Computer Science Department
School of Computer Science, Carnegie Mellon University


Stack-Based Typed Assembly Language

Greg Morrisett, Karl Crary, David Walker, Neal Glew

November 1998

Also appears as Fox Memorandum CMU-CS-FOX-98-05

Keywords: Typed compilation, typed assembly language, certified code, polymorphic recursion, stacks

In previous work, we presented Typed Assembly Language (TAL). TAL is sufficiently expressive to serve as a target language for compilers of high-level languages such as ML. That work assumed such a compiler would perform a continuation-passing style transform and eliminate the control stack by heap-allocating activation records. However, most compilers are based on stack allocation. This paper presents STAL, an extension of TAL with stack constructs and stack types to support the stack allocation style. We show that STAL is sufficiently expressive to support languages such as Java, Pascal, and ML; constructs such as exceptions and displays; and optimizations such as tail call elimination and callee-saves registers. This paper also formalizes the typing connection between CPS-based compilation and stack-based compilation and illustrates how STAL can formally model calling conventions by specifying them as formal translations of source function types to STAL types.

32 pages

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