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Understanding programming language concepts via Operational Semantics

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Cliff JonesORCiD



The origins of \formal methods" lie partly in language description (although applications of methods like VDM, RAISE or B to areas other than programming languages are probably more widely known). This paper revisits the language description task but uses operational (rather than denotational) semantics to illustrate that the crucial idea is thinking about an abstract model of something that one is trying to understand or design. A \story" is told which links together some of the more important concepts in programming languages and thus illustrates how formal semantics deepens our understanding.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Jones CB

Publication type: Report

Publication status: Published

Series Title: School of Computing Science Technical Report Series

Year: 2007

Pages: 66

Print publication date: 01/08/2007

Source Publication Date: August 2007

Report Number: 1046

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

Place Published: Newcastle upon Tyne