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Communications of the ACM

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Technical Perspective: Building Bug-Free Compilers

Software engineers—and, by extension, anyone who uses the software they create (that is, nearly everyone)—rely critically on compilers. These ubiquitous tools, familiar even to the most novice programmer, translate high-level ideas, expressed as code, into the low-level instructions understood by computer hardware.

Using compilers is so commonplace and transparent that most of us soon forget about the near-miracles of code analysis and optimization they perform at a keystroke. Today's compilers produce marvelously tuned and optimized code that almost always performs better than what could be achieved painstakingly by hand.


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