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Kathleen Fisher AT&T Labs Research Yitzhak Mandelbaum, David Walker Princeton The Next 700 Data Description Languages.

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Presentation on theme: "Kathleen Fisher AT&T Labs Research Yitzhak Mandelbaum, David Walker Princeton The Next 700 Data Description Languages."— Presentation transcript:

1 Kathleen Fisher AT&T Labs Research Yitzhak Mandelbaum, David Walker Princeton The Next 700 Data Description Languages

2 Summer School 2007 Review: Technical Challenges of Ad Hoc Data Data arrives “as is.” Documentation is often out-of-date or nonexistent. –Hijacked fields. –Undocumented “missing value” representations. Data is buggy. –Missing data, human error, malfunctioning machines, race conditions on log entries, “extra” data, … –Processing must detect relevant errors and respond in application- specific ways. –Errors are sometimes the most interesting portion of the data. Data sources often have high volume. –Data may not fit into main memory.

3 Summer School 2007 Many Data Description Languages PacketTypes (SIGCOMM ‘00) –Packet processing DataScript (GPCE ‘02) –Java jar files, ELF object files Erlang Binaries (ESOP ‘04) –Packet processing PADS (PLDI ‘05) –General ad hoc data

4 Summer School 2007 The Next 700 Programming Languages The languages people use to communicate with computers differ in their intended aptitudes, towards either a particular application area, or a particular phase of computer use (high level programming, program assembly, job scheduling, etc.). They also differ in physical appearance, and more important, in logical structure. The question arises, do the idiosyncrasies reflect basic logical properties of the situation that are being catered for? Or are they accidents of history and personal background that may be obscuring fruitful developments? This question is clearly important if we are trying to predict or influence language evolution. Continued…

5 Summer School 2007 The Next 700 Programming Languages, cont. To answer it we must think in terms, not of languages, but families of languages. That is to say we must systematize their design so that a new language is a point chosen from a well- mapped space, rather than a laboriously devised construction. — J. P. Landin The Next 700 Programming Languages, 1965.

6 Summer School 2007 The Next 700 Data Description Languages What is the family of data description languages? How do existing languages related to each other? What differences are crucial, which “accidents of history”? What do the existing languages mean, precisely? To answer these questions, we introduce a semantic framework for understanding data description languages.

7 Summer School 2007 PacketTypes PADS DataScript DDC Contributions A core data description calculus (DDC) –Based on dependent type theory –Simple, orthogonal, composable types –Types transduce external data source to internal representation. Encodings of high-level DDLs in low-level DDC

8 Summer School 2007 Outline Introduction A Data Description “Calculus” (DDC) But what does DDC mean? –Well-kinding judgment –Representation, parse descriptor, and parser generation But what do data description languages (DDLs) mean? –Idealized PADS (IPADS) –Features from other DDLs. Applications of the semantics

9 Summer School 2007 A Data Description Calculus ?

10 Summer School 2007 Candidate DDC Primitives Base types parameterized by expressions (Pstring(:`|`:)) –Type constructor constants Pair of fields with cascading scope (Pstruct) –Dependent products Additional constraints (Ptypedef, Pwhere, field constraints). –Set types Alternatives (Punion, Popt) –Sums Open-ended sequences (Parray) –Some kind of list? User-defined parameterized types –Abstraction and application “Active types”: compute, absorb, and scanning –Built-in functions

11 Summer School 2007 Base Types and Sequences C(e): base type parameterized by expression e.  x: .  ’: dependent product describes sequence of values. –Variable x gives name to first value in sequence. –Note syntactic sugar:  *  ’ if x not in  ’. Examples: “123hello|”int * string(‘|’) * char(123, “hello”, ‘|’) “3513”  width:int_fw(1). int_fw(width) (3,513) “:hello:”  term:char.string(term) * char (‘:’,“hello”,‘:’)

12 Summer School 2007 Constraints {x:  | e}: set types add constraints to the type  and express relationships between elements of the data. Examples: ‘a’{c : char | c = ‘a’} (abbrev: S c (‘a’))inl ‘a’ “101”, “82” {x : int | x > 100} inl 101, inr 82 “43|105|67”  min:int.S c (‘|’) *  max:{m:int | min ≤ m}.S c (‘|’) * {mid:int | min ≤ mid & mid ≤ max} (43, inl ‘|’, inl 105, inl ‘|’, inl 67)

