Re: Compilation Quotient (CQ): A Metric for the Compilation Hardness of Programming Languages

Jon Chesterfield <>
Mon, 10 Jun 2024 19:20:08 +0100

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From: Jon Chesterfield <>
Newsgroups: comp.compilers
Date: Mon, 10 Jun 2024 19:20:08 +0100
Organization: Compilers Central
References: 24-06-003
Injection-Info:; posting-host=""; logging-data="99152"; mail-complaints-to=""
Keywords: parse, practice
Posted-Date: 10 Jun 2024 16:42:51 EDT
In-Reply-To: 24-06-003

Curious paper, thank you.

The probability that a program generated by the grammar fails semantic
analysis does seem an interesting value. Estimating it by sampling from a
property based tester seems reasonable too.

I don't think this says anything meaningful about the experience of
programming in one of these as grammar and sema errors are both reported
early. It probably does indicate cases that a given language could detect
earlier by changing their grammar.

[I had two other thoughts. One was that you can tell C was written when
parsing was still hard enough that you didn't want to bulk the parsers
up with semantic stuff. The other was that in the languages where it is
hard to write a valid problem, how much more likely is it that the program
actually works once you get it to compile? -John]

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