Faster Scannerless GLR Parsing

Giorgios R. Economopoulos, Paul Klint, Jurgen J. Vinju. Faster Scannerless GLR Parsing. In Oege de Moor, Michael I. Schwartzbach, editors, Compiler Construction, 18th International Conference, CC 2009, Held as Part of the Joint European Conferences on Theory and Practice of Software, ETAPS 2009, York, UK, March 22-29, 2009. Proceedings. Volume 5501 of Lecture Notes in Computer Science, pages 126-141, Springer, 2009. [doi]


Analysis and renovation of large software portfolios requires syntax analysis of multiple, usually embedded, languages and this is beyond the capabilities of many standard parsing techniques. The traditional separation between lexer and parser falls short due to the limitations of tokenization based on regular expressions when handling multiple lexical grammars. In such cases scannerless parsing provides a viable solution. It uses the power of context-free grammars to be able to deal with a wide variety of issues in parsing lexical syntax. However, it comes at the price of less efficiency. The structure of tokens is obtained using a more powerful but more time and memory intensive parsing algorithm. Scannerless grammars are also more non-deterministic than their tokenized counterparts, increasing the burden on the parsing algorithm even further. In this paper we investigate the application of the Right-Nulled Generalized LR parsing algorithm (RNGLR) to scannerless parsing. We adapt the Scannerless Generalized LR parsing and filtering algorithm (SGLR) to implement the optimizations of RNGLR. We present an updated parsing and filtering algorithm, called SRNGLR, and analyze its performance in comparison to SGLR on ambiguous grammars for the programming languages C, Java, Python, SASL, and C++. Measurements show that SRNGLR is on average 33% faster than SGLR, but is 95% faster on the highly ambiguous SASL grammar. For the mainstream languages C, C++, Java and Python the average speedup is 16%.