Standard Article

Program Interpreters

  1. Manuel Alfonseca

Published Online: 16 MAR 2009

DOI: 10.1002/9780470050118.ecse328

Wiley Encyclopedia of Computer Science and Engineering

Wiley Encyclopedia of Computer Science and Engineering

How to Cite

Alfonseca, M. 2009. Program Interpreters. Wiley Encyclopedia of Computer Science and Engineering. 2252–2262.

Author Information

  1. Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, Madrid, Spain

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 16 MAR 2009

Abstract

This article summarizes the characteristics, structure, advantages, disadvantages, and applications of program interpreters. Interpreters may be used, in preference to compilers, for portability or security reasons, for the ability to use powerful dynamic constructs, or for fast building of easy-to-debug prototypes. It must be taken into account, however, that interpreters and compilers have converged: Current interpreters use many optimization techniques originally developed for compilers, whereas some compilers reach typical advantages of interpreters through the use of sophisticated techniques.

Keywords:

  • programming language interpreters;
  • compilers;
  • language translation;
  • garbage collection;
  • error recovery;
  • debugging