; d i g i t a l; The Western Research Laboratory (WRL) is a computer systems research group that
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; Western Research Laboratory 100 Hamilton Avenue Palo Alto, California 94301 USA; Massachusetts (CRL).
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One way to make compilers portable is to have them compile to an intermediate language which is implemented on multiple architectures. By using C as the intermediate language and compiling the LISP dialect Scheme to it, it might be possible to achieve the following benefits. First, since C is the lingua franca of workstations the resulting system should be very portable. Second, it should allow Scheme programs to interact with those written in other languages. Finally, it should simplify the compiler as it need not repeat the optimization capability available in the C compiler. However, there might be some unacceptable costs associated with this. First, there might not be a clean translation from Scheme to C, so that the implementation is not quite Scheme. Second, the two-stage translation might result in inefficient code. Finally, the generated code might be so stylized that it is neither portable nor compatible with other programming languages. To investigate these issues, such a compiler and run-time system were constructed at Digital Equipment Corporation's Western Reaearch Laboratory. Experience with the system shows, that there is a translation of Scheme to C, that has good performance, and is portable.