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CS 551 — Compiler Construction
(dt. Compilerbau)

Level, degree of commitment Specialization module, depends on importing study program
Forms of teaching and learning,
Lecture (4 SWS), recitation class (2 SWS),
270 hours (90 h attendance, 180 h private study)
Credit points,
formal requirements
9 CP
Course requirement(s): Successful completion of at least 50 percent of the points from the weekly exercises as well as at least 2 presentations of the tasks.
Examination type: Written or oral examination (individual examination)
The grading is done with 0 to 15 points according to the examination regulations for the degree program M.Sc. Computer Science.
Subject, Origin Computer Science, M.Sc. Computer Science
One semester,
Regelmäßig alle 3 bis 4 Semester
Person in charge of the module's outline Prof. Dr. Christoph Bockisch


Compilers translate programs from high-level programming languages into executable machine code. The module presents and compares concepts and methods developed for the different phases of compilers:

  • lexical analysis: regular expressions, finite automata, first-longest-match principle, scanner generators
  • Syntactic analysis: Context-free grammars, recursive descent parsing with LL(k) grammars, shift reduce parsing with LR(k) grammars, precedent-controlled parsers, parser generators;
  • Semantic analysis with attribute grammars
  • Intermediate code generation
  • code optimization

Qualification Goals

Students will

  • know the distinction between different aspects of programming languages (lexis, syntax, semantics, pragmatics),
  • have knowledge of the structure of compilers and compiler phases,
  • understand tools for compiler generation and can use them,
  • know basic principles of code generation, denotational semantics and abstract machines,
  • are able to program individual parts of a compiler
  • are able to apply scientific working methods when independently identifying, formulating and solving problems,
  • are able to speak freely about scientific content, both in front of an audience and in a discussion.


None. The competences taught in the following module are recommended: Theoretical Computer Science.

Recommended Reading

  • Drachenbuch: Aho/Sethi/Ullman: Compilers — Principles, Techniques, and Tools, Addison-Wesley 1986
  • Waite/Goos: Compiler Construction, Springer Verlag 1994
  • Wilhelm/Maurer: Übersetzerbau: Theorie, Konstruktion, Generierung, Springer Verlag 1992
  • Appel: Modern Compiler Implementation in ML/Java/C++, Addison-Wesley 1998

Please note:

This page describes a module according to the latest valid module guide in Winter semester 2023/24. Most rules valid for a module are not covered by the examination regulations and can therefore be updated on a semesterly basis. The following versions are available in the online module guide:

The module guide contains all modules, independent of the current event offer. Please compare the current course catalogue in Marvin.

The information in this online module guide was created automatically. Legally binding is only the information in the examination regulations (Prüfungsordnung). If you notice any discrepancies or errors, we would be grateful for any advice.