An Ad-Hoc Approach to the Implementation of Polymorphism

Ronald Morrison, Alan Dearle, RCH Connor, AL Brown

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Polymorphic abstraction provides the ability to write programs that are independent of the form of the data over which they operate. There are a number of different categories of polymorphic expression-ad hoc and universal, which includes parametric and inclusion-all of which have many advantages in terms of code reuse and software economics. It has proved difficult to provide efficient implementations of polymorphism. Here, we address this problem and describe a new technique that can implement all forms of polymorphism, use a conventional machine architecture, and support nonuniform data representations. Furthermore, the method ensures that any extra cost of implementation applies to polymorphic forms only, and allows such polymorphic forms to persist over program invocations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)342-371
Number of pages30
JournalACM Transactions in Programming Languages and Systems
Volume13
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jul 1991

Keywords

  • DESIGN
  • LANGUAGES
  • THEORY
  • MULTIPLE INHERITANCE
  • MECHANISM

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