Using C as a Compiler Target Language for Native Code Generation in Persistent Systems

S.J. Bushell, A. Dearle, A.L. Brown & F.A. Vaughan

Department of Computer Science
University of Adelaide
South Australia, 5005

email: jsam, al, fred, francis@cs.adelaide.edu.au


Persistent programming languages exhibit several requirements that affect the generation of native code, namely: garbage collection; arbitrary persistence of code, data and processes; dynamic binding; and the introduction of new code into a running system. The problems of garbage collection are not unique to persistent systems and are well understood: both code and data may move during a computation if a compacting collector is employed. However, the problems of garbage collection are exacerbated in persistent systems which must support garbage collection of both RAM resident and disk resident data. Some persistent systems support a single integrated environment in which the compiled code and data is manipulated in a uniform manner, necessitating that compiled code be stored in the object store. Furthermore, some systems assume that the entire state of a running program is resident in a persistent store; in these systems it may be necessary to preserve the state of a program at an arbitrary point in its execution and resume it later. Persistent systems must support some dynamic binding in order to accommodate change. Thus code must be capable of binding to arbitrary data at a variety of times. This introduces the additional complexity that code must be able to call code contained in the persistent store produced by another compilation. In this paper native code generation techniques using C as a target language for persistent languages are presented. The techniques described solve all of the problems described above. They may therefore be applied to any language with these or a subset of these features.

Converted to HTML 18 October 1995 by Sam Bushell, jsam@cs.adelaide.edu.au, with some assistance from rtftohtml.