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Extending the power of automatic constraint-based partial evaluators

L. Lafave, J. P. Gallagher, Extending the power of automatic constraint-based partial evaluators. ACM Computing Surveys, 30 (3es). ISSN 0360-0300, pp. 1–4. September 1998. No electronic version available. External information


In the control of automatic program specialisers, there has always been a tradeoff between precision and termination. What is necessary to extend the power of automatic partial evaluation? We compare two frameworks for partial evaluation: constraint-based partial evaluation, and generalized partial computation. Both techniques incorporate advanced information propagation. Using theorem proving, generalized partial computation achieves greater specialisation than constraint-based partial evaluation, but the constraint-based approach has a defined procedure for control of the algorithm. We examine the differences between the two techniques, in light of a particularly difficult specialisation problem, McCarthy's 91-function, and identify features which may lead to the eventual development of a powerful, automatic partial evaluator.

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