A term for a language

Paul Robinson <PAUL@TDR.COM>
Sun, 20 Feb 1994 04:09:02 GMT

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What's the word for... tjj@netnews.summit.novell.com (1994-02-16)
A term for a language PAUL@TDR.COM (Paul Robinson) (1994-02-20)
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Newsgroups: comp.compilers
From: Paul Robinson <PAUL@TDR.COM>
Keywords: theory
Organization: Tansin A. Darcos & Company, Silver Spring, MD USA
References: 94-02-106
Date: Sun, 20 Feb 1994 04:09:02 GMT

> Can someone please tell me what the word is for a language which
> can be written in itself?

How about two words: self-compiling.

(How about if I call a hypenated word one word and sneak it in? :))

That's the only term I've ever heard. The AAEC Pascal Compiler for the
IBM 370 series mainframes is written in Pascal except for a run-time
library which is written in assembler. The same run-time library is used
for both the compiler and for programs written to run under it. The
documentation states that the compiler - which is a 7000 line program
written in Pascal - is "self-compiling."

I have, in fact (in batch on a 370 running OS/VS2), passed the source of
the compiler through itself in order to generate a listing of the program
with pagination and formatting, as well as the features the compiler does,
such as counting nesting levels.

The documentation for the National Bureau of Standards Pascal Compiler for
the Digital PDP-11 architecture, states that on a 64K PDP-11 the program
is "not self-compilable" because it requires a "whopping 128K" to compile
itself. (This was the standard of "whopping" amounts of memory in 1978 or
so.) I can't even compile the program, modified for Turbo Pascal 6.0, on
an 80286 with 1 meg because of segmentation issues.

The Facilis (subset) Pascal Compiler states that because the compiler uses
dynamic pointers - which the subset compiler doesn't provide - "the
compiler is not self-compiling."

Three different compilers use the same term for the same reason.

Paul Robinson - Paul@TDR.COM

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