Synopses & Reviews
The design and implementation of programming languages, from Fortran and Cobol to Caml and Java, has been one of the key developments in the management of ever more complex computerized systems. Introduction to the Theory of Programming Languages gives the reader the means to discover the tools to think, design, and implement these languages. It proposes a unified vision of the different formalisms that permit definition of a programming language: small steps operational semantics, big steps operational semantics, and denotational semantics, emphasising that all seek to define a relation between three objects: a program, an input value, and an output value. These formalisms are illustrated by presenting the semantics of some typical features of programming languages: functions, recursivity, assignments, records, objects, ... showing that the study of programming languages does not consist of studying languages one after another, but is organized around the features that are present in these various languages. The study of these features leads to the development of evaluators, interpreters and compilers, and also type inference algorithms, for small languages.
From the reviews: "The book is divided into eight chapters and an epilogue. ... Faculty teaching an undergraduate programming languages course may find this book to be a useful reference. Summing Up: Recommended. Upper-division undergraduates through professionals/practitioners." (J. Beidler, Choice, Vol. 48 (10), June, 2011)
This book sets unites the various formalisms that define a programming language: 'small steps' operational semantics, 'big steps' operational semantics, and denotational semantics. It illustrates them with typical features of programming languages.
About the Author
Gilles Dowek is a Professor at École Polytechnique. He is also a Researcher at the Laboratoire d'Informatique de l'École Polytechnique and the Institut National de Recherche en Informatique et en Automatique (INRIA). His research concerns the formalization of mathematics and the mechanization of reasoning. His main contribution is a reformulation of the axiomatic method which provides a central role to the notion of computation. Jean-Jacques Lévy is a senior scientist at the Institut National de Recherche en Informatique et en Automatique and a Professor at École Polytechnique. He has successively worked on operational and denotational semantics of programming languages, on reduction strategies in lambda-calculus and in rewrite systems, on the computer aided design of circuits and on the semantics of concurrency with applications to distribution and mobility.
Table of Contents
1. Terms and Relations.- 2. The Language PCF.- 3. From Evaluation to Interpretation.- 4. Compilation.- 5. PCF with Types.- 6. Type Inference.- 7. References and Assignment.- 8. Records and Objects.- 9. Epilogue.- 10. Index.- 11. Bibliography