computer science, SYNTAX is a system used to generate lexical and syntactic analyzers ( parsers) (both deterministic and non-deterministic) for all kind of context-free grammars (CFGs) as well as some classes of contextual grammars. It is developed at INRIA( France) for several decades, mostly by Pierre Boullier, but has become free softwaresince 2007 only. SYNTAX is distributed under the CeCILLlicence.
SYNTAX handles most classes of deterministic (unambiguous) grammars (LR, LALR, RLR) as well as general context-free grammars. The deterministic version has been used in operational contexts (e.g., Ada [The first tool-translator for the ADA language has been developed with SYNTAX by Pierre Boullier and others, as recalled in this [http://archive.adaic.com/standards/83lrm/html/lrm-FORE.html page on the history of ADA] . See also Pierre Boullier and Knut Ripken. Building an Ada compiler following meta-compilation methods. In Séminaires Langages et Traducteurs 1978-1981, pages 99-140. INRIA, Rocquencourt, France, 1981.] ), and is currently used both in the domain of compilation [E.g., by the [http://www.inrialpes.fr/vasy VASY] team at
INRIA, in particular for the development of [http://www.inrialpes.fr/vasy/cadp/ CADP] and [http://www.inrialpes.fr/vasy/traian/ Traian] .] . The non-deterministic features include an Earley parser generator used for natural language processing[E.g., in the SxLFG parser, whose first version is described in [http://atoll.inria.fr/~sagot/pub/IWPT05.pdf this paper] .] . Parsers generated by SYNTAX include powerful error recovery mechanisms, and allow the execution of semantic actions and attribute evaluation on the abstract tree or on the shared parse forest.
The current version of SYNTAX (version 6.0 beta) includes also parser generators for other formalisms, used for natural language processing as well as bio-informatics. These formalisms are context-sensitive formalisms (TAG, RCG) or formalisms that rely on context-free grammars and are extended thanks to attribute evaluation, in particular for natural language processing (LFG).
Notes and references
* [http://syntax.gforge.inria.fr/ SYNTAX web site]
* [http://www.inrialpes.fr/vasy/Publications/Garavel-Lang-Mateescu-02.html Paper on the construction of compilers using SYNTAX and TRAIAN (Compiler Construction'02 Conference]
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