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Re: The short distance between theory and practice

Thanks! Even in my pure theory days, I have always tried to develop 
theory with a connection to practice, either constrained by practice
(full abstraction) or motivated by practice (the expressiveness papers, 
the compilation papers). -- Matthias

At Sat, 25 May 2002 06:33:15 -0400 (EDT), Neel Krishnaswami wrote:
> This note is mostly just a public thank-you.
> I have been writing a bytecode interpreter for a language project of
> my own, and I had stalled at the point where I had a working tree-code
> interpreter and needed to learn out how to turn trees into linear
> bytecode. I made several failed attempts until I reread "The Essence
> of Compiling with Continuations", which Matthias Felleisen co-
> authored. At that point I finally grasped what people mean when they
> say that CPS (or A normal form, in this case) makes the order of
> evaluation explicit, and was able to write my bytecode emitter in
> short order.
> I was surprised yet again at the astonishingly short distance between
> language theory and the details of actual implementation.  There's
> never a shortage of talk about how CS theorists are out of touch with
> the needs of practical programmers, so I thought I'd toss out a
> thank-you for one of those cases where the opposite held true.
> -- 
> Neel Krishnaswami
> neelk@alum.mit.edu