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Code optimization is characterized as a time versus space tradeoff. Space optimizations are further decomposed into static and dynamic categories. Using this characterization, the optimization requirements of a list processing language such as LISP are examined. Scrutiny of the structure of programs written in such a language reveals that traditional code optimization techniques have little benefit. Instead, a collection of low-level time and static space optimizations is seen to lead to a potential decrease in space and execution time. Dynamic space optimization is also examined in the context of reducing the frequency of occurrence of garbage collection. Alternatively, some language extensions are proposed which reduce the amount of storage that needs to be allocated, and hence may result in a decrease in the frequency of garbage collection.
Date of Publication: March 1982