Fachbereich Informatik

Fachbereich Informatik - Aktuell


Talk by Shriram Krishnamurthi (Brown University)

on Monday, 18.03.2019, 11:00 in room B305.1

A Research Agenda for Syntactic Sugar

Syntactic sugar is pervasive in language technology. It is used to shrink the size of a core language; to define domain-specific languages; and even to let programmers extend their language. As a result, it is found in the heart of numerous programming languages. Despite its widespread use, it has received disproportionally little attention from the programming languages research community. This talk will lay out some interesting problems and preliminary solutions.

Because desugaring eliminates syntactic sugar, when a system provides feedback, it is in terms of a program that is unfamiliar to the authors. The cocept of *resugaring* shows how to lift core language features to present them in terms of the surface syntax. We have discuss how this principle applies to different language components, and what properties we expect resugaring to obey. Desugaring also significantly expands program source, making the output daunting to manage. We will examine situations where this expansion is not necessary, and methods to mitigate the effect. Finally, we will examine an interesting and challenging open problem in language semantics where desugaring features prominently.