A formalism is presented for describing the actions of processors for programming languages—compilers, interpreters, assemblers—and their interactions in complex systems such as compiler-compilers or extendible languages. The formalism here might be used to define and answer such a question as “Can one do bootstrapping using a metacompiler whose metaphase is interpretive?” In addition an algorithm is presented for deciding whether or not a given system can be produced from a given set of component processors.
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