13 Summer School 2007 Unions and the Empty String  +  ’ : deterministic, exclusive or – try  ; on failure, try  ’. unit: matches the empty string. Examples: “54”, “n/a”int + S s (“n/a”)inl 54, inr “n/a” “2341”, “”int + unitinl 2341, inr ()

14 Summer School 2007 Array Features What features do we need to handle data sequences? –Elements –Separator between elements –Termination condition (“Are we done yet?”) –Terminator after sequence Examples: “ ” “Harry|Ron|Hermione|Ginny;”

15 Summer School 2007 Bottom and Arrays  seq(  s ; e,  t ) specifies: –Element type  –Separator types  s. –Termination condition e. –Terminator type  t. bottom: reads nothing, flagging an error. Example: IP address. “ ”int seq(S c (‘.’); len 4, bottom)[192,168,1,1]

16 Summer School 2007 Abstraction and Application Can parameterize types over values: x.  Correspondingly, can apply types to values:  e Example: IP address with terminator none term.int seq(S c (‘.’); len 4, S c (term)) none “ |”IP_addr ‘|’ * S c (‘|’)([1,2,3,4], inl ‘|’)

17 Summer School 2007 Absorb, Compute and Scan Absorb, Compute and Scan are active types. –absorb(  ) : consume data from source; produce nothing. –compute(e:  ) : consume nothing; output result of computation e. –scan(  ) : scan data source for type . Examples: “|”absorb(S c (‘|’))() “10|12”  width:int.S c (‘|’) *  length:int. area:compute(width  length:int) (10,12,120) “^%$!&_|”scan(S c (‘|’))(6,inl ‘|’)

18 Summer School 2007 DDC Example: Idealized Web Server Log S = st.{s : string | s = st} authid_t = S(“-”) + string(‘’) response_t = x.{y : int16_FW(x) | 100 <= y and y < 600 } entry_t =  client : ip. S(“ ”) *  remoteid : authid_t. S(“ ”) *  response : response_t 3. compute(getdomain client = “edu” : bool) entry_t seq(S(“\n”). x.false, bottom) kfisher 208

19 Summer School 2007 A data description calculus C(e)Atomic type parameterized by expression e  x: .  ’ Field sequence with cascading scope {x:  | e} Adding constraints to existing descriptions  +  ’ Alternatives  seq(  s ; e,  t ) Open ended sequences x.  Parameterizing types by expressions.  e Supplying values to parameterized types. unit/bottomEmpty strings: ok/error absorb, compute, scan “Active types”

20 Summer School 2007 Semantics Overview Well formed DDC type:  |-  :  Representation for type  : [  ] rep Parse descriptor for type  : [  ] PD Parsing function for type  : [  ] –[  ] : bits * offset  offset * [  ] rep * [  ] PD

21 Summer School 2007 Type Kinding Kinding ensures types are well formed.  |-  :    |- e :   |-  e:   |-  : type  |-  ’ : type  |-  +  ’: type  |-  : type , x:[  rep  pd |- e : bool  |- {x:  | e}: type

22 Summer School 2007 Selected Representation Types DDCHost Language [C(e)] rep I ( C) + noval [  x: .  ’] rep [  ] rep * [  ’] rep [{x:  | e}] rep [  ] rep + ([  ] rep error) [  +  ’] rep [  ] rep + [  ’] rep + noval [  seq(  s ; e,  t ) ] rep int * ([  ] rep seq) [ x.  ] rep, [  e] rep [  ] rep [unit] rep unit unrecoverable error semantic error Note that we erase all dependencies.

