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S – attributed and L – attributed SDTs in Syntax directed translation

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Before coming up to S-attributed and L-attributed SDTs, here is a brief intro to Synthesized or Inherited attributes Types of attributes – Attributes may be of two types – Synthesized or Inherited.

  1. Synthesized attributes – A Synthesized attribute is an attribute of the non-terminal on the left-hand side of a production. Synthesized attributes represent information that is being passed up the parse tree. The attribute can take value only from its children (Variables in the RHS of the production). The non-terminal concerned must be in the head (LHS) of production. For e.g. let’s say A -> BC is a production of a grammar, and A’s attribute is dependent on B’s attributes or C’s attributes then it will be synthesized attribute.
  2. Inherited attributes – An attribute of a nonterminal on the right-hand side of a production is called an inherited attribute. The attribute can take value either from its parent or from its siblings (variables in the LHS or RHS of the production). The non-terminal concerned must be in the body (RHS) of production. For example, let’s say A -> BC is a production of a grammar and B’s attribute is dependent on A’s attributes or C’s attributes then it will be inherited attribute because A is a parent here, and C is a sibling.

Now, let’s discuss about S-attributed and L-attributed SDT.

  1. S-attributed SDT :
    • If an SDT uses only synthesized attributes, it is called as S-attributed SDT.
    • S-attributed SDTs are evaluated in bottom-up parsing, as the values of the parent nodes depend upon the values of the child nodes.
    • Semantic actions are placed in rightmost place of RHS.
  2. L-attributed SDT:
    • If an SDT uses both synthesized attributes and inherited attributes with a restriction that inherited attribute can inherit values from left siblings only, it is called as L-attributed SDT.
    • Attributes in L-attributed SDTs are evaluated by depth-first and left-to-right parsing manner.
    • Semantic actions are placed anywhere in RHS.
    • Example : S->ABC, Here attribute B can only obtain its value either from the parent – S or its left sibling A but It can’t inherit from its right sibling C. Same goes for A & C – A can only get its value from its parent & C can get its value from S, A, & B as well because C is the rightmost attribute in the given production.

Last Updated : 14 May, 2023
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