We describe a system that supports source-level integration of ML-like functional language code with ANSI C or Ada83 code. The system works by translating the functional code into type-correct, ‘vanilla’ C or Ada; it offers simple, efficient, type-safe inter-operation between new functional code components and ‘legacy’ third-generation-language components. Our translator represents a novel synthesis of techniques including user-parameterized specification of primitive types and operators; removal of polymorphism by code specialization; removal of higher-order functions using closure datatypes and interpretation; and aggressive optimization of the resulting first-order code, which can be viewed as encoding the result of a closure analysis. Programs remain fully typed at every stage of the translation process, using only simple, standard type systems. Target code runs at speeds comparable to the output of current optimizing ML compilers, even though handicapped by a conservative garbage collector.
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