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Section: Software

Keywords : partial evaluation, C language, run-time specialization.

Tempo - A Partial Evaluator for C

Participants : Charles Consel [ correspondent ] , Julia Lawall.

Tempo is a partial evaluator for C programs. It is an off-line specializer; it is divided into two phases: analysis and specialization.

The input to the analysis phase consists of a program and a description of which inputs will be known during specialization and which will be unknown. Based on this knowledge, dependency analyses propagate information about known and unknown values throughout the code and produce an annotated program, indicating how each program construct should be transformed during specialization. Because C is an imperative language including pointers, the analysis phase performs alias and side-effect analyses in addition to binding-time analyses. The accuracy of these analyses is targeted towards keeping track of known values across procedures, data structures, and pointers. Following the analysis phase, the specialization phase generates a specialized program based on the annotated program and the values of the known inputs. Tempo can specialize programs at compile time (i.e., source-to-source transformation) as well as run time (i.e., run-time binary code generation).

The Tempo specializer has been applied in various domains such as operating systems and networking, computer graphics, scientific computation, software engineering and domain specific languages. It has been made publicly available since April 1998. Its documentation is available on line, as well as tutorial slides.


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