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Formal Compiler Implementation in a Logical Framework

Hickey, Jason and Nogin, Aleksey and Granicz, Adam and Aydemir, Brian (2003) Formal Compiler Implementation in a Logical Framework. California Institute of Technology , Pasadena, CA. (Unpublished)

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The task of designing and implementing a compiler can be a difficult and error-prone process. In this paper, we present a new approach based on the use of higher-order abstract syntax and term rewriting in a logical framework. All program transformations, from parsing to code generation, are cleanly isolated and specified as term rewrites. This has several advantages. The correctness of the compiler depends solely on a small set of rewrite rules that are written in the language of formal mathematics. In addition, the logical framework guarantees the preservation of scoping, and it automates many frequently-occurring tasks including substitution and rewriting strategies. As we show, compiler development in a logical framework can be easier than in a general-purpose language like ML, in part because of automation, and also because the framework provides extensive support for examination, validation, and debugging of the compiler transformations. The paper is organized around a case study, using the MetaPRL logical framework to compile an ML-like language to Intel x86 assembly. We also present a scoped formalization of x86 assembly in which all registers are immutable.

Item Type:Report or Paper (Technical Report)
Additional Information:© 2003 California Institute of Technology. Caltech Technical Report caltechCSTR:2003.002 April 29, 2003. This work was supported in part by the DoD Multidisciplinary University Research Initiative (MURI) program administered by the Office of Naval Research (ONR) under Grant N00014-01-1-0765, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the United States Air Force, the Lee Center, and by NSF Grant CCR 0204193.
Group:Computer Science Technical Reports
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Office of Naval Research (ONR)N00014-01-1-0765
Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA)UNSPECIFIED
United States Air ForceUNSPECIFIED
Caltech Lee Center for Advanced NetworkingUNSPECIFIED
Subject Keywords:formal, compiler, MetaPRL, M, Logical Framework
Record Number:CaltechCSTR:2003.002
Persistent URL:
Usage Policy:You are granted permission for individual, educational, research and non-commercial reproduction, distribution, display and performance of this work in any format.
ID Code:27063
Deposited By: Imported from CaltechCSTR
Deposited On:02 Jul 2003
Last Modified:03 Oct 2019 03:20

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