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Tuesday, March 25, 2003

A Simple Universal Compiler

Why do major vendors of virtual machines require every language implementor to understand a low level "virtual CPU" architecture when techniques like the following have been proven for well over a decade?

ABSTRACT: Realistic Compilation By Program Transformation, R. Kelsey P. Hudak

Using concepts from denotational semantics, we have produced a very simple compiler that can be used to compile standard programming languages and produces object code as efficient as that of production compilers. The compiler is based entirely on source-to-source transformations performed on programs that have been translated into an intermediate language resembling the lambda calculus. The output of the compiler, while still in the intermediate language, can be trivially translated into machine code for the target machine. The compilation by transformation strategy is simple: the goal is to remove any dependencies on the intermediate language semantics that the target machine cannot implement directly. Front-ends have been written for Pascal, BASIC, and Scheme and the compiler produces code for the MC68020 microprocessor.

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Portland, Oregon, United States
I'm usually writing from my favorite location on the planet, the pacific northwest of the u.s. I write for myself only and unless otherwise specified my posts here should not be taken as representing an official position of my employer. Contact me at my gee mail account, username patrickdlogan.