Action Semantics by Peter D. Mosses

By Peter D. Mosses

Motion Semantics is a unique method of the formal description of programming languages. Its abstractness is at an intermediate point, among that of denotational and operational semantics. motion Semantics has huge pragmatic merits over all earlier ways, in its comprehensibility and accessibility, and particularly within the usefulness of its semantic descriptions of real looking programming languages. during this quantity, Dr Peter Mosses offers a radical creation to motion semantics, and offers gigantic illustrations of its use. Graduates of computing device technology or maths who've an curiosity within the semantics of programming languages will locate motion Semantics a such a lot important booklet.

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The semantic equations for a particular semantic function must be exhaustive, and must not overlap. • The standard notation provided by action semantics for semantic entities is called action notation. It includes notation for data and data yielders. • Action notation can be extended ad hoc with new notation for data, and the information processed by actions can be specialized to include particular data. Abbreviations can be introduced. All this is specified algebraically, using an expressive meta-notation that also encompasses grammars and semantic equations, as explained in the next chapter.

Each combinator, on the other hand, expresses a particular mixture of control flow and how the various kinds of information flow. , not simulating one kind of information processing by another. Action notation also incorporates a basic notation for data, including truth-values, rational numbers, lists, and finite maps. The standard symbols used in action notation are ordinary English words. , the items of the given list. , choose a cell then reserve the given cell. ) These simple principles for choice of symbols provide a surprisingly grammatical fragment of English, allowing specifications of actions to be made fluently readable— without sacrificing formality at all!

The use of the angle brackets ( . . ) instead of [ . . ] in equation (6) indicates that we are defining a function on a tuple of nodes, rather than on a single node. , (x (y z)) is the same as ( ( x y) 2), so when tuple notation is used in the left hand side of a semantic equation, we have to ensure it cannot be matched in more than one way to a tuple argument. In equation (6) we insist that S\ should match a single statement, whereas 5 2 may match any sequence of statements; we could just as well interchange the restrictions.

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