ABC Book
L: Languages
I-J pdf (344KB): click pic
Preface A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z Pics

Teaching OO using Java
festive occasions
ABC book
CS Faculty over the years
The Triple-I Administration
How Bush Operated



L is for Languages, compilers, and such.
A field we’re involved in so very much.
Why? —naive people may suddenly ask;
‘Cause notation’s oft key to solutions of tasks.
As Benjamin Whorf once said he did find,
Language does shape the thought and the mind.

We have been heavily involved in languages and compilers from the start. The PL/C compiler in the early 1970s; the first text on compiler construction; Tim Teitelbaum’s Cornell Program Synthesizer; the language Russell, semantics (e.g. interference freedom, the basis for proving parallel program correct, was developed here) —these were influential projects in the 1970s and early 1980s.

Compilers themselves have remained an area of intense work here. For example, Keshav Pingali has had a long an influential project on compiling for parallel computers, which has expanded to deal with many more issues in compiling. Radu Rugina also works on compiling and program analysis to make software more robust, secure, and efficient.

Much of the current language work is inspired by security issues. Besides the language-design work in Andrew Meyers group, there is emphasis on analysis and synthesis methods that provide mechanical means for ensuring that a program and its execution will satisfy certain properties —a field called “language-based security”. Dexter Kozen works on various aspects of proof-carrying code, and Fred Schneider, chief scientist on the multi-university NSF grant TRUST, and his students pioneered the use of in-lined reference monitors to check for violations of security policies.

Like other work in CS at Cornell, this work is tied to principles and often addresses problems that transcend technology or specific engineering issues. “Think first, build second” is a succinct characterization of our primary modus operandi. Perhaps that is why Cornell has been a leader in this field.