Machine Descriptions to Build Tools for Embedded Systems
Because of poor
tools, developing embedded systems can be unnecessarily hard.
Machine descriptions based on register-transfer lists (RTLs) have
proven useful in building retargetable compilers, but
not in building other retargetable tools.
Simulators, assemblers, linkers, debuggers, and profilers are built by hand if at
descriptions have lacked the detail and precision needed to generate them.
This paper presents detailed and precise machine-description
techniques that are based on a new formalization of RTLs.
Unlike previous notations, these RTLs have a
detailed, unambiguous, and machine-independent semantics, which makes
them ideal for supporting automatic generation of
The paper also gives examples of Lambda-RTL, a notation that makes it possible for human
beings to read and write RTLs without becoming overwhelmed by
The paper is available as PostScript (410K).
There is a companion technical report that is
much more extensive, showing significant excerpts from actual machine