Derivatives of Parsing Expression Grammars

Aaron Moss
(Cheriton School of Computer Science, University of Waterloo)

This paper introduces a new derivative parsing algorithm for recognition of parsing expression grammars. Derivative parsing is shown to have a polynomial worst-case time bound, an improvement on the exponential bound of the recursive descent algorithm. This work also introduces asymptotic analysis based on inputs with a constant bound on both grammar nesting depth and number of backtracking choices; derivative and recursive descent parsing are shown to run in linear time and constant space on this useful class of inputs, with both the theoretical bounds and the reasonability of the input class validated empirically. This common-case constant memory usage of derivative parsing is an improvement on the linear space required by the packrat algorithm.

In Erzsébet Csuhaj-Varjú, Pál Dömösi and György Vaszil: Proceedings 15th International Conference on Automata and Formal Languages (AFL 2017), Debrecen, Hungary, September 4-6, 2017, Electronic Proceedings in Theoretical Computer Science 252, pp. 180–194.
Published: 21st August 2017.

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