Efficient Dynamic Dispatch without Virtual Function Tables. The SmallEiffel Compiler.

Olivier Zendra 1, * Dominique Colnet 1 Suzanne Collin 2
* Corresponding author
1 ECOO - Environment for cooperation
INRIA Lorraine, LORIA - Laboratoire Lorrain de Recherche en Informatique et ses Applications
Abstract : SmallEiffel is an Eiffel compiler which uses a fast simple type inference mechanism to remove most late binding calls, replacing them by static bindings. Starting from the system's entry point, it compiles only statically living code, which saves compiling and then removing dead code.As the whole system is analyzed at compile time, multiple inheritance and genericity do not cause any overhead. SmallEiffel features a coding scheme which eliminates the need for virtual function tables. Dynamic dispatch is implemented without any array access but uses a simple static binary branch code. We show that this implementation makes it possible to use modern hardware very efficiently. It also allows us to inline more calls even when dynamic dispatch is required. Some more dispatch sites are removed after the type inference algorithm has been performed, if the different branches of a dispatch site lead to the same code. The advantage of this approach is that it greatly speeds up execution time and considerably decreases the amount of generated code.
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Olivier Zendra, Dominique Colnet, Suzanne Collin. Efficient Dynamic Dispatch without Virtual Function Tables. The SmallEiffel Compiler.. 12th Annual ACM SIGPLAN Conference on Object-Oriented Programming Systems, Languages and Applications (OOPSLA'97), ACM SIGPLAN, Oct 1997, Atlanta, United States. pp.125--141. ⟨inria-00565627⟩

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