Re: Online compiler courses?

Stephen Horne <>
Tue, 01 Sep 2009 02:37:34 +0100

          From comp.compilers

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From: Stephen Horne <>
Newsgroups: comp.compilers
Date: Tue, 01 Sep 2009 02:37:34 +0100
References: 09-08-046 09-08-048 09-08-054
Keywords: courses
Posted-Date: 01 Sep 2009 23:40:14 EDT

On Sun, 30 Aug 2009 21:22:17 -0700 (PDT), Steve H <>

>As to other texts, I'm looking at Andrew Appel's book, and it's ok,
>but I think this kind of course is best suited for classroom sessions
>instead of self study, with lots of assignments to help the pedagogy.
>Just my opinion of course but writing a compiler I think takes a lot
>of hands on work, like engine building-- something that's best done by
>doing instead of reading through a Chilton or Haynes manual.

Many DIY mechanics learned there stuff from Haynes manual. Sure, they
did the work, referring to the manual - but that's not the same as
having a teacher talk at you and scribble on a black/whiteboard while
you sit there in a zombie-like state ;-)

Seriously though, there's a lot of good video lectures out there, and
I'm currently reviewing and improving my linear algebra using MIT
course videos, but compiler stuff seems neglected.

Sadly, even automata theory is hard to find - theres a substantial
automata theory course on youtube...

But unfortunately, it's in an Asian language - sounds a bit like
Hindi, but I can just barely count to three in Hindi, so don't trust
that guess. I've found a few short videos other than that, but not

For books, my recommendation is "Modern Compiler Design"...

I think a second edition is due soon, too. But - there's no Java. Oh -
and I didn't really get even LR parsing until I had read the free
download of "Parsing Techniques - A Practical Guide" too, but I think
that was just me being a bit dim.

MCD isn't strong on automata theory (I don't recall any
non-deterministic automata or epsilon transitions, for instance) but
is more focused on building working compilers. The introduction,
scanning and parsing is less than 200 pages. Attribute evaluation gets
another 80 pages or so. The rest (about 420 more pages, not including
appendices etc) is on processing intermediate code, memory management,
and a chapter each on handling imperative/object oriented, functional,
logic and parallel/distributed languages.

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