Published on 2 November 2019.
This is what I’ve been up to in October 2019:
I read Stack Computers: the new wave by Philip J. Koopman, Jr. I did not dig into details about the different computers, but the rest of the book gave me a good understanding stack computers.
I thought about how stack computers could support programming language features. In particular, I though about how they could support local variables. A calling convention could be used where function parameters are always put on the stack. If a function wants to, it can store those in a frame for later reference. But it does not have to. The compiler might also optimize away local variables in favor of pure stack operations.
I continued working on compiling expressions to x86 machine code. I did debugging with gdb and learned some useful commands. I managed to compile a subset of expressions down to x86 machine code. It was satisfying. I was helped by Adventures in JIT compilation: Part 4 - in Python.
I got an urge to do a rewrite of RLiterate to improve performance and fix bugs that make it annoying to use. I use RLiterate to write articles for my blog. I really like the features of it, but the poor performance makes it annoying to use. I had though of a slightly different architecture that would mitigate those problems. But it would require a complete rewrite. I have now successfully validated that the new architecture works better and I will continue to build the next version. You can see it here.
I worked on RLiterate in small chunks. First I did some work and published that version on my homepage. Then at a later time I did review of what I had done. Then I went through and fixed comments from review. This workflow has worked quite well. Having time between the two activities has allowed me to rest and reflect.
Because I got distracted with RLiterate, I did not make progress on the article about memoizing failures in RLMeta that I said I would hoped have finished by now. I have not abandoned my drafts though. Something more interesting got in between. I will get back to writing at some point.
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