xerox parc

xerox parc

Lecture4

1mo ago
SOURCE  

Description

In the 1984 POPL conference there appeared a paper, Efficient Implementation of the Smalltalk-80 System, by L Peter Deutsch and Allan Schiffman. This paper introduced the first truly modern just-in-time compiler and described several novel implementation techniques, still in widespread use, to improve the performance of object-oriented languages. The Smalltalk-80 system, developed at Xerox PARC, had been unveiled to the public in 1981, and a handful of ports of the Smalltalk-80 Virtual Machine had been attempted by other institutions — including UC Berkeley — in the years that followed. However, these ports had not achieved satisfying levels of performance. This paper showed the way forward, and the implementation it describes was sold by a spinout company, ParcPlace Systems, as part of its flagship product, ParcPlace Smalltalk, which, via various mutations, still exists as Cincom Smalltalk. But perhaps more importantly the paper inspired many people to push ahead with new, high-performance VMs. Most — perhaps all? — high-performance virtual machines can trace their lineage back to this paper. In this session I will present some of the background to the paper, and then will be joined by the authors in a discussion of the paper, its influences and its legacy. The paper is available here: 10.1145/800017.800542