An improved tool for automated compiler construction

  • Michael A.B. Parkes

    Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


    Since the advent of High Level Programming languages (HLPLs) in the early 1950s researchers have sought ways to automate the construction of HLPL compilers. To this end a variety of Translator Writing Tools (TWTs) have been developed in the last three decades. However, only a very few of these tools have gained significant commercial acceptance. This thesis re-examines traditional compiler construction techniques, along with a number of previous TWTs, and proposes a new improved tool for automated compiler construction called the Aston Compiler Constructor (ACC). This new tool allows the specification of complete compilation systems using a high level compiler oriented specification notation called the Compiler Construction Language (CCL). This specification notation is based on a modern variant of Backus Naur Form (BNF) and an extended variant of Attribute Grammars (AGs). The implementation and processing of the CCL is discussed along with an extensive CCL example. The CCL is shown to have an extensive expressive power, to be convenient in use, and highly readable, and thus a superior alternative to earlier TWTs, and to traditional compiler construction techniques. The execution performance of CCL specifications is evaluated and shown to be acceptable. A number of related areas are also addressed, including tools for the rapid construction of individual compiler components, and tools for the construction of compilation systems for multiprocessor operating systems and hardware. This latter area is expected to become of particular interest in future years due to the anticipated increased use of multiprocessor architectures.
    Date of AwardFeb 1989
    Original languageEnglish
    SupervisorEdward F Elsworth (Supervisor)


    • compilation
    • syntax analysis
    • attribute grammars
    • code generation
    • translator writing tools

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