Dotty Documentation


class TailRec
extends MiniPhase

A Tail Rec Transformer.

What it does:

Finds method calls in tail-position and replaces them with jumps. A call is in a tail-position if it is the last instruction to be executed in the body of a method. This includes being in tail-position of a return from a Labeled block which is itself in tail-position (which is critical for tail-recursive calls in the cases of a match). To identify tail positions, we recurse over the trees that may contain calls in tail-position (trees that can't contain such calls are not transformed).

When a method contains at least one tail-recursive call, its rhs is wrapped in the following structure:

var localForParam1: T1 = param1
while (<empty>) {
  tailResult[ResultType]: {
    return {
      // original rhs with tail recursive calls transformed (see below)

Self-recursive calls in tail-position are then replaced by (a) reassigning the local vars substituting formal parameters and (b) a return from the tailResult labeled block, which has the net effect of looping back to the beginning of the method. If the receiver is modifed in a recursive call, an additional var is used to replace this.

As a complete example of the transformation, the classical fact function, defined as:

def fact(n: Int, acc: Int): Int =
  if (n == 0) acc
  else fact(n - 1, acc * n)

is rewritten as:

def fact(n: Int, acc: Int): Int = {
  var acc$tailLocal1: Int = acc
  var n$tailLocal1: Int = n
  while (<empty>) {
    tailLabel1[Unit]: {
      return {
        if (n$tailLocal1 == 0)
        else {
          val n$tailLocal1$tmp1: Int = n$tailLocal1 - 1
          val acc$tailLocal1$tmp1: Int = acc$tailLocal1 * n$tailLocal1
          n$tailLocal1 = n$tailLocal1$tmp1
          acc$tailLocal1 = acc$tailLocal1$tmp1
          (return[tailLabel1] ()): Int

As the JVM provides no way to jump from a method to another one, non-recursive calls in tail-position are not optimized.

A method call is self-recursive if it calls the current method and the method is final (otherwise, it could be a call to an overridden method in a subclass). Recursive calls on a different instance are optimized.

This phase has been moved after erasure to allow the use of vars for the parameters combined with a WhileDo. This is also beneficial to support polymorphic tail-recursive calls.

In scalac, if the method had type parameters, the call must contain the same parameters as type arguments. This is no longer the case in dotc thanks to being located after erasure. In scalac, this is named tailCall but it does only provide optimization for self recursive functions, that's why it's renamed to tailrec

[-] Constructors

TailRec ( )

[-] Members

[+] class TailRecElimination
[+] override def phaseName : String

A name given to the Phase that can be used to debug the compiler. For instance, it is possible to print trees after a given phase using:

$ ./bin/dotc -Xprint:<phaseNameHere> sourceFile.scala
[+] override def runsAfter : Set [ String ]

List of names of phases that should precede this phase

[+] override def transformDefDef ( tree: DefDef ) ( implicit ctx: Context ) : Tree