The effective use of implicit parallelism through the use of an object-oriented programming language

  • David Rann

    Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


    This thesis explores translating well-written sequential programs in a subset of the Eiffel programming language - without syntactic or semantic extensions - into parallelised programs for execution on a distributed architecture. The main focus is on constructing two object-oriented models: a theoretical self-contained model of concurrency which enables a simplified second model for implementing the compiling process. There is a further presentation of principles that, if followed, maximise the potential levels of parallelism.
    Model of Concurrency.
    The concurrency model is designed to be a straightforward target for mapping sequential programs onto, thus making them parallel. It aids the compilation process by providing a high level of abstraction, including a useful model of parallel behaviour which enables easy incorporation of message interchange, locking, and synchronization of objects. Further, the model is sufficient such that a compiler can and has been practically built.
    Model of Compilation.
    The compilation-model's structure is based upon an object-oriented view of grammar descriptions and capitalises on both a recursive-descent style of processing and abstract syntax trees to perform the parsing. A composite-object view with an attribute grammar style of processing is used to extract sufficient semantic information for the parallelisation (i.e. code-generation) phase.
    Programming Principles.
    The set of principles presented are based upon information hiding, sharing and containment of objects and the dividing up of methods on the basis of a command/query division. When followed, the level of potential parallelism within the presented concurrency model is maximised. Further, these principles naturally arise from good programming practice.
    In summary this thesis shows that it is possible to compile well-written programs, written in a subset of Eiffel, into parallel programs without any syntactic additions or semantic alterations to Eiffel: i.e. no parallel primitives are added, and the parallel program is modelled to execute with equivalent semantics to the sequential version. If the programming principles are followed, a parallelised program achieves the maximum level of potential parallelisation within the concurrency model.
    Date of AwardFeb 1996
    Original languageEnglish


    • compiler
    • prallelisation
    • deadlock
    • concurrent object machine

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