CS 496 - Compiler Design

Spring 2008

David Hovemeyer
Office / Phone
GH 118 / 717-815-6582
Office Hours
M-F 11-12
or by arrangement
Class Location
GH 123
Class Times T/Th 12:30 - 1:45 PM

Course Description

This course covers the theory and practice of compiler implementation.  Topics include lexical analysis, parsing, symbol table management, type checking, intermediate representations, code generation, and code optimization.  In a sequence of projects, students will implement a compiler for a simple procedural programming language.


CS 340


Aho, Lam, Sethi, and Ullman: Compilers: Principles, Techniques, and Tools (2nd ed.)

Course Structure and Expectations

Course meetings will be primarily lecture and discussion, with occasional lab activities.

In a semester-long series of projects, you will implement a compiler for a simple procedural programming language.

Two midterm exams will be given.  A scheduled final exam will be given; see the Final Exam Schedule.

Learning Objectives

By the end of the course, you will be able to:



Grades are assigned on a 100-point scale:

Numeric Range
Letter Grade
A (4.0)
B+ (3.5)
B (3.0)
C+ (2.5)
C (2.0)
D (1.0)
F (0.0)

Your overall grade for the course will be determined as follows:

Course website

Please check the course web page, http://faculty.ycp.edu/~dhovemey/spring2008/cs496/, regularly for important announcements.

Posting and submission of assignments and labs

Assignments and labs will be posted as zip files on the course web page, http://faculty.ycp.edu/~dhovemey/spring2008/cs496/.

Assignments will be submitted using the server https://camel.ycp.edu:8443.  You will receive an email containing the username and password you should use for this server.

Academic Integrity

The following policy pertains to homework and graded (individual) programming assignments:

All homework assignments and graded (individual) programming assignments are to be completed individually.  I encourage you to discuss high level concepts with other students, but any work you submit must be yours alone.

Direct copying of code or other work from other students, web sites, or other sources is absolutely forbidden under any circumstances.

Any sources (books, websites, articles, fellow students, etc.) that you consult in completing an assignment must be properly acknowledged.  In general, I strongly discourage you from using any resource not explicitly listed in the course syllabus or on the course web page.  When you work on a programming assignment, it must be your program, not your adaptation of someone else's program.

Quizzes and exams must be completed individually.

Lab assignments are not graded---therefore, you may work with other students on them.

Any violation of the course's academic integrity policy will be referred to the Dean of Academic Affairs, and could have consequences ranging from a 0 on an assignment to dismissal from the college.

Late Assignments

Late assignments will be marked down 5% per day late.  No credit is given for assignments turned in after grading has taken place.


No make-up exams will be given without approval of the instructor prior to class unless proof of extreme emergency or illness is provided.

Attendance and Participation

I expect you to attend class and participate regularly in class discussions.  If you miss a class, please notify me in advance.  You are responsible for all material covered in class, regardless of whether or not you were present.  If you attend and participate in class regularly, you can expect to receive full credit (5% of the course grade) for attendance and participation.  Frequent absence and/or lack of participation in class discussions will reduce the credit you receive for attendance and participation.

You are responsible for keeping up with the reading assignments as described in the schedule below.

Communication Standards

York College recognizes the importance of effective communication in all disciplines and careers. Therefore, students are expected to competently analyze, synthesize, organize, and articulate course material in papers, examinations and presentations. In addition, students should know and use communication skills current to their field of study, recognize the need for revision as part of their writing process, and employ standard conventions of English usage in both writing and speaking. Students may be asked to further revise assignments that do not demonstrate effective use of these communication skills.


This schedule may be subject to minor changes.  Any changes will be announced in class and also be posted on the course web page.

Week 1: Jan 21-Jan 24 No class Tuesday
Introduction Sect 1.1-1.6
Week 2: Jan 28-Feb 1 Overview of compilation Sect 2.1-2.8
Week 3: Feb 4-Feb 8 Lexical Analysis
Lexical analyzer generators
Sect 3.1-3.7
Week 4: Feb 11-Feb 15 Parsing, Context-free grammars Sect 4.1-4.3
Week 5: Feb 18-Feb 22 Top-down parsing
Sect 4.4
Feb 25-Feb 29 Winter break, no classes
Week 6: Mar 3-Mar 7 Bottom-up parsing Sect 4.5-4.7
Week 7: Mar 10-Mar 14 Parser generators Sect 4.8-4.9
Week 8: Mar 17-Mar 21 No class Thursday Intermediate representations Sect 6.1-6.2
Mar 20-Mar 24 Spring break, no classes
Week 9: Mar 24-Mar 28 Intermediate code generation Sect 6.3-6.5
Week 10: Mar 31-Apr 4 Intermediate code generation (cont'd) Sect 6.6-6.9
Week 11: Apr 7-Apr 11 Low-level code generation overview Sect 8.1-8.3
Week 12: Apr 14-Apr 18 Basic blocks, control-flow graphs, local optimization Sect 8.4-8.5
Week 13: Apr 21-Apr 25 Code generation, peephole optimization Sect 8.6-8.7
Week 14: Apr 28-May 2 Advanced optimization, dataflow analysis Sect 9.1-9.2
Week 15: May 5-May 9 Course wrap-up