A Rational Deconstruction of Landin's J Operator

Olivier Danvy, Kevin Millikin


Landin's J operator was the first control operator for functional languages, and was specified with an extension of the SECD machine. Through a series of meaning-preserving transformations (transformation into continuation-passing style (CPS) and defunctionalization) and their left inverses (transformation into direct style and refunctionalization), we present a compositional evaluation function corresponding to this extension of the SECD machine. We then characterize the J operator in terms of CPS and in terms of delimited-control operators in the CPS hierarchy. Finally, we present a motivated wish to see Landin's name added to the list of co-discoverers of continuations.

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7146/brics.v13i4.21910
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ISSN: 0909-0878 

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