Heap Profiling of a Lazy Functional Compiler
A significant problem with lazy functional programs is that they often demand a great deal of space. Multi-megabyte workstations are now commonplace, but serious users of functional programming systems have to equip even these machines with additional memory. The essence of laziness is to delay evaluation rather than compute values that may not be needed; and once values are computed to retain them if they may be needed again. This policy might save time, but it can easily lead to space faults: the accumulation or retention of large structures in memory, in ways that the programmer is unaware of, or does not fully understand, let alone intend. Hence profiling tools, by which programmers can obtain information about memory use in terms of the source program, are potentially of great value.
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