Compiler Design I

5 credits

Syllabus, Bachelor's level, 1DL321

Education cycle
First cycle
Main field(s) of study and in-depth level
Computer Science G2F, Technology G2F
Grading system
Fail (U), Pass (3), Pass with credit (4), Pass with distinction (5)
Finalised by
The Faculty Board of Science and Technology, 13 October 2023
Responsible department
Department of Information Technology

Entry requirements

60 credits including 15 credits in mathematics and 30 credits in computer science, including Operating Systems and a second course in computer programming.

Learning outcomes

To pass, the student must understand, how simple imperative programming languages equivalent to C can be compiled to machine code for RISC-like machines.

On completion of the course, the student should be able to:

  • structure a compiler as a sequence of distinct translation steps
  • use regular languages to describe the lexical elements of a programming language
  • describe lexical analysis using a finite automaton
  • use context free languages to describe the syntactic structure of a programming language
  • use the parsing methods top-down (recursive descent) and bottom-up (LR)
  • use abstract syntax trees to represent the results of the syntactic analysis
  • break down statements and expressions to simpler designs, and translate syntax trees to intermediate code
  • describe how recursive procedure calls can be implemented by means of stacks, activation posts and machine registers
  • translate the simplified intermediate code of a program to machine-specific instructions


Lexical analysis (scanning).

Syntactical analysis (parsing).

Program representation in Abstract Syntax Trees (AST).

Symbol tables and scope rules for C-like languages.

Type-checking for C-like languages.

Different forms of intermediate code (IR).

Generation of intermediate code.

Call stacks and activation posts.

Code generation for RISC-like machines.

Basic blocks, control-flow graphs, liveness analysis, register allocation.


Lectures, laboratory sessions.


The course is examined by written examination (4 credits) and assignments (1 credit).

If there are special reasons for doing so, an examiner may make an exception from the method of assessment indicated and allow a student to be assessed by another method. An example of special reasons might be a certificate regarding special pedagogical support from the disability coordinator of the university.