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Faculty for Biology, Chemistry, and Earth Sciences

Department of Ecological Modelling - Prof. Dr. Michael Hauhs

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Trancón y Widemann, B; Lepper, M: Paisley: Pattern Matching à la Carte, Lecture Notes in Computer Science, 7307, 240-247 (2012), doi:10.1007/978-3-642-30476-7_16
Professional development of software dealing with structured models requires more systematic approach and semantic foundations than standard practice in general-purpose programming languages affords. One remedy is to move to domain-specific environments. Here, instead, we present a tool for the implementation of pattern matching as fundamental means of automated data extraction from complex models in a general-purpose programming language. The interface is simple but, thanks to elaborate and rigorous design, is also light-weight, portable, non-invasive, type-safe, modular and extensible. It is compatible with object-oriented data abstraction and has full support for nondeterminism by backtracking. The tool comes as a library consisting of two levels: elementary pattern constructs (generic, highly reusable) and pattern bindings for particular data models (specific, fairly reusable, user-definable). Applications use the library code in a small number of idiomatic ways, making pattern-matching code declarative in style (yet retaining richer host-language semantics), easily writable, readable and maintainable. Library and idiom together form a tightly embedded domain-specific language; no extension of the host language is required. The current implementation is in Java, but assumes only standard object-oriented features, and can hence be ported to other mainstream languages.
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