Comparative Metric Semantics of Programming Languages

Nondeterminism and Recursion

  • Franck van Breugel

Part of the Progress in Theoretical Computer Science book series (PTCS)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xix
  2. Introduction

    1. Franck van Breugel
      Pages 1-8
  3. Part I

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 9-9
    2. Franck van Breugel
      Pages 11-17
    3. Franck van Breugel
      Pages 19-49
  4. Part II

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 51-51
    2. Franck van Breugel
      Pages 53-78
    3. Franck van Breugel
      Pages 79-96
    4. Franck van Breugel
      Pages 97-115
  5. Part III

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 117-117
    2. Franck van Breugel
      Pages 119-148
    3. Franck van Breugel
      Pages 149-164
    4. Franck van Breugel
      Pages 165-191
  6. Back Matter
    Pages 193-220

About this book


During the last three decades several different styles of semantics for program­ ming languages have been developed. This book compares two of them: the operational and the denotational approach. On the basis of several exam­ ples we show how to define operational and denotational semantic models for programming languages. Furthermore, we introduce a general technique for comparing various semantic models for a given language. We focus on different degrees of nondeterminism in programming lan­ guages. Nondeterminism arises naturally in concurrent languages. It is also an important concept in specification languages. In the examples discussed, the degree of non determinism ranges from a choice between two alternatives to a choice between a collection of alternatives indexed by a closed interval of the real numbers. The former arises in a language with nondeterministic choices. A real time language with dense choices gives rise to the latter. We also consider the nondeterministic random assignment and parallel composition, both couched in a simple language. Besides non determinism our four example languages contain some form of recursion, a key ingredient of programming languages.


Computer Science Natural Notation communication programming programming language semantics

Authors and affiliations

  • Franck van Breugel
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Computer ScienceMcGill UniversityMontrealCanada

Bibliographic information