Date Awarded


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


Computer Science


Software tools are used to generate compilers automatically from formal descriptions of languages. Methods for specifying the syntax of languages are well-established and well-understood; however, methods for formal semantic specification are not. The method most commonly used for semantic specification is an attribute grammar.;This thesis examines an alternative method of semantic specification. TreeSem is defined as a Tree Manipulation Language applicable to semantic specification. A TreeSem program is easier to read and to write than a corresponding attribute grammar specification.;Algorithms for translation of a TreeSem program into an equivalent attribute grammar specification, and for translation of an attribute grammar specification into an equivalent Tree Sem program are presented. Proof of correctness of the algorithms is discussed. The dual translations show the theoretical "specification power" of TreeSem to be the same as that of attribute grammars. Also, since both translations are provided, the compiler writer is free to choose the semantic specification method he wishes to use. The appropriate translation can be applied to implement the compiler using the more efficiently interpreted method, as research continues to improve the executable efficiency of either method.



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