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Formal Semantics of ALGOL 60: Four Descriptions in their Historical Context

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


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2018. 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 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 become distracted by the minutiae of notational conventions adopted by their authors. This paper also explores the historical reasons for the development of these descriptions in particular, and gives some general historical background of the groups involved (the IBM laboratories in Vienna and Hursley, and Oxford’s Programming Research Group).

Publication metadata

Author(s): Astarte TK, Jones CB

Publication type: Book Chapter

Publication status: Published

Book Title: Reflections on Programming Systems

Year: 2018

Volume: 133

Pages: 83-152

Online publication date: 11/01/2019

Acceptance date: 02/04/2018

Series Title: Philosophical Studies Series

Publisher: Springer

Place Published: Cham


DOI: 10.1007/978-3-319-97226-8_4

Library holdings: Search Newcastle University Library for this item

ISBN: 9783319972251