, Volume 12, Issue 1, pp 7-45,
Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.

Implementation Strategies for First-Class Continuations

Abstract

Scheme and Smalltalk continuations may have unlimited extent. This means that a purely stack-based implementation of continuations, as suffices for most languages, is inadequate. We review several implementation strategies for continuations and compare their performance using instruction counts for the normal case and continuation-intensive synthetic benchmarks for other scenarios, including coroutines and multitasking. All of the strategies constrain a compiler in some way, resulting in indirect costs that are hard to measure directly. We use related measurements on a set of benchmarks to calculate upper bounds for these indirect costs.