University of Minnesota
Software Engineering Center
/

You are here

Eric Van Wyk

Photo of Eric Van Wyk
Phone Number: 
612-625-0329
Office Location: 
EE/CS 6-203
Education: 

Ph.D. 1998, Computer Science, University of Iowa

M.S. 1991, Computer Science, University of Iowa

B.A. 1989, Mathematics and Computer Science, Luther College

Biography: 

Associate Professor Van Wyk's research focuses on programming languages, in particular extensible programming languages and compilers, applications of temporal logic, and algebraic compilers. In 2005 he was awarded a McKnight Land-Grant Professorship and the National Science Foundation's CAREER award in 2004.

He has authored or co-authored more than 25 publications, including journal and conference papers, articles and technical reports. Van Wyk has developed various software packages including the Silver attribute grammar specification and evaluation system, extensible specifications of Java 1.4 and ANSI C written in Silver, and various domain-specific language extensions for these Java and C specifications. He is a member of ACM, ACM SIGPLAN, IEEE, the IEEE Computer Society, and is involved in numerous conference committees. Van Wyk also does outreach, serving as a member of the St. Louis Park High School School Business and Information Technology Advisory Board.

Research: 

In general, my research is on declarative specifications for programming language tools, such as compilers and optimizers, and the mechanisms for mapping these specifications into executable programs.

One area of interest is extendible programming languages and compiler designs that allow new language features to be imported into a language framework. These new features define their own syntax, semantics, and optimizations. In such a system, programmers do not choose which language to use for a particular task, but instead choose which set of language features to use and import these features into their programming environment thus creating a one-off language specific to their current problem domain.

Many program optimizations can be simply stated as rewrite rules but the data and control flow conditions which must be satisfied to safely apply the rules can be rather complex. I am interested in using temporal logic as a declarative specification language for these conditions since it is formal and concise. Also, temporal logic model checkers can automatically locate the points in a program flow graph where optimizations can be safely made.

I also work on algebraic compilers where programming languages are specified as Galois-connected syntax and semantic algebras and language translators are specified as (generalized) homomorphisms.

Recent Publications

Flexible and Extensible Notations for Modeling Languages

In model-based development, a formal description of the software (the model) is the central artifact that drives other development activities. The availability of a modeling language well-suited for the system under development and appropriate tool support are of utmost importance to practitioners. Considering the diverse needs of different application domains, flexibility in the choice of modeling languages and tools may advance the industrial acceptance of formal methods.

Composable Language Extensions for Computational Geometry: a Case Study

In model-based development, a formal description of the software (the model) is the central artifact that drives other development activities. The availability of a modeling language well-suited for the system under development and appropriate tool support are of utmost importance to practitioners. Considering the diverse needs of different application domains, flexibility in the choice of modeling languages and tools may advance the industrial acceptance of formal methods.

Adding Syntax and Static Analysis to Libraries via Extensible Compilers and Language Extensions

We show how new syntactic forms and static analysis can be added to a programming language to support abstractions provided by libraries. Libraries have the important characteristic that programmers can use multiple libraries in a single program. Thus, any attempt to extend a language's syntax and analysis should be done in a composable manner so that similar extensions that support other libraries can be used by the programmer in the same program.

Pages