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Efficient Multiple Dispatching Using Nested Transition-Arrays

Summary: Efficient Multiple Dispatching Using
Nested Transition-Arrays
Weimin Chen, Karl Aberer
GMD-IPSI, Dolivostr. 15, 64293 Darmstadt, Germany
E-mail: {chen, aberer}@darmstadt.gmd.de
Phone: +49-6151-869941
FAX: +49-6151-869966
Abstract. Efficient implementation of multiple dispatching is critical with regard to the success of the multi-
methods, which are recognized as a powerful mechanism in object-oriented programming languages. Howev-
er, the current known time-efficient approaches suffer of poor space efficiency. This paper presents a novel
multiple dispatching approach that substantially improves the space efficiency over the known constant time
lookup approaches. The approach we propose is applicable to a wide range of languages supporting locally or
partially ordered multi-methods, both statically and dynamically typed.
Keywords: Multi-methods, Dispatching, Automaton.
Category: Research paper, Language implementation.
1 Introduction
Multi-methods have been recognized as a powerful mechanism in object-oriented programming languages, by
guiding method lookup using the value of all arguments instead of only the receiver. Dispatching on multi-
methods is called multiple dispatching [10].
There are two different kinds of multi-methods supported by current languages. One is totally ordered mul-


Source: Aberer, Karl - Faculté Informatique et Communications, Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne


Collections: Computer Technologies and Information Sciences