Symbol Table

In: Computers and Technology

Submitted By vishzrules
Words 360
Pages 2
A symbol table is a data structure used by a language translator such as a compiler or interpreter, where each identifier in a program's source code is associated with information relating to its declaration or appearance in the source, such as its type, scope level and sometimes its location.

1 Uses

An object file will contain a symbol table of the identifiers it contains that are externally visible. During the linking of different object files, a linker will use these symbol tables to resolve any unresolved references.

A symbol table may only exist during the translation process, or it may be embedded in the output of that process for later exploitation, for example, during an interactive debugging session, or as a resource for formatting a diagnostic report during or after execution of a program.

2 Implementation

If a compiler is to handle a small amount of data, then the symbol table can be implemented as an unordered list, which is easy to code, but it is only suitable for small tables only. A symbol table can be implemented in one of the following ways:

• Linear (sorted or unsorted) list • Binary Search Tree • Hash table

3 Operations

A symbol table, either linear or hash, should provide the following operations.

insert()

This operation is more frequently used by analysis phase, i.e., the first half of the compiler where tokens are identified and names are stored in the table. This operation is used to add information in the symbol table about unique names occurring in the source code. The format or structure in which the names are stored depends upon the compiler in hand.

lookup()

lookup() operation is used to search a name in the symbol table to determine:

• if the symbol exists in the table. • if it is declared before it is being used. • if the name is used in the scope. • if the symbol is initialized. •…...

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