eager evaluation

Computing Dictionary

eager evaluation definition

Any evaluation strategy where evaluation of some or all function arguments is started before their value is required. A typical example is call-by-value, where all arguments are passed evaluated. The opposite of eager evaluation is call-by-need where evaluation of an argument is only started when it is required.
The term "speculative evaluation" is very close in meaning to eager evaluation but is applied mostly to parallel architectures whereas eager evaluation is used of both sequential and parallel evaluators.
Eager evaluation does not specify exactly when argument evaluation takes place - it might be done fully speculatively (all redexes in the program reduced in parallel) or may be done by the caller just before the function is entered.
The term "eager evaluation" was invented by Carl Hewitt and Henry Baker and used in their paper ["The Incremental Garbage Collection of Processes", Sigplan Notices, Aug 1977. (ftp://ftp.netcom.com/pub/hb/hbaker/Futures.html)]. It was named after their "eager beaver" evaluator.
See also conservative evaluation, lenient evaluation, strict evaluation.
The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010 http://foldoc.org
Cite This Source
Explore Dictionary.com
Previous Definition: eager beaver
Next Definition: eager-beaver
Words Near: eager evaluation
More from Thesaurus.com
Synonyms and Antonyms for eager evaluation
More from Reference.com
Search for articles containing eager evaluation
Dictionary.com Word FAQs

Dictionary.com presents 366 FAQs, incorporating some of the frequently asked questions from the past with newer queries.

Copyright © 2014 Dictionary.com, LLC. All rights reserved.
  • Please Login or Sign Up to use the Recent Searches feature