Program Verification

Fundamental Issues in Computer Science

  • Timothy R. Colburn
  • James H. Fetzer
  • Terry L. Rankin

Part of the Studies in Cognitive Systems book series (COGS, volume 14)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xiii
  2. Prologue

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 1-1
    2. Timothy R. Colburn
      Pages 3-31
  3. The Mathematical Paradigm

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 33-33
    2. Robert W. Floyd
      Pages 65-81
    3. C. A. R. Hoare
      Pages 83-96
  4. Elaborating the Paradigm

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 97-97
    2. William L. Scherlis, Dana S. Scott
      Pages 99-133
    3. C. A. R. Hoare
      Pages 135-154
    4. Bertrand Meyer
      Pages 155-189
    5. Peter Naur
      Pages 191-210
  5. Challenges, Limits, and Alternatives

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 211-211
    2. Brian Cantwell Smith
      Pages 275-293
  6. Focus on Formal Verification

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 295-295
    2. Richard A. De Millo, Richard J. Lipton, Alan J. Perlis
      Pages 297-319
    3. James H. Fetzer
      Pages 321-358
  7. Epilogue

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 401-401
    2. James H. Fetzer
      Pages 403-427
  8. Back Matter
    Pages 429-458

About this book


Among the most important problems confronting computer science is that of developing a paradigm appropriate to the discipline. Proponents of formal methods - such as John McCarthy, C.A.R. Hoare, and Edgar Dijkstra - have advanced the position that computing is a mathematical activity and that computer science should model itself after mathematics. Opponents of formal methods - by contrast, suggest that programming is the activity which is fundamental to computer science and that there are important differences that distinguish it from mathematics, which therefore cannot provide a suitable paradigm.
Disagreement over the place of formal methods in computer science has recently arisen in the form of renewed interest in the nature and capacity of program verification as a method for establishing the reliability of software systems. A paper that appeared in Communications of the ACM entitled, `Program Verification: The Very Idea', by James H. Fetzer triggered an extended debate that has been discussed in several journals and that has endured for several years, engaging the interest of computer scientists (both theoretical and applied) and of other thinkers from a wide range of backgrounds who want to understand computer science as a domain of inquiry.
The editors of this collection have brought together many of the most interesting and important studies that contribute to answering questions about the nature and the limits of computer science. These include early papers advocating the mathematical paradigm by McCarthy, Naur, R. Floyd, and Hoare (in Part I), others that elaborate the paradigm by Hoare, Meyer, Naur, and Scherlis and Scott (in Part II), challenges, limits and alternatives explored by C. Floyd, Smith, Blum, and Naur (in Part III), and recent work focusing on formal verification by DeMillo, Lipton, and Perlis, Fetzer, Cohn, and Colburn (in Part IV). It provides essential resources for further study.
This volume will appeal to scientists, philosophers, and laypersons who want to understand the theoretical foundations of computer science and be appropriately positioned to evaluate the scope and limits of the discipline.


algorithms communication formal method formal verification hardware verification programming science verification

Editors and affiliations

  • Timothy R. Colburn
    • 1
  • James H. Fetzer
    • 2
  • Terry L. Rankin
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Computer ScienceUniversity of MinnesotaDuluthUSA
  2. 2.Department of PhilosophyUniversity of MinnesotaDuluthUSA
  3. 3.IBM Health Industry MarketingAtlantaUSA

Bibliographic information

  • DOI
  • Copyright Information Kluwer Academic Publishers 1993
  • Publisher Name Springer, Dordrecht
  • eBook Packages Springer Book Archive
  • Print ISBN 978-94-010-4789-0
  • Online ISBN 978-94-011-1793-7
  • Series Print ISSN 0924-0780
  • Buy this book on publisher's site