Higher-Order and Symbolic Computation

, Volume 16, Issue 3, pp 161–202

Formal Foundations of Operational Semantics

  • Jonathan Ford
  • Ian A. Mason


In this paper we report on the results of a sophisticated and substantial use of PVS to establish a recent result in operational semantics. The result we establish is a context lemma for operational equivalence for very wide class of programming languages, known as the CIU theorem. The proof uses the annotated holes technique to represent contexts and compute with them. Thus this paper demonstrates that that it is possible to use PVS as a tool in the development of modern operational techniques, and a productive tool at that. The process of formalizing the CIU theorem revealed several gaps in published proof. The proof of the CIU theorem in PVS took approximately six months to develop. The actual machine checked proof involves the proving of around one thousand facts, and takes PVS slightly less than three hours of CPU time running on a Linux machine configured with 2 GBytes of main memory and four 550 MHz Xeon PIII processors.

λ-calculus contexts operational semantics theorem proving PVS 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jonathan Ford
    • 1
  • Ian A. Mason
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Mathematics, Statistics, & Computing ScienceUniversity of New EnglandArmidaleAustralia

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