School of Computer Science

Module 06-02578 (2013)

Compilers & Languages

Level 3/H

Alan Sexton Semester 1 10 credits
Co-ordinator: Alan Sexton
Reviewer: Richard Dearden

The Module Description is a strict subset of this Syllabus Page.


The module describes the structure of a typical compiler. The phases of compilation, from the front end to analysis and code generation, as well as the main techniques used in each phase will be covered.


The aims of this module are to:

Give an overview of issues and techniques in compilation of high-level programming languages

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module, the student should be able to:

  1. Explain and apply the formalisms used in compiler construction, such as context-free grammars

  2. Perform the main analyses and transformations used in compilation

Cannot be taken with

  • 06-15255 - Compilers & Languages (Extended)

Teaching methods

2 hrs/week

Contact Hours:



  • Sessional: 1.5 hr examination (80%), continuous assessment (20%).
  • Supplementary (where allowed): 1.5 hr examination (100%).

Detailed Syllabus

  1. Introduction: phases of compilation

  2. Parsing

* Context-free grammars * Top-down parsing * Bottom-up parsing

  1. Compiler construction tools

  2. Data flow analysis

  3. Code generation

  4. Call stack and stack frames

* Contents and layout of stack frames * Static link and pointers into the stack

  1. Compilation of objects and classes

  2. Memory management

* Memory management with explicit deallocation * Garbage collection * Copying garbage collection

Programmes containing this module