A primary goal of Model Driven Engineering (MDE) is to reduce the cost and effort of developing complex software systems using techniques for transforming abstract views of software to concrete implementations. The rich set of tools that have been developed, especially the growing maturity of model transformation technologies, opens the possibility of applying MDE technologies to transformation-based problems in other domains.
In this paper, we present our experience with using MDE technologies to build and evolve compiler infrastructures in the optimizing compiler domain. We illustrate, through our two ongoing research compiler projects for C and a functional language, the challenging aspects of optimizing compiler research and show how mature MDE technologies can be used to address them. We also identify some of the pitfalls that arise from unrealistic expectations of what can be accomplished using MDE and discuss how they can lead to unsuccessful and frustrating application of MDE technologies.