source: doc/theses/aaron_moss/phd/background.tex @ ce00317

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Last change on this file since ce00317 was ce00317, checked in by Aaron Moss <a3moss@…>, 3 years ago

Add history of CFA to thesis background

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1\chapter{Background}
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3\CFA{} adds a number of features to C, some of them providing significant increases to the expressive power of the language, but all designed to maintain the existing procedural programming paradigm of C and to be as orthogonal as possible with each other.
4To provide background for the contributions in subsequent chapters, this chapter provides a summary of the features of \CFA{} at the time this work was conducted.
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6The core design of \CFA{} is laid out in Glen Ditchfield's 1992 PhD thesis, \emph{Contextual Polymorphism}\cite{Ditchfield92}; in that thesis, Ditchfield lays out the theoretical underpinnings of the \CFA{} polymorphism model.
7Building on Ditchfield's design for contextual polymorphism as well as KW-C\cite{Buhr94a}, an earlier set of (largely syntactic) extensions to C, Richard Bilson\cite{Bilson03} built the first version of the \CFA{} compiler, \CFACC{}, in the early 2000's.
8This early \CFACC{} provided basic functionality, but incorporated a number of poor algorithmic choices due to a rushed implementation time frame, and as such lacked the runtime performance required for practical use; this thesis is substantially concerned with rectifying those deficits.
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10The \CFA{} project was revived in 2015 with the intention of building a production-ready language and compiler; at the time of this writing, both \CFA{} and \CFACC{} have been under active development continuously since.
11As this development has been proceeding concurrently with the work described in this thesis, the state of \CFA{} has been somewhat of a moving target; however, Moss~\etal\cite{Moss18} provides a reasonable summary of the current design of \CFA{}.
12Notable features added during this period include generic types[Chapter~\ref{generic-chap}], constructors and destructors\cite{Schluntz17}, improved support for tuples\cite{Schluntz17}, reference types\cite{Moss18}, first-class concurrent and parallel programming support\cite{Delisle18}, as well as numerous pieces of syntactic sugar and the start of an idiomatic standard library\cite{Moss18}.
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