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Hans Aberg <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Mailing list for the LaTeX3 project <[log in to unmask]>
Tue, 4 Mar 1997 11:01:59 +0100
text/plain (108 lines)
"Randolph J. Herber" <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

>|>|>        Please. would you use the proper nomenclature?
>|>|>        The pairing from your improper nomenclature to what I believe
>|>|>        is the pertinent nomenclature for what you are attempting to
>|>|>        discuss is:
>|>|>                deterministic           ==>             context free
>|>|>                non-deterministic       ==>             context sensitive
>|  I get a lot of (very long) letters of this kind, demanding that I should
>|use this or other terminology.
>        Ipse dixit.
>|  I have an old book, "Compilers", by Robin Hunter, that on page 40 defines
>|the  notions "nondetermistic/deterministic parser" as whether of one can go
>|back on the decision in the parsing process, or not. This is what I mean.
>        Your reference, Robin Hunter, probably used the phrase
>        ``deterministic grammar'' in the sense of being unambiguous.
>        This is separate from whether the grammar is context sensitive.
>        It is possible for a context sensitive grammar to be ambiguous.
>        The class of change that you are proposing involves a change
>        from a context free to a context sensitive grammar for TeX.
>        My basis is the following:
>        Arto Salomaa, Theory of Automata, Pergamon, Oxford, 1969.
>        David Gries, Compiler Construcion for Digital Computers,
>        John Wiley, 1971, ISBN 0-471-32776-X.
>        Alfred V. Aho and Jeffery D. Ullman, Principles of Compiler Design,
>        Addison Wesley, 1977, ISBN 0-201-00022-9.
>        Alfred V. Aho, Ravi Sethi and Jeffrey D. Ullman, Compilers:
>        Principles, Techniques and Tools, Addison Wesley, 1986,
>        ISBN 0-201-10088-6.
>        Allen I. Holub, Compiler Design in C, Prentice-Hall, 1990,
>        ISBN 0-13-155045-4.
>        *Axel T. Schreiner and H. George Friedman, Jr., Introduction
>        to Compiler Construction with UNIX, Prentice Hall, 1985,
>        ISBN 0-13-474396-2.
>        William M. McKeeman, James J. Horning, David B. Wortman,
>        A Compiler Generator, Prentice Hall, 1970, ISBN 0-13-155077-2.
>        **P.M. Lewis II, D.J. Rosenkrantz and R.E.Stearns, Compiler Design
>        Theory, Addison Wesley, 1978, ISBN 0-201-14455-7.
>        Charles N. Fischer and Richard J. LeBlanc, Jr., Crafting a Compiler,
>        Benjamin/Cummings, 1988, ISBN 0-8053-3201-4.
>        *William M. Waite and Gerhard Goos, Compiler Construction,
>        Springer-Verlag, 1984-1985, ISBN 0-387-90821-8.
>        * This book happens to use the adjective ``deterministic'' in the
>        sense of ``unambiguous''.
>        ** This book happens to use the adjective ``deterministic'' applied
>        to parsing in the sense that a stack (pushdown) machine is used to
>        implement the parser or to recognize the language.
>        Several of these books have an extensive bibliography.  None of
>        these bibliography mention your reference.  Many of them refer
>        to the books which preceeded them.
>|  On page 231, a "context sensitive parser" is described as a method to
>|handle a attribute grammars, and the like. This is not what I have in mind.
>        This refers to a parser.  I had been refering to context free
>        languages and grammars.  ``Attribute grammars'' are concerned
>        with semantics.  At the level of semantics all compiler and
>        interpreters which process meaning, which attribute grammers
>        must, must be context sensitive.
>|  Otherwise, I do not understand how this or other terminology can solve
>|the problems discussed here.
>        It _may_ help solve problems in communication.

  Perhaps the terminology varies.

  (The book by Aho et al does not have this terminology in their index. Is
this long list really a reference list, or just a compiling of a long list
of books in an attempt to impress?)

  Otherwise, it is certainly not appropriate that some like Mr. Randolph J.
Herber acting terminology police, telling people to use whatever
terminology he decides is correct. This is common theme in his letters,
telling others what to do: He decides what problems Frank Mittelbach has --
I thought this was something Frank Mittelbach should decide. I say that
this is the terminology I use, and this is from this or that book, and Mr.
Randolph J. Herber says, without looking into the book, that this is not
what it says, it says what he makes it up to say.
  And so on...

  If Mr. Randolph J. Herber is so good at these things, why does he not sit
down and knock out some parsers written in TeX, so one can see what he can

  Hans Aberg