Typed Common Intermediate Format
Last modified: Tue Mar 14 19:34:22 2000 GMT.
Application languages are very effective in solving specific software problems. Unfortunately, they pose great challenges to reliable and efficient implementations. In fact, most existing application languages are slow, interpreted, and have poor interoperability with general-purpose languages.
This paper presents a framework for building a high quality systems environment for multiple advanced languages. Our key innovation is the use of a common typed intermediate language, named FLINT, to model the semantics and interactions of various language-specific features. FLINT is based on a predicative variant of the Girard-Reynolds polymorphic calculus F-omega, extended with a very rich set of primitive types and functions.
FLINT provides a common compiler infrastructure that can be quickly adapted to generate compilers for new general-purpose and domain-specific languages. With its single unified type system, FLINT serves as a great platform for reasoning about cross-language inter-operations. FLINT types act as a glue to connect language features that complicate interoperability, such as mixed data representations, multiple function calling conventions, and different memory management protocols. In addition, because all runtime representations are determined by FLINT types, languages compiled under FLINT can share the same system-wide garbage collector and foreign function call interface.
In 1997 USENIX Conference on Domain-Specific Languages, Santa Barbara, California, October 1997.
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