23 Summer School 2007 Selected Parse Descriptor Types DDCHost Language [C(e)] PD pd_hdr [  x: .  ’] PD pd_hdr * [  ] PD * [  ’] PD [{x:  | e}] PD pd_hdr * [  ] PD [  +  ’] PD pd_hdr * ([  ] PD + [  ’] PD ) [  seq(  s ; e,  t ) ] PD pd_hdr * int * int * ( [  ] PD seq ) [ x.  ] PD, [  e] PD [  ] PD [unit] PD pd_hdr pd_hdr = int * errcode * span

24 Summer School 2007 Parsing Semantics of Types Semantics expressed as parsing functions written in the polymorphic -calculus. –[  ] : bits * offset  offset * [  ] rep * [  ] PD Product case: [  x: .  ’] = (B,  ). let (  1, r 1, p 1 ) = [  ] (B,  ) in let x = (r 1, p 1 ) in let (  2, r 2, p 2 ) = [  ’] (B,  2 ) in (  2, R  (r 1, r 2 ), P  (p 1, p 2 ))

25 Summer School 2007 Properties of the Calculus Theorem: If  |-  :  then –  |- [  ] : bits * offset  offset * [  ] rep * [  ] pd “Well-formed type  yields a parser that returns values with types corresponding to .” Theorem: Parsers report errors accurately. –Errors in parse descriptor correspond to errors in representation. –Parsers check all semantic constraints.

26 Summer School 2007 Making Use of the Calculus IPADS DDC t   IPADS t ::= C(e) | Pfun(x:s) = t | t e | Pstruct{fields} | Punion{fields} | Pswitch e of {alts t def ;} | Popt t | t Pwhere x.e | Palt{fields} | t Parray [t, t] | Pcompute e | Plit c fields ::= | fields x : t; alts ::= | alts e => t;

27 Summer School 2007 IPADS Example authid_t = Punion { unauth : “-”; id : Pstring(“ ”)}; response_t = Pfun(x:int) Puint16_FW(x) Pwhere y.100 <= y and y < 600; entry_t = Pstruct { client : Pip; “ ”; remoteid : authid_t; “ ”; response : response_t 3; academic : Pcompute(getdomain client = “edu” : bool); }; entry_t Parray(Peor, Peof) kfisher 208

28 Summer School 2007 Example: Popt and Plit Popt t   + unit t   Plit c  scan(absorb({x:char | x = c})) c : char unit  1 +  2 C(e) {x:  | e} absorb(  ) scan(  )

29 Summer School 2007 Example: Pswitch Pswitch e of {e 1 => t 1 ; e 2 => t 2 ; … t def }  ( c.{x:  1 | c = e 1 } + {x:  2 | c = e 2 } + …+  def ) e t i   i (i = 1…n)  +  ’ x.  {x:  |e} t def   def

30 Summer School 2007 Example: Pswitch Pswitch e of {e 1 => t 1 ; e 2 => t 2 ; … t def }  ( c.{x:  1 | c = e 1 } + {x:  2 | c = e 2 } + …+  def ) e t i   i (i = 1…n)  +  ’ x.  {x:  |e} t def   def But this encoding isn’t exactly right, as it parses the data as each branch until it reaches the matching tag.

31 Summer School 2007 Encoding Conditionals if e then t 1 else t 2  ({x:unit | !e} +  1 ) * ({x:unit | e} +  2 ) t 1   1 if e then t 1 else t 2 t 2   2

32 Summer School 2007 Pswitch e { e 1 => x 1 : t 1 … e n => x n : t n t def } Pswitch Revisted Encode Pswitch as a sequence of conditionals ( Pfun (x : int) = if x = e 1 then t 1 else … if x = e n then t n else t def ) e =

33 Summer School 2007 Other Features PacketTypes: arrays, where clauses, structures, overlays, and alternation. DataScript: set types (enumerations and bitmask sets), arrays, constraints, value-parameterized types, and (monotonically increasing labels).

34 Summer School 2007 Other Uses of the Semantics Bug hunting! –Non-termination of array parsing if no progress made. –Inconsistent parse descriptor construction. Principled extensions –Adding recursion (done) –Adding polymorphism (done in PADS/ML) Distinguishing the essential from the accidental –Highlights places where PADS/C sacrifices safety. –Pomit and Pcompute : much more useful than originally thought –Punion : what if correct branch has an error?

35 Summer School 2007 Summary Data description languages are well-suited to describing ad hoc data. No one DDL will ever be right. Different domains and applications will demand different languages with differing levels of expressiveness and abstraction. Our work defines the first semantics for data description languages. For more information, visit


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