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Typed Cross-Module Compilation

Last modified: Tue Mar 14 19:34:00 2000 GMT.


Zhong Shao


Higher-order modules are very effective in structuring large programs and defining generic, reusable software components. Unfortunately, many compilation techniques for the core languages do not work across the module boundaries. As a result, few optimizing compilers support these module facilities well.

This paper exploits the semantic property of ML-style modules to support efficient cross-module compilation. More specifically, we present a type-directed translation of the MacQueen-Tofte higher-order modules into a predicative variant of the polymorphic lambda calculus (Fomega). Because modules can be compiled in the same way as ordinary polymorphic functions, standard type-based optimizations such as representation analysis immediately carry over to the module languages.

We further show that the full-transparency property of the MacQueen-Tofte system yields a near optimal cross-module compilation framework. By propagating various static information through the module boundaries, many static program analyses for the core languages can be extended to work across higher-order modules.


  • In Proc. 1998 ACM SIGPLAN International Conference on Functional Programming (ICFP'98), Baltimore, Maryland, pages 141-152, September 1998. ©1998 ACM.
  • Technical Report YALEU/DCS/TR-1126, Department of Computer Science, Yale University, April 1997, revised June 1998.

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