Ignore:
Timestamp:
Apr 23, 2019, 3:41:51 PM (5 years ago)
Author:
Aaron Moss <a3moss@…>
Branches:
ADT, aaron-thesis, arm-eh, ast-experimental, cleanup-dtors, enum, forall-pointer-decay, jacob/cs343-translation, jenkins-sandbox, master, new-ast, new-ast-unique-expr, pthread-emulation, qualifiedEnum
Children:
3b40801b
Parents:
cf01d0b
Message:

thesis: integrate defence answers as clarifications into thesis

File:
1 edited

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  • doc/theses/aaron_moss_PhD/phd/introduction.tex

    rcf01d0b rc4b5486  
    11\chapter{Introduction}
    22
    3 The C programming language has had a wide-ranging impact on the design of software and programming languages.
    4 In the 30 years since its first standardization, it has consistently been one of the most popular programming languages, with billions of lines of C code still in active use, and tens of thousands of trained programmers producing it. The TIOBE index\cite{TIOBE} tracks popularity of programming languages over time, and C has never dropped below second place:
     3The C programming language~\cite{C11} has had a wide-ranging impact on the design of software and programming languages.
     4In the 30 years since its first standardization, it has consistently been one of the most popular programming languages, with billions of lines of C code still in active use, and tens of thousands of trained programmers producing it. The TIOBE index~\cite{TIOBE} tracks popularity of programming languages over time, and C has never dropped below second place:
    55
    66\begin{table}[h]
     
    1919
    2020The impact of C on programming language design is also obvious from Table~\ref{tiobe-table}; with the exception of Python, all of the top five languages use C-like syntax and control structures.
    21 \CC{} is even a largely backwards-compatible extension of C.
     21\CC{}~\cite{C++} is even a largely backwards-compatible extension of C.
    2222Though its lasting popularity and wide impact on programming language design point to the continued relevance of C, there is also widespread desire of programmers for languages with more expressive power and programmer-friendly features; accommodating both maintenance of legacy C code and development of the software of the future is a difficult task for a single programming language.
    2323
     
    3737\end{itemize}
    3838
    39 Though the direction and validation of this work is fairly narrowly focused on the \CFA{} programming language, the tools used and results obtained should be of interest to a wider compiler and programming language design community.
    40 In particular, with the addition of \emph{concepts} in \CCtwenty{} \cite{C++Concepts}, conforming \CC{} compilers must support a model of type assertions very similar to that in \CFA{}, and the algorithmic techniques used here may prove useful.
    41 Type environments are also widely modelled in compiler implementations, particularly for functional languages, though also increasingly commonly for other languages (such as Rust) which perform type inference; the type environment presented here may be useful to those language implementers.
     39The prototype system, which implements the algorithmic contributions of this thesis, is the first performant type-checker implementation for a \CFA{}-style type system.
     40As the existence of an efficient compiler is necessary for the practical viability of a programming language, the contributions of this thesis comprise a validation of the \CFA{} language design which was previously lacking.
     41
     42Though the direction and experimental validation of this work is fairly narrowly focused on the \CFA{} programming language, the tools used and results obtained should be of interest to a wider compiler and programming language design community.
     43In particular, with the addition of \emph{concepts} in \CCtwenty{}~\cite{C++Concepts}, conforming \CC{} compilers must support a model of type assertions very similar to that in \CFA{}, and the algorithmic techniques used here may prove useful.
     44Much of the difficulty of type-checking \CFA{} stems from the language design choice to allow type inference from the context of a function call in addition to its arguments; this feature allows the programmers to specify fewer redundant type annotations on functions which are polymorphic in their return type.
     45Java's diamond type-inference operator~\cite{Java-diamond} and the !auto! keyword in \CCeleven{} support similar but sharply restricted forms of this contextual inference -- the demonstration of the richer inference in \CFA{} raises possibilities for similar features in future versions of these languages.
     46Scala~\cite{Scala}, by contrast, already supports a similarly-powerful \emph{local type inference} model~\cite{Pierce00,Odersky01}, so the algorithmic techniques in this thesis may be effective for Scala compiler implementors.
     47Type environments are also widely modelled in compiler implementations, particularly for functional languages, though also increasingly commonly for other languages (such as Rust~\cite{Rust}) which perform type inference; the type environment presented here may be useful to those language implementors.
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