Implicitly Heterogeneous Multi-stage Programming
Previous work on semantics-based multi-stage programming (MSP) language design focused on homogeneous languages designs, where the generating and the generated languages are the same. Homogeneous designs simply add a hygienic quasi-quotation and evaluation mechanism to a base language. An apparent disadvantage of this approach is that the programmer is bound to both expressivity and performance characteristics of the base language. This paper proposes a practical means to show that this can be avoided by providing specialized translations from subsets of the base language to different target languages. This approach preserves the homogeneous "look" of multi-stage programs, and, more importantly, the static guarantees about the generated code. In addition, compared to an explicitly heterogeneous approach, it promotes reuse and systematic exploration of the performance characteristics of the target languages. To illustrate the proposed approach, we design and implement a translation to a subset of C suitable for numerical computation, and show that it preserves static typing. The translation is implemented, and evaluated with several benchmarks. The implementation is available in the online distribution of MetaOCaml.
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