Re: MESSing it all up
21 Feb 90 18:01:09 GMT

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MESSing it all up (1990-02-15)
Re: MESSing it all up (1990-02-21)
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Newsgroups: comp.compilers
Date: 21 Feb 90 18:01:09 GMT
References: <>
Organization: Carnegie-Mellon University, CS/RI

In article <> (Eugen Bacic) writes:
>Michael K. Gschwind writes:
>>Has anybody lately heard something about the MESS compiler generator or
>>does anybody have a mail address of either Peter Lee or Uwe Pleban?

Since the publication of my book, I have received over 60 requests for
information about MESS. (Most requests come by email, some by phone
or physical mail.) I try to reply to each query (in fact I have a
standard form letter reply now) -- please forgive me if your query was
somehow ignored.

>The book by Mr. Lee is excellent and worth the read, but with the
>sources being locked up somewhere it may be better to contact one of
>Robert W. Gray, Vincent P. Heuring, Steven P. Krane, Anthony M. Sloane
>or William M. Waite at (303) 492-5043.
>They have an interesting product called ELI: a compiler construction

Thank you for the kind word about my book. The MESS system described
in my book was developed as part of my Ph.D. thesis work. Though
written mostly in Scheme, substantial portions were written in Pascal
and Prolog. The system is not very portable, and there are some ugly
bugs. The bottom line is that I have been too embarrassed to
distribute this version of MESS, except to a few close colleagues.

Uwe Pleban and I have been planning a new "Son of MESS" for several
years now. This system will be an extension of the Standard ML of New
Jersey compiler, and when finished we hope to distribute it. Until
this new MESS is available, I think that your suggestion about looking
into ELI (or comparable systems) is a good one.

It is important to note that there is not really anything "magical" in
MESS. MESS is simply a syntax-directed-transducer generator which
uses Standard ML as the semantic metalanguage. Of course, MESS also
provides a number of nice user-interface features, such as domain
checking between phases, support for table-driven code generation,
etc. But what is really important (and the point I tried to make in
my book) is that such systems should be used with *high-level semantic
descriptions*, which are split into what I call "microsemantics" and
"macrosemantics". When this is done, I claim that "realistic"
compilers can be automatically generated. This methodology can be
used with ELI and many other systems. The only advantage that MESS
would have over these systems is that it *enforces* the proper use of
high-level semantics.

>ps: Maybe this'll rouse either Mr. Lee or Mr. Pleban to answer, eh? ;-)

Yup -- you got me...

Peter Lee
School of Computer Science
Carnegie Mellon University
Pittsburgh, PA 15213
Phone: (412) 268-3049

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