[Apologies if you receive multiple copies of this announcement]
BCS-FACS Evening Seminar
Programming Language Description Languages:
From Scott and Strachey to Semantics Online
Professor Peter Mosses
University of Wales Swansea
3 March 2006
start time: 5.45pm
BCS London Offices
The Davidson Building
5 Southampton Street
London WC2E 7HA
Since the middle of the last century, hundreds of programming
languages have been designed and implemented - and new ones
are continually emerging. The syntax of a programming language
can usually be described quite precisely and efficiently using
formal grammars. However, the formal description of its
semantics is much more challenging. Language designers,
implementers, and programmers commonly regard precise semantic
descriptions as impractical and too costly. Research in semantics
has allowed us to reason about software and has provided valuable
insight into the design of programming languages, but few semantic
descriptions of full languages have been published, and hardly
any of these are currently available online.
One of the major approaches to formal semantics is denotational
semantics, developed by Scott and Strachey in the late 1960s.
Why has such a theoretically attractive approach been found
impractical for describing full-scale programming languages?
Does it help much to use monads in denotational descriptions,
or is a more radical change needed? How might efficient online
access to a repository of semantic descriptions be provided?
Could it ever become as easy to generate efficient compilers
and interpreters from semantic descriptions as it already is
to generate parsers from grammars? This talk addresses such
questions, and gives some grounds for optimism about the
development of highly practical, online semantic descriptions.
Refreshments will be served from 5.15pm
The seminar is free of charge and open to everyone. If you would
like to attend, please email Paul Boca[[log in to unmask]] by
>>> 28 February 2006 <<<. Pre-registration is required, as security
at the BCS Offices is tight.
Location of venue:
BCS-FACS Evening Seminars website: