Concrete vs Abstract Grammars

"Reid M. Pinchback" <reidmp@Athena.MIT.EDU>
Thu, 5 Aug 1993 16:08:32 GMT

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Concrete vs Abstract Grammars reidmp@Athena.MIT.EDU (Reid M. Pinchback) (1993-08-05)
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Newsgroups: comp.compilers
From: "Reid M. Pinchback" <reidmp@Athena.MIT.EDU>
Keywords: parse, theory, question
Organization: Compilers Central
Date: Thu, 5 Aug 1993 16:08:32 GMT

Does anybody have pointers to information on the formal characteristics
of concrete vs. abstract grammars? All I've ever run into in any of
the books I've examined is a rough off-the-cuff description of the
difference between concrete and abstract grammars. What I'd ideally
like to find is information like:

1. A formal definition of abstract grammar, or classes of such.
2. Theorems on the properties of abstract grammars, and the
      relations between properties of concrete grammars and
      properties of abstract grammars.
3. Algorithms to convert arbitrary concrete grammars into abstract
      grammars, and vice versa.

I find it particularly interesting that it is easy to find very formal
discussions of concrete grammars and parsing, and likewise easy to
find very formal discussions of various semantic approaches... but
hard to find formalisms on the abstract grammars that link the two
together. Kinda like making a strong building foundation, and a
well-constructed building, but putting the building on an marshy plot
of land instead of on the foundation you built. :-)

Reid M. Pinchback
Faculty Liaison
Academic Computing Services, MIT

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