Automated Software Engineering

, Volume 15, Issue 3–4, pp 299–312 | Cite as

Reasoning about programs via operational semantics: requirements for a support system

  • John R. D. Hughes
  • Cliff B. Jones


Reasoning about programs using “axioms” is well established; in this paper we argue that reasoning about a program directly in terms of Structural Operational Semantic (SOS) language descriptions is a viable addition and that this is anyway necessary for the vast majority of languages where there is nothing like a full axiomatic description. Using an SOS description is likely to require detailed proofs whose acceptability to users will depend on suitable support systems. The paper presents a very simple example to illustrate how we can reason about (in fact, develop) a program to prove that it satisfies a specification. The main contribution is to use this trivial example to point out issues in designing an interactive proof system for constructing such proofs.


Structural operational semantics Proofs about programs Tool support 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Computing ScienceNewcastle UniversityNewcastleUK

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