Re: Reduced Instruction Set Languages (Stavros Macrakis)
Wed, 13 May 1992 22:38:42 GMT

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Newsgroups: comp.compilers,comp.lang.misc
From: (Stavros Macrakis)
Keywords: design
Organization: OSF Research Institute
References: 92-05-068
Date: Wed, 13 May 1992 22:38:42 GMT writes:

      Does anyone out there have a reference to reduced instruction set
      languages, i.e. HLLs with a simplified set of language primitives.

Some languages have more or less `minimal' sets of primitives. Two that
come to mind are CIP L (cf. "Programming in a Wide Spectrum Language",
Science of Comp.Prog. 1:1-2 (Oct 81)) and Scheme. Both have had rather
extensive formal work done around them.

      Modula-3, with its 50-page language reference manual, would be an

Beware of comparing languages by the size of their reference manuals! It
is easy to write concise manuals if you elide detail. The original
manuals for C, Pascal, and Green (the proposal version of Ada) were very
concise. But in all three cases, the official documents (ANSI C, ISO
Pascal, MIL-STD Ada) are quite voluminous, and mostly because descriptions
(especially of interactions and errors) are more precise, not because more
features were added.

Other useful tricks for making languages and language manuals smaller are:
offload semantics into libraries (cf. longjmp or pthreads in C, almost
everything in Forth); assume a specific machine model and don't address
portability issues; offload semantics into the environment (e.g. consider
linking to be outside the scope of the language).



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