An experiment in mixed compilation/interpretation

Gough, John, Cifuentes, Christina, Corney, Diane, Hynd, John R., & Kolb, Peter (1992) An experiment in mixed compilation/interpretation. In 14th Australian Computer Science Conference, January 1992, Hobart, Tasmania.


One of the classic forms of intermediate representation used for communication between compiler front-ends and back-ends are those based on abstract stack machines. It is possible to compile the stack machine instructions into machine code by means of an interpretive code generator, or to simulate the stack machine at runtime using an interpreter. This paper describes an approach intermediate between these two extremes.

The front-end for a commercial Modula 2 compiler was ported to the "industry standard PC", and a partially compiling back-end written. The object code runs with the assistance of an interpreter, but may be linked with libraries which are fully compiled. The intent was to provide a programming environment on the PC which is identical to that of the same compilers on 32-bit UNIX machines. This objective has been met, and the compiler is available to educational institutions as free-ware.

The design basis of the new compiler is described, and the performance critically evaluated.

Impact and interest:

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ID Code: 30156
Item Type: Conference Paper
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: compilers, interpretive code generation, abstract stack machines
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > INFORMATION AND COMPUTING SCIENCES (080000) > COMPUTER SOFTWARE (080300) > Programming Languages (080308)
Divisions: Past > QUT Faculties & Divisions > Faculty of Science and Technology
Copyright Owner: Copyright 1992 [please consult the authors]
Deposited On: 02 Feb 2010 22:17
Last Modified: 10 Aug 2011 15:16

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