Program Translation via Abstraction and Reimplementation

Unknown author (1986-12-01)

Essentially all program translators (both source-to-source translators and compilers) operate via transliteration and refinement. This approach is fundamentally limited in the quality of the output it can produce. In particular, it tends to be insufficiently sensitive to global features of the source program and too sensitive to irrelevant local details. This paper presents the alternate translation paradigm of abstraction and reimplementation, which is one of the goals of the Programmer's Apprentice project. A translator has been constructed which translates Cobol programs into Hibol (a very high level, business data processing language). A compiler has been designed which generates extremely efficient PDP-11 object code for Pascal programs.