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Towards a Minimal Object-Oriented Language for Distributed and Concurrent Programming 1

By Matthias Radestock and Susan Eisenbach


The aim of the project was to develop and implement a concurrent object-oriented language for distributed programming. Based on an analysis of the state of the art in the design of objectoriented systems and an abstract but very simple and compact de nition of the object-oriented paradigm, we rst develop a model for objects that is simple and incorporates only essential features. It is shown howinter-object and intra-object concurrency arise naturally from this model. Taking a look at the problems which arise when implementing a concurrent and distributed objectoriented system, this model is then re ned and modi ed. A formal speci cation of the nal model- the basis for the implementation of a system- is presented. The second part of the project was devoted to the design of a language and the precise de nition of its syntax and semantics. The language has only a few constructs. This minimalistic approach makes it easier to reason about it. High-level object-oriented features are not included as primitives but it is shown how these can be modelled using the existing constructs. As concurrency issues were expected to playancentral role it was important to de ne the semantics in a way that enables reasoning about these issues. It was decided to use Milner's-calculus for that purpose. This calculus is well-de ned and provides a convenient wayof modelling concurrency. Astheintention was to design a minimal language it seemed appropriate to describe its semantics in terms of

Year: 1994
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