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Action semantics in retrospect

By D.A. Watt


This paper is a themed account of the action semantics project, which Peter Mosses has led since the 1980s. It explains his motivations for developing action semantics, the inspirations behind its design, and the foundations of action semantics based on unified algebras. It goes on to outline some applications of action semantics to describe real programming languages, and some efforts to implement programming languages using action semantics directed compiler generation. It concludes by outlining more recent developments and reflecting on the success of the action semantics project

Year: 2009
OAI identifier: oai:eprints.gla.ac.uk:46113
Provided by: Enlighten

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  1. (1978). Can programming be liberated from the von Neumann style? A functional style and its algebra of programs, doi
  2. elaborate [[ “var” I:Identifier “:=” E:Expression ]] = evaluate E and allocate a cell then store the given value#1 in the given cell#2 and bind I to the given cell#2 .C ASD of the imperative language with exceptions
  3. evaluate [[ “let” D:Declaration “in”
  4. evaluate [[ “throw” I :Identifier ]] = escape with the exception bound to I .
  5. evaluate [[ “throw” I:Identifier ]] = escape with the exception bound to I .
  6. evaluate [[ I:Identifier “:=” E:Expression ]] = evaluate E then store the given value in the cell bound to I and give the given value . Semantics of declarations • elaborate : Declaration → action [binding storing] .
  7. evaluate [[ I:Identifier ]] = give the value bound to I .
  8. evaluate [[ I:Identifier ]] = give the value bound to I or give the value stored in the cell bound to I .
  9. evaluate [[ L:Literal ]] = give the literal value of L . doi
  10. (1999). JAS: a Java action semantics,
  11. then enact application of (the function bound to I) to the given value .
  12. to closure of abstraction of furthermore bind I2 to the given value hence evaluate E .B ASD of the imperative language (IMP)

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