCompoInstance1.TheAnswer(x).

Another instantiation of the same component will duplicate all the tables!

Input rules

All the relations inside a component can be extended with new rules.

.init myComp = MyComponent

.decl Test(x:number)
Test(x) :- myCompoInstance1.TheAnswer(x). // output: 42, 33

One usage is to declare a relation inside a component, but leave it empty. Consumers of the component should provide the rules for the relation. This is one way of “passing parameters” into the component.

.comp Reachability {
  .decl edge(u:number,v:number)
  .decl reach(u:number,v:number)
  reach(u,v) :- edge(u,v).
  reach(u,v) :- reach(u,x), edge(x,v).

.init r = Reachability
r.edge(1, 2).
r.edge(2, 3).
r.edge(2, 4).


One component can inherit from another. Inheritance in this case is purely injection of rules from the base component into its subcomponent. The syntax is as follows:

.comp Base {
  .decl TheAnswer(x:number)
  TheAnswer(x) :- 42.

.comp Child : Base {
  .decl WhatIsTheAnswer(n:number)
  WhatIsTheAnswer(n) :- TheAnswer(n).

Type Parametrization

Components can be parametrized with types (including records) or other components in similar fashion as generics in Java or templates in C++.

.comp Graph<TNode> {
  .decl edge(u:TNode, v:TNode)
  // ...

If the parameter is meant to be another component, it can be instantiated:

.comp Reachability<TGraph> {
  .init graph = TGraph
  // ...
  reach(u, v) :- graph.edge(u, v).

When initializing parametrized component, we must provide actual parameters:

.init g = Graph<number>
.init reach = Reachability<MyGraph>

Note that the following is not possible:

.init reach = Reachability<Graph<number>>

This limitation can be overcome with inheritance:

.comp NumberGraph : Graph<number> {}
.init reach = Reachability<NumberGraph>

Note that instantiation of TGraph inside Reachability will create new copies of TGraph relations (specifically relations of whatever is used as actual parameter for TGraph).

Type Parametrization and Inheritance

Type parameters can passed around when inheriting. Example:

.comp A<T> { .... }
.comp B<K> : A<K> { ... }

Although it is not recommended, the type parameter can be used as the base class:

.comp A<T> : T { ... }

Overridable Relations

If a relation, declared in a super component is overridable, it would be possible to override its associated rules in the sub-component while inheriting the rest of the relations from the super-component. A relation in a sub-component with the same signature as a relation in the super component can override the super component’s relation if it has overridable keyword.

.comp A {
    .decl Rel(x:number) overridable

Since relation Rel(x:number) in the component A has overridable keyword, any sub-component of A can override this relation using .override keyword.

.comp B : A {
    .override Rel

The override semantic replaces the clauses of all super-components by clauses of the sub-component. We omit the actual relation declaration in the sub-component because changing the signature of the relation would cause serious havoc with the use of the relation outside the scope of the sub-component.

As another example, we can use override semantics to implement a more precise version of an existing analysis by overriding some relations:

.comp AbstractPointsto{

    .decl  HeapAllocationMerge(heap,mergeHeap) overridable

    HeapAllocationMerge(heap,"<<string-constant>>") :-



.comp PrecisePointsto : AbstractPointsto{

    .override HeapAllocationMerge

    HeapAllocationMerge(heap,"<<string-constant>>") :-

.init precise_pointsto = PrecisePointsto

In this example, PrecisePointsto inherits all the relations from AbstractPointsto, but only implements the HeapAllocationMerge relation differently. This feature avoids code duplications when we need several implementations of a generic analysis with small variations.


Examples on how to utilize components can be found here.