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 substantial pragmatic benefits over all earlier ways, in its comprehensibility and accessibility, and particularly within the usefulness of its semantic descriptions of sensible programming languages. during this quantity, Dr Peter Mosses supplies a radical advent to motion semantics, and offers colossal illustrations of its use. Graduates of machine technological know-how or maths who've an curiosity within the semantics of programming languages will locate motion Semantics a so much necessary e-book.

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Each semantic equation defines the result of applying a particular semantic function to any abstract syntax tree whose root node has the indicated form, in terms of 30 Chapter 2. Action Semantic Descriptions applying (perhaps different) semantic functions to the branches of the node. For instance, equation (2) above defines the application of the semantic function execute _ to nodes with four branches, where the first branch is the string "if", the second an expression E, the third "then", and the last branch is a statement S, in terms of evaluate E and execute S.

The semantic equations that define the required 28 Chapter 2. Action Semantic Descriptions semantic functions are shown below in their entirety. The various symbols used in the right hand sides of the equations are explained in Part II. Most of them are rather suggestive of their intended operational interpretation, except perhaps for the combination unfolding . . unfold . . , which represents iteration. For now, we are concerned only with the form of semantic equations, not with the semantics that they specify.

But when this map is complicated, the comprehensibility of the language description suffers considerably. Some programming environments provide templates for constructing and editing abstract syntax trees, and for viewing them graphically, thereby allowing the use of concrete syntax to be avoided. Although this does not justify ignoring concrete syntax altogether when giving a comprehensive description of a programming language, it does underline the importance of abstract syntax, and further motivates that semantics should be defined on the basis of abstract, rather than concrete, syntax.

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