A functional correspondence between evaluators and abstract machines by Mads Sig Ager, Dariusz Biernacki, Olivier Danvy, and Jan Midtgaard, 2003.
We bridge the gap between functional evaluators and abstract machines for the lambda-calculus, using closure conversion, transformation into continuation-passing style, and defunctionalization of continuations.
We illustrate this bridge by deriving Krivine's abstract machine from an ordinary call-by-name evaluator and by deriving an ordinary call-by-value evaluator from Felleisen et al.'s CEK machine. The first derivation is strikingly simpler than what can be found in the literature. The second one is new. Together, they show that Krivine's abstract machine and the CEK machine correspond to the call-by-name and call-by-value facets of an ordinary evaluator for the lambda-calculus.
We then reveal the denotational content of Hannan and Miller's CLS machine and of Landin's SECD machine. We formally compare the corresponding evaluators and we illustrate some relative degrees of freedom in the design spaces of evaluators and of abstract machines for the lambda-calculus with computational effects.
I was surprized not to find this paper featured in a story on LtU, as it looks very important both from implementation and understanding points of view.
See also more recent paper by Dariusz Biernacki and Olivier Danvy: From Interpreter to Logic Engine by Defunctionalization, which applies similar ideas in context of Prolog-like language.
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