Analysing the SML97 Definition: Lexicalisation

Authors Elizabeth Scott , Adrian Johnstone

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Elizabeth Scott
  • Department of Computer Science, Royal Holloway, University of London, UK
Adrian Johnstone
  • Department of Computer Science, Royal Holloway, University of London, UK

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Elizabeth Scott and Adrian Johnstone. Analysing the SML97 Definition: Lexicalisation. In Eelco Visser Commemorative Symposium (EVCS 2023). Open Access Series in Informatics (OASIcs), Volume 109, pp. 23:1-23:12, Schloss Dagstuhl – Leibniz-Zentrum für Informatik (2023)


The specification of the syntax and semantics for Standard ML have been designed to support the generation of a compiler front end, but actual implementations have required significant modification to the specification. Since the specification was written there have been major advances in the development of language analysis systems that can handle general syntax specifications. We are revisiting the SML specification to consider to what extent, using modern tooling, it can be implemented exactly as originally written. In this short paper we focus on the lexical specification.

Subject Classification

ACM Subject Classification
  • Software and its engineering → Software notations and tools
  • SML
  • language specification
  • lexicalisation
  • parsing
  • ambiguity


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