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Operational Semantics: concepts and their expression

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Cliff Jones



One of the earliest approaches to giving formal semantics for programming languages was ``operational semantics''. Enthusiasm for this approach has waxed and waned. The main objective of this paper is to tease apart some concepts involved in writing such operational descriptions and (as separately as possible) to discuss useful notations. A subsidiary observation is that ``formal methods'' will only be used when their cost-benefit balance is positive. Here, learning mathematical ideas that are likely to be unfamiliar to educated software engineers must be considered as a cost; the benefit must be found in understanding, manipulating and recording ideas that are important in software.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Jones C

Publication type: Report

Publication status: Published

Series Title: School of Computing Science Technical Report Series

Year: 2003

Pages: 10

Print publication date: 01/07/2003

Source Publication Date: July 2003

Report Number: 806

Institution: School of Computing Science, University of Newcastle upon Tyne

Place Published: Newcastle upon Tyne