A new verified compiler backend for CakeML
Paper in proceedings, 2016
We have developed and mechanically verified a new compiler backend for CakeML. Our new compiler features a sequence of intermediate languages that allows it to incrementally compile away high-level features and enables verification at the right levels of semantic detail. In this way, it resembles mainstream (unverified) compilers for strict functional languages. The compiler supports efficient curried multi-argument functions, configurable data representations, exceptions that unwind the call stack, register allocation, and more. The compiler targets several architectures: x86-64, ARMv6, ARMv8, MIPS-64, and RISC-V.
In this paper, we present the overall structure of the compiler, including its 12 intermediate languages, and explain how everything fits together. We focus particularly on the interaction between the verification of the register allocator and the garbage collector, and memory representations. The entire development has been carried out within the HOL4 theorem prover.