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9.4 How the compiler works

Conceptually the compiler can be viewed as performing a series of separate passes.

The compiler is in fact much more complex than this model might suggest. Machine specific optimizations, for example, can be included in any of the passes. The distinction between passes is also not as simple as that listed above. However, this description is sufficient to allow the programmer to make optimal use of the compiler.

LispWorks User Guide and Reference Manual - 21 Dec 2011