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Module Specifications..

Current Academic Year 2023 - 2024

Please note that this information is subject to change.

Module Title Compiler Construction
Module Code CA4003
School School of Computing
Module Co-ordinatorSemester 1: David Sinclair
Semester 2: David Sinclair
Autumn: David Sinclair
Module TeachersDavid Sinclair
NFQ level 8 Credit Rating 7.5
Pre-requisite None
Co-requisite None
Compatibles None
Incompatibles None

This module aims to: • give students a comprehensive understanding of the techniques used in compilers; • give an overview of the phases of a compiler; • study lexical analysis, syntax analysis and semantic analysis in detail; • give an overview of the run-time environments used to support the compilation process; and • study intermediate code generation, optimization techniques, object code generation and register allocation in detail.

Learning Outcomes

1. Explain the function of the different phases of a compiler.
2. Apply the techniques used in lexical analysis.
3. Develop a lexical analyser.
4. Use algorithms for top-down and bottom-up parsing.
5. Develop a parser.
6. Apply the techniques used in semantic analysis.
7. Describe the different run-time environments used in the back-end of a compiler.
8. Apply techniques for intermediate code generation.
9. Use different techniques for the optimization of intermediate code.
10. Apply techniques for the generation of object coed from intermediate code.
11. Perform register allocation for object code.
12. Develop the back-end of a compiler.

Workload Full-time hours per semester
Type Hours Description
Assignment Completion30Assignments
Independent Study121Independent Study
Total Workload: 187

All module information is indicative and subject to change. For further information,students are advised to refer to the University's Marks and Standards and Programme Specific Regulations at: http://www.dcu.ie/registry/examinations/index.shtml

Indicative Content and Learning Activities

Structure of a compiler.

Lexical Analysis.

Syntax Analysis
Top-down and bottom-up parsing.

Semantic Analysis
Abstract syntax tree and the visitor pattern.

Intermediate code generation

Intermediate code optimisation

Object code generation

Register allocation

Assessment Breakdown
Continuous Assessment30% Examination Weight70%
Course Work Breakdown
TypeDescription% of totalAssessment Date
AssignmentCompiler Front-end: Lexical and Syntax Analysis.15%Week 8
AssignmentCompiler Back-end: Semantic Analysis and generating intermediate code15%Sem 1 End
Reassessment Requirement Type
Resit arrangements are explained by the following categories;
1 = A resit is available for all components of the module
2 = No resit is available for 100% continuous assessment module
3 = No resit is available for the continuous assessment component
This module is category 1
Indicative Reading List

  • A.W. Appel: 2002, Modern Compiler Implementation in Java, 2nd, Cambridge University Press, 0-521-82060-X
  • • A.V.Aho, M.S. Lam, R. Sethi and J.D. Ullman: 2007, Compilers: Principles, Techniques and Tools, 2nd, Person, 978-0-321-49169-5
  • Tom Copeland: 2007, Generating Parsers with JavaCC, 2nd, Centennial Books, 0-9762214-3-8
Other Resources

Programme or List of Programmes
CASEBSc in Computer Applications (Sft.Eng.)
ECSAStudy Abroad (Engineering & Computing)
ECSAOStudy Abroad (Engineering & Computing)

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