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An Exegesis of Four Formal Descriptions of ALGOL 60

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Troy AstarteORCiD, Professor Cliff Jones



The programming language ALGOL 60 has been used to illustrate several different styles of formal semantic description. This paper identifies the main challenges in providing a formal semantics for imperative programming languages and reviews the responses to these challenges in four relatively complete formal descriptions of ALGOL 60. The aim is to identify the key concepts rather than get bogged down in the minutiae of notational conventions adopted by their authors. As well as providing historical pointers and comparisons, the paper attempts to draw some general conclusions about semantic description styles.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Astarte T, Jones C

Publication type: Report

Publication status: Published

Series Title: School of Computing Science Technical Report Series

Year: 2016

Pages: 59

Print publication date: 08/09/2016

Acceptance date: 08/09/2016

Report Number: 1498

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

Place Published: Newcastle University