Re: Academic references on interpreters

Neelakantan Krishnaswami <>
24 May 2004 00:23:16 -0400

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Academic references on interpreters (2004-05-16)
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Re: Academic references on interpreters (2004-05-24)
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From: Neelakantan Krishnaswami <>
Newsgroups: comp.compilers
Date: 24 May 2004 00:23:16 -0400
Organization: Carnegie Mellon Univ. -- Computer Science Dept.
References: 04-05-046
Keywords: interpreter
Posted-Date: 24 May 2004 00:23:16 EDT

  Glenn Rowe wrote:
> I was wondering if anyone knows of any academic (i.e. refereed
> journal papers or books) references on the writing of interpreters
> specifically (that is, NOT compilers). I'm mainly interested in
> interpreters for languages such as C++, Java or C#, but if anyone
> knows of *any* academic references on interpreters it would still be
> helpful.
> It seems that there must be something out there but I've been unable
> to find anything.

One paper I found very, very helpful was Xavier Leroy's tech report on
the implementation of the Caml light interpreter.


This is an extremely high-quality bytecode interpreter for a higher
order functional language, so much of the discussion should be easily
adapted to OO languages.

Anton Ertl has written a number of papers about interpretation,
with an special focus on how interpreters and real CPUs interact.


He's also written the vmgen program, which takes a virtual machine
description and generates an interpreter for it that uses a lot of
the techniques he describes.


Finally, if you are interested in the relationship between operational
semantics and virtual machines, Olivier Danvy wrote a paper "A
Functional Correspondence Between Evaluators and Abstract Machines",
which shows how to systematically transform recursive AST interpreters
into abstract machines.


Neel Krishnaswami

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