Symbol table for the C-Compiler

In this assignment we learnt how a symbol table is implemented in a complier. Each new symbol is pushed into the hashtable (implemented as a array of pointers of elements)
of the Symbol table stack. We sum up the ascii values of the characters of the symbol and take the modulo with the MAXHASHSIZE to determine the array index for a particular entry. The problem with this implementation seems to be the constant size of the hashtable we are allocating on entering each new scope. If a scope has lesser number of variables compared to one that has close to MAXHASHSIZE, we’ll unnecessarily waste memory; Check the size of the memory using gdb by

print sizeof(symbolStackTop->symbolTablePtr->hashTable)

and it comes to 128. We defined MAXHASHSIZE as 32, and size of each integer is 4 bytes in my machine (AMD Athlon(tm) Processor L110). So whatever be the number of elements in the block – we always allocate 128 bytes.

Now this brings us to the question – symbolStackTop->symbolTablePtr just assumes different address depending on the order of and number of times enterscope() and leavescope() gets called. So do we free() the stack top (to avoid memory leak), each time we leaveScope()? Then we’ll loose the entires for that particular scope and would not be able to use it later on (it appears we’ll be using it in some other module of the project). If we don’t free(), where do we store the reference for the entry?

Another issue was the data structure Element has a data member key in it. But why do we need it? Our hashing function selects a block in the array, and on collision we resort to chaining. So does it really need a key as a data member?

Lets see what people have to say about this …