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Table of contents
1.
Introduction
2.
What is Handle Pruning in Compiler Design?
3.
Types of handle pruning in compiler design
4.
Features of handle pruning in compiler design
5.
Advantages of Handle Pruning in Compiler Design
6.
Disadvantages of Handle Pruning in Compiler Design
7.
Frequently asked questions
7.1.
How does handle pruning work?
7.2.
Is handle pruning always necessary in compiler design?
7.3.
What is the impact of handle pruning on parsing efficiency?
8.
Conclusion
Last Updated: Mar 27, 2024

Handle Pruning in Compiler Design

Author Tashmit
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Master Python: Predicting weather forecasts
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Ashwin Goyal
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Introduction

Do you know that Handle is referred to the substring of the right-hand side in a production rule in context-free grammar? Do you know that Handle pruning is a concept used to increase the accuracy of grammar? If not, then don’t worry. We will clear all your doubts.

Handle pruning in Compiler design

In this article, we will study about handle pruning, its types, features, and advantages and disadvantages. Moving forward, let's understand what is handle pruning in compiler design.

What is Handle Pruning in Compiler Design?

In compiler design, handle pruning is the technique used to optimise the parsing process of a grammar. In order to replace nonterminal symbols to handle, parsing algorithms apply reduction. In LR parsing handle is a substring of the right side of the production rule. Thus, it can be reduced to nonterminal on the left-side of the rule.

Moving forward, let's discuss the types of handle pruning in compiler design.

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Types of handle pruning in compiler design

Below are the types of handle pruning in compiler design.

  1. Lookahead handle pruning: As the name suggests, it looks ahead to the next token. In order to determine if the handle is relevant this technique involves looking ahead to the next token. The parser is required to access a lookahead buffer to predict the next token based on the parser’s current state.
     
  2. Nullbility handle pruning: It determines if a null value/symbol can replace a handle. It is also responsible for determining if a symbol can be derived from a nullable symbol. 
     
  3. Left-to-Right Parsing: It is a bottom-up parsing technique. In order to reduce handles till the last symbol, the parser reads the input from left to right. The handle is the substring of input symbols which could be reduced on the left side in a production rule. 
     
  4. Left-to-Left Parsing: It is a top-down parsing technique. To reduce the handle, it expands the handle recursively. The handle is the substring of input symbols which could be reduced on the top-down in a production rule.
     
  5. Shift-Reduce parsing: It is also a bottom-up technique. A stack of symbols is maintained until a handle is identified. It is quite similar to LR parsing, but shift-parsing makes the decision based on the current stack. On the other hand, LR parsing uses finite automation for decisions.

Features of handle pruning in compiler design

Some of the features of handle pruning in compiler design are:

  1. Improved parsing speed: The parser can work efficiently if the parse stack is small. 
     
  2. Reduced parse stack size: The size and memory of the stack can be reduced if handle pruning removes irrelevant handles.
     
  3. Increased parsing efficiency: In order to increase the efficiency of the parsing process, handle pruning reduced the number of possible parse trees. It allows the parser to focus on eliminating the irrelevant nodes.
     
  4. Improved error recovery: To recover from errors, handle pruning reduces the number of parse trees. It makes it easier for the parser to handle errors and continue parsing the input.

 

Also check out - Phases of Compiler and Cross Compiler

Advantages of Handle Pruning in Compiler Design

Advantages of handle pruning in compiler design:

  1. Performance: With the help of handle pruning, we can improve the performance of parsing. It reduces the number of irrelevant handles and parse trees, which helps in the reduction of memory and time needed for parsing.
     
  2. Better error recovery: With the help of handle pruning, we can recover from errors more efficiently. The pruning process reduces leads to faster and more accurate parsing results by reducing the number of possible parse trees.
     
  3. Compatible with various parsing techniques: Handle pruning is compatible with parsing techniques like LL, LR, and LALR parsers.
     

Disadvantages of Handle Pruning in Compiler Design

Disadvantages of handle pruning in compiler design:

  1. Increased complexity: Handle pruning increases the size of compiler code, which leads to more complexity.
     
  2. Potential loss of information: While reducing the number of irrelevant handles, sometimes handle pruning removes some important information. This leads to a loss and can reduce accuracy.
     
  3. Limited application: Handle pruning is not applicable to all types of grammar. It depends on the overall structure and complexity of the application.

Must Read Recursive Descent Parser.

Frequently asked questions

How does handle pruning work?

Handle pruning works by removing handles from the parse stack which is irrelevant to the final parse tree or result.

Is handle pruning always necessary in compiler design?

Handle pruning is not always necessary in compiler design. If handle pruning is required depends on the complexity and structure of the parsed grammar.

What is the impact of handle pruning on parsing efficiency?

Handle pruning can significantly improve parsing efficiency by reducing the number of irrelevant handles and parse trees, reducing the memory and time needed to perform the parsing.

Conclusion

In this article, we studied about handle pruning in compiler design. We also studied about the types, features, advantages, and disadvantages of handle pruning. You can refer this article to know more about compiler design.

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