Computer Science ETDs


David Mohr

Publication Date



Stella is a domain-specific language that (1) has single thread performance competitive with low-level languages, (2) supports object-oriented programming (OOP) to properly structure the code, and (3) is very easy to use. Instead of prototyping in a high-level language and then rewriting in a lower-level language, Stella is embedded in Python, is transparently usable, retains some OOP features, compiles to machine code, and executes at speed similar to C. Stella's source code is compatible with Python, and allows easy integration of C libraries. Its features are focused on the needs of scientific simulations. Other projects to speed up Python focus on easy integration, and smaller critical sections. In contrast, Stella supports translating larger programs in their entirety, and does not allow interaction with the Python run-time, to ensure predictable performance. My experience developing Stella shows that by carefully selecting language features, high run-time performance can be achieved in a high-level language that has in practice very few restrictions.




python, domain specific language, simulation, compiler

Document Type


Degree Name

Computer Science

Level of Degree


Department Name

Department of Computer Science

First Advisor

Stefanovic, Darko

First Committee Member (Chair)

Hermenegildo, Manuel

Second Committee Member

Tapia, Lydia

Third Committee Member

Lakin, Matthew

Project Sponsors

This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under grants CCF-0829896, CDI-1028238, and CCF-1422840.