teaching compiler design: languages and texts

"Saumya K. Debray" <debray@skinner.cs.uoregon.edu>
Mon, 11 Jan 1993 20:15:57 GMT

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Related articles
Compiler Construction in Ada jipping@cs.hope.edu (1993-01-07)
Re: Compiler Construction in Ada mfeldman@seas.gwu.edu (1993-01-10)
teaching compiler design: languages and texts debray@skinner.cs.uoregon.edu (Saumya K. Debray) (1993-01-11)
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Newsgroups: comp.compilers
From: "Saumya K. Debray" <debray@skinner.cs.uoregon.edu>
Organization: Compilers Central
Date: Mon, 11 Jan 1993 20:15:57 GMT
References: 93-01-028 93-01-057
Keywords: courses

mfeldman@seas.gwu.edu (Michael B. Feldman) writes:
> Fischer/LeBlanc is the only compiler book acknowledging Ada as a suitable
> language in which to write a compiler.
> [...]
> In my opinion, your professor did you a disservice by requiring a book
> that (1) used Ada as the language of discourse and (b) focused on
> hand-coding a compiler, then gave you a project in which you used
> lex/yacc/C to do the actual work. That caused too much "dissonance" ...

I'm not sure why, once students have understood the algorithms involved,
the particular language used to implement them should be an issue: it
should be a straightforward matter of coding, no? (OK, I can see that
some conceptual hurdles might be encountered if the implementation
language were massively-parallel object-oriented neural nets or whatever,
something truly weird, but come on, Pascal/C/Ada are all pretty much in
the traditional imperative language family.) If computer science students
advanced enough to be taking compiler design courses are having trouble
reading algorithms in Ada and then implementing them in C, I'd be
concerned less about their compiler design text than about the foundations
of their CS education.

Saumya Debray
CS Dept, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ 85721
[temporarily at: CIS Dept, University of Oregon, Eugene, OR 97403]

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