TALx86: A Realistic Typed Assembly Language


The goal of typed assembly language (TAL) is to provide a low-level, statically typed target language that is better suited than Java bytecodes for supporting a wide variety of source languages and a number of important optimizations. In previous work, we formalized idealized versions of TAL and proved important safety properties about them. In this paper, we present our progress in defining and implementing a realistic typed assembly language called TALx86. The TALx86 instructions comprise a relatively complete fragment of the Intel IA32 (32-bit 80x86 flat model) assembly language and are thus executable on processors such as the Intel Pentium. The type system for the language incorporates a number of advanced features necessary for safely compiling large programs to good code.

To motivate the design of the type system, we demonstrate how various high-level language features are compiled to TALx86. For this purpose, we present a type-safe C-like language called Popcorn.

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