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Compiling with Continuations Paperback – Feb 12 2007
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"I recommend the book to language designers and implementors specializing in the functional paradigm." F.G. Pagan, Computing Reviews
This book shows how continuation-passing style is used as an intermediate representation on which to perform optimisations and program transformations. It will be essential reading for compiler writers in both industry and academe, as well as for students and researchers in programming language theory.
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It is clear, concise, well-written, and unusually approachable for its genre. That said, I recommend some familiarity with ML-family languages as a prerequisite for approaching the book. He does include an appendix that's supposed to explain ML, but there are plenty of subtleties that I would have easily missed if that were my only resource.
This book doesn't discuss the front end of the compiler at all--there is no discussion of lexical analysis, parsing or type inference. If that's what you're after, look elsewhere. This is text is limited to the back end of the compiler.
The biggest quibble that I have with it is that the code generation chapter used MIPS/MAX/SPARC/68020 for case studies. In today's climate, ARM/x86/LLVM would be far more relevant and practical. This is an unfortunate consequence of the age of the text.
Naturally, it would be nice to have an update that touches on control-flow analysis-based optimizations or provides more detailed backend examples using MLRISC or LLVM. But for the time it was written, this book has stood up remarkably well.
Read this book if you want to understand closures.
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