Re: Compiler Construction Kits

Jacobs Ceriel JH <>
Fri, 17 Aug 90 16:35:41 GMT

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Newsgroups: comp.compilers
From: Jacobs Ceriel JH <>
Keywords: ACK, report
Organization: Compilers Central
References: <>
Date: Fri, 17 Aug 90 16:35:41 GMT

Here is an ACK information sheet:

                                AMSTERDAM COMPILER KIT (ACK) INFORMATION SHEET


          The Amsterdam Compiler Kit is an integrated collection of programs
designed to simplify the task of producing portable (cross) compilers and
interpreters. For each language to be compiled, a program (called a front
end) must be written to translate the source program into a common intermedi-
ate code. This intermediate code can be optimized and then either directly
interpreted or translated to the assembly language of the desired target

          The current version contains front-ends for Modula-2, C, Pascal, Basic,
and occam, and back-ends for a.o. DEC PDP-11, DEC VAX, Motorola 68000,
Motorola M68020, Intel 8080, Intel 8086, Zilog Z80, Zilog Z8000, NS 16032.
Also included are a parser generator called LLgen, a code-generator-generator
(the code-generators are table-driven), a peephole optimizer on the intermedi-
ate code, a global optimizer on the intermediate code, table-driven machine-
dependent peephole optimizers, and many other utilities.


          ACK runs on the UNIX operating system. It has been tested on VAXen, SUN
workstations, PDP-11's, AT-compatibles running Microsoft Xenix, and on a 68000
system running UNIX System V.0, and it is expected to run on any decent UNIX

          However, ACK does not produce binaries for systems it does not know
about. Producing binaries for a new machine involves

- writing a back-end table for the processor (if not done already). This
          may take 2-3 months.

- writing the machine-dependent part of an assembler for the processor (if
          not done already). This may take a couple of days.

- writing a system-call interface. This may again take a couple of days.

- writing a conversion program, converting the machine-independent object
          format that ACK produces into a binary for the machine at hand.


          ACK is available from 2 companies:

                Mr. Mark Krieger
                Unipress Software
                2025 Lincoln Highway
                Edison NJ 08817
tel: +1 201 985 8000
fax: +1 201 287 4929

                Mr. Jossi Gil
                Transmediair Utrecht BV
                Melkweg 3
                3721 RG Bilthoven
                The Netherlands
tel: +31 30 281820

There is a large discount for educational institutions.


          References[Tan83a, Tan83b] give an overview of ACK. The intermediate
code is described in detail in [Tan83c]. The optimizers are described in
[Tan82, Bal85, Bal86]. The parser generator is described in [Jac85, Gru88].
Other ACK programs are described in [Tan84], but this is out of print.


Bal85. H.E. Bal, "The Design and Implementation of the EM Global Optimizer,"
                  Rapport IR-99, Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam (March 1985).
Bal86. H.E. Bal and A.S. Tanenbaum, "Language- and Machine-independent Glo-
                  bal Optimization on Intermediate Code," Computer Languages, Vol. 11,
                  (2) pp. 105-121 (April 1986).
Gru88. D. Grune and C.J.H. Jacobs, "A Programmer-friendly LL(1) Parser Gen-
                  erator," Software - Practice and Experience, Vol. 18, (1) pp. 29-38
                  (January 1988).
Jac85. C.J.H. Jacobs, "Some Topics in Parser Generation," Rapport IR-105,
                  Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam (October 1985).
Tan82. A.S. Tanenbaum, H. van Staveren, and J.W. Stevenson, "Using Peephole
                  Optimization on Intermediate Code," TOPLAS, Vol. 4, (1) pp. 21-36
                  (January 1982).
Tan83a. A.S. Tanenbaum, H. van Staveren, E.G. Keizer, and J.W. Stevenson, "A
                  Practical Toolkit for Making Portable Compilers," CACM, Vol. 26,
                  (9) pp. 654-660 (September 1983).
Tan83b. A.S. Tanenbaum, H. van Staveren, E.G. Keizer, and J.W. Stevenson, "A
                  Unix Toolkit for Making Portable Compilers," Proceedings USENIX
                  conf., Vol. 26, pp. 255-261 (July 1983).
Tan83c. A.S. Tanenbaum, H. van Staveren, E.G. Keizer, and J.W. Stevenson,
                  "Description of a machine architecture for use with block structured
                  languages," Rapport nr IR-81, Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam (August
Tan84. A.S. Tanenbaum et al., "Amsterdam Compiler Kit documentation," Rap-
                  port nr IR-90, Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam (June 1984).

Ceriel Jacobs, Dept. of Mathematics and Computer Science, Vrije Universiteit,
De Boelelaan 1081, 1081 HV Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Voice: +31 20 5485577 Email:

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