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Implementing Typed Intermediate Languages

Last modified: Tue Mar 14 19:30:25 2000 GMT.


Zhong Shao
Christopher League
Stefan Monnier


Recent advances in compiler technology have demonstrated the benefits of using strongly typed intermediate languages to compile richly typed source languages (e.g., ML). A type-preserving compiler can use types to guide advanced optimizations and to help generate provably secure mobile code. Types, unfortunately, are very hard to represent and manipulate efficiently; a naive implementation can easily add exponential overhead to the compilation and execution of a program. This paper describes our experience with implementing the FLINT typed intermediate language in the SML/NJ production compiler. We observe that a type-preserving compiler will not scale to handle large types unless all of its type-preserving stages preserve the asymptotic time and space usage in representing and manipulating types. We present a series of novel techniques for achieving this property and give empirical evidence of their effectiveness.


In Proc. 1998 ACM SIGPLAN International Conference on Functional Programming (ICFP'98), Baltimore, Maryland, pages 313-323, September 1998. ©1998 ACM.


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