• Offered by School of Computing
  • ANU College ANU College of Engineering Computing & Cybernetics
  • Course subject Computer Science
  • Areas of interest Computer Science, Software Engineering, Advanced Computing, Computer Systems, Computer Engineering
  • Academic career UGRD
  • Mode of delivery In Person
  • STEM Course
  • Graduate Attributes
    • Critical Thinking

Compiler Construction provides an in-depth treatment of programming language translation, compilation, and run-time systems, organised around a significant programming project to build a compiler for a simple, but non-trivial core programming language. The course integrates both theory and practice. Topics include data structures for tree languages; lexical analysis, syntax analysis and abstract syntax; symbol tables and semantic analysis; translation, intermediate code, basic blocks and traces; machine targets and instruction selection; liveness analysis and graph colouring register allocation. Supplemental topics may include garbage collection, object-oriented languages, higher-order languages, dataflow analysis, optimisation, polymorphism, dynamic compilation, scheduling, pipelining and memory hierarchies. Upon completion of the course students will understand how programs map to execution on modern processors, and the impact of language design on language implementation.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

  1. Explain how programs that process other programs treat the other programs as their input data, and describe the benefits of having program representations other than source code.
  2. Distinguish a language definition (syntax and semantics) from a particular language implementation (evaluation by interpreter or by compilation).
  3. Use formal grammars to specify the syntax of languages, and understand key issues of ambiguity, associativity and precedence.
  4. Sketch a low-level run-time representation of core language constructs, such as objects or closures.
  5. Identify and implement essential steps for automatically converting source code into assembly or other low-level languages.
  6. Define useful static analyses in terms of a conceptual framework such as data-flow analysis and use the results of a static analysis for program optimization.

Indicative Assessment

  1. Programming Assignments (45) [LO 3,5,6]
  2. Quizzes and mid-semester tests (25) [LO 1,2,3,4,5,6]
  3. Final Exam (30) [LO 1,2,3,4,5,6]

The ANU uses Turnitin to enhance student citation and referencing techniques, and to assess assignment submissions as a component of the University's approach to managing Academic Integrity. While the use of Turnitin is not mandatory, the ANU highly recommends Turnitin is used by both teaching staff and students. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website.


Lectures, labs, assignments and self-study for a combined total of 130 hours.  

Inherent Requirements

Not applicable

Requisite and Incompatibility

To enrol in this course you must have completed: COMP2100 AND COMP2310 AND 6 units of 3000-level COMP courses. Students who have previously completed COMP3710 - please contact CECC Student Services for a Permission Code.

Prescribed Texts

Recommended: Modern Compiler Implementation in Java, second edition, Andrew W. Appel with Jens Palsberg, Cambridge University Press, 2002, 978-0521820608

Suggested: Engineering a Compiler, third edition, Keith D. Cooper and Linda Torczon, Elsevier, 2022, 978-0128154120

Supplementary: Compilers: Principles, Techniques, and Tools, Aho, Lam, Sethi, and Ullman, Addison-Wesley, 2007, 978-0133002140

Assumed Knowledge

Programming skills in Java, C++, or other object oriented programming language.


Tuition fees are for the academic year indicated at the top of the page.  

Commonwealth Support (CSP) Students
If you have been offered a Commonwealth supported place, your fees are set by the Australian Government for each course. At ANU 1 EFTSL is 48 units (normally 8 x 6-unit courses). More information about your student contribution amount for each course at Fees

Student Contribution Band:
Unit value:
6 units

If you are a domestic graduate coursework student with a Domestic Tuition Fee (DTF) place or international student you will be required to pay course tuition fees (see below). Course tuition fees are indexed annually. Further information for domestic and international students about tuition and other fees can be found at Fees.

Where there is a unit range displayed for this course, not all unit options below may be available.

6.00 0.12500
Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links

ANU utilises MyTimetable to enable students to view the timetable for their enrolled courses, browse, then self-allocate to small teaching activities / tutorials so they can better plan their time. Find out more on the Timetable webpage.

There are no current offerings for this course.

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