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I actually agree with you that SICP doesn't cover all of compiler construction; but that point didn't need to be made, because not even the book claims to be that.

What it is is a gateway drug to serious computing, including compiler construction.

However, let me just come back to your point that stack discipline is necessary for control structures and non-local transfer of control.

Well, that depends on the execution model of the machine, and I would say explicit stacks are a performance hack, made to model the mathematical concepts of closure and application.


Sorry, I had to remove my wordy examples explaining "Scope and Extent", and how they can be represented with environment pointers, and heap allocated activation records.

TODO: Point yet again to the "3 Implementations of Scheme" paper, Scheme being the cleanest Algol variant this side of modern computing.

Then I found this:


Well I think we both agree that SICP is a gateway drug to many good things. I routinely recommend it as the single best CS text. I don't recommend it as the single best compiler text, where I'd recommend the Dragon book or even Simon Peyton Jones's text, if that is more to your liking.

I was reacting to this statement you made, "Few chapters of a Lisp book will spare you volumes of traditional compiler construction techniques".

Yes, the Dragon text wasn't very much to my liking. You may be able to implement a C compiler with it. But nothing really interesting. And it's approach is rather pedestrian.

S. P. Jones' text was more interesting. I also like "Modern Compiler Design" (http://www.cs.vu.nl/~dick/MCD.html), which covers imperative/oop programs as well as logical and functional paradigms.

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