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Conference on Domain-Specific Languages, 1997     [Technical Program]

Pp. 89–102 of the Proceedings

Typed Common Intermediate Format

Zhong Shao, Yale University


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 on building 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 Fomega, 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 interoperations. 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.

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NOTE: You are highly recommended to print and read the PostScript version of this paper instead.

Copyright (c) 1997, Zhong Shao, Dept. of Computer Science, Yale University

This paper was originally published in the Proceedings of the Conference on Domain-Specific Languages, October 15-17, 1997, Santa Barbara, California, USA
Last changed: 15 April 2002 aw
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