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UBC Theses and Dissertations

A semantic representation for translation of high-level algorithmic languages Appelbe, William Frederick


Although new high-level programming languages continue to be proposed, major software development efforts are still devoted to developing translators for the current languages. As yet there is no clear methodology for designing and implementing translators; instead there are a large number of tools and techniques applicable to different aspects of translator development. This thesis proposes a new technique for structuring the development of translators for high-level algorithmic languages, based upon an intermediate graphical program representation called GRAIL. Using this approach, the semantic phase of the translator converts source language programs into a corresponding GRAIL representation, then subsequently into code for the target machine. The primary advantage of this approach is to simplify the task of developing translators for high-level algorithmic languages. GRAIL is designed to enable adaptable and efficient translators to be developed for a wide range of source languages. GRAIL was incorporated into a translator writing system, which was used to implement a translator for the programming language ASPLE. The ASPLE translator was highly adaptable, as both the syntax and semantics of ASPLE could be easily modified. The translator writing system demonstrated the feasibility of using GRAIL to implement adaptable translators, although the software used had limited capabilities.

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