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A Theory of Name Resolution

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Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNTCS,volume 9032)


We describe a language-independent theory for name binding and resolution, suitable for programming languages with complex scoping rules including both lexical scoping and modules. We formulate name resolution as a two-stage problem. First a language-independent scope graph is constructed using language-specific rules from an abstract syntax tree. Then references in the scope graph are resolved to corresponding declarations using a language-independent resolution process. We introduce a resolution calculus as a concise, declarative, and languageindependent specification of name resolution. We develop a resolution algorithm that is sound and complete with respect to the calculus. Based on the resolution calculus we develop language-independent definitions of α-equivalence and rename refactoring. We illustrate the approach using a small example language with modules. In addition, we show how our approach provides a model for a range of name binding patterns in existing languages.


  • Binding Pattern
  • Resolution Algorithm
  • Abstract Syntax Tree
  • Code Completion
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Correspondence to Pierre Neron .

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Neron, P., Tolmach, A., Visser, E., Wachsmuth, G. (2015). A Theory of Name Resolution. In: Vitek, J. (eds) Programming Languages and Systems. ESOP 2015. Lecture Notes in Computer Science(), vol 9032. Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg.

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  • Print ISBN: 978-3-662-46668-1

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