WPP - History
It has ever been seen as an integral part of Project WOOP to implement a tool
that would incorporate the theoretical results gathered. Research work on
discrete loops had been finished at the end of the year 1993, and this was
considered a good starting point for the actual implementation. Ada95 had been
chosen to serve as the vehicle for this new kind of loop, a decision that was
mainly due to the reliability and maintainability of that programming language.
One of the things we needed in order to augment Ada95 with the concept of
discrete loops was some sort of translation mechanism that would provide
programmers with a way of using them in their own code. Since our
resources were too limited (as resources are in general) to build a full-fledged
discrete loop - augmented Ada95 compiler, we decided to achieve this by means of
a precompiler that would translate discrete loops into semantically equivalent
Ada95 code. It would still have to perform syntactic as well as
semantic analysis on its input, but it saved us from the burden of (object) code
generation. Our first plan was to start with an Ada95-parser generated by ayacc,
but back in those days it was impossible to compile ayacc and aflex with GNAT.
In this way we decided to built on the source-code of GNAT itself, thus becoming
one of the first GNAT-fiddlers (as Robert Dewar, one of GNAT's creators, put
it) in history.
Another beast that suited our needs was Wolfram Research's
a commercial package for computer algebra. Among its advantages over similar
programs are its inherent functional programming language as well as its well-
documented communication protocol. Our precompiler makes use of it in order to
solve equations and recurrence relations that occur when striving for those
upper bounds of discrete loops.
Later on in the development of our tool we decided to call it 'preprocessor'
instead of 'precompiler', but this was only done for the sake of the resulting
acronym ('WPP'). Since this three-letter combination seems to be a little
tedious to be spelled, we propose to spell it as 'double U double P' or 'double
(UP)' for short.
WPP can do most of the things now that have been introduced in
(discloop paper). The few remaining features are usually described in sections
starting with 'a smart compiler is free to perform whatever ... in order to
achieve ...', but I stopped worrying about them. WPP can derive upper bounds
for the number of iterations for many kinds of discrete loops, and it can also
serve as the base for future extensions addressing real-time recursions and