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COMP30142: Compilers (2009-2010)

This is an archived syllabus from 2009-2010

Level: 3
Credit rating: 10
Pre-requisites: COMP10020 or equivalent (e.g. CS1021 COMP10021 or MATH10111 or MATH10131 or MATH10212 or MATH10232 or MATH10662 or MATH10672)
Co-requisites: No Co-requisites
Duration: 11 weeks
Lectures: 22
Lecturers: Rizos Sakellariou
Course lecturer: Rizos Sakellariou

Additional staff: view all staff
Sem 2 w19-26,30-33 Lecture LF17 Thu 12:00 - 13:00 -
Sem 2 w19-26,30-33 Lecture LF17 Tue 12:00 - 13:00 -
Assessment Breakdown
Exam: 0%
Coursework: 0%
Lab: 0%
Degrees for which this unit is optional
  • Artificial Intelligence BSc (Hons)


Any program written in a programming language must be translated before it can be executed. This translation is typically accomplished by a software system called compiler. This module aims to introduce students to the principles and techniques used to perform this translation and the issues that arise in the construction of a compiler.

Learning Outcomes

A student successfully completing this module should be able to:

Understand the principles governing all phases of the compilation process. (A,B)
Understand the role of each of the basic components of a standard compiler. (A)
Have awareness of the problems of and methods and techniques applied to each phase of the compilation process. (A)
Apply standard techniques to solve basic problems that arise in compiler construction. (A,B)
Understand how the compiler can take advantage of particular processor characteristics to generate good code. (A,B)

Assessment of Learning outcomes

All learning outcomes are assessed by a 2-hour written examination.

Contribution to Programme Learning Outcomes

A2, A3, B1, B3 mainly. A5, C5, D6 to some extent.



What is a compiler? A high-level view of compilation. General structure of a compiler. An overview of compilation technology.

Lexical Analysis (Scanning)

Regular languages/expressions, finite state machines, building regular expressions from a finite automaton.

Syntax Analysis (Parsing)

Expressing Syntax, Context Free Grammars, Top-Down Parsing, Bottom-Up parsing.

Semantic Analysis

Context-sensitive analysis, Attribute Grammars, Symbol Tables, Type Checking.

Intermediate Representations

Properties, taxonomy, Graphical IRs, Linear IRs.

Storage Management

The Procedure Abstraction, Linkage convention, Run-time storage organisation.

Code Generation

Code Shape, Instruction Selection, Register Allocation, Instruction Scheduling.

Topics in Compiler Construction

Code Optimisation, JIT Compilation.