Deriving Pretty-Big-Step Semantics from Small-Step Semantics

  • Casper Bach Poulsen
  • Peter D. Mosses
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 8410)


Big-step semantics for languages with abrupt termination and/or divergence suffer from a serious duplication problem, addressed by the novel ‘pretty-big-step’ style presented by Charguéraud at ESOP’13. Such rules are less concise than corresponding small-step rules, but they have the same advantages as big-step rules for program correctness proofs. Here, we show how to automatically derive pretty-big-step rules directly from small-step rules by ‘refocusing’. This gives the best of both worlds: we only need to write the relatively concise small-step specifications, but our reasoning can be big-step as well as small-step. The use of strictness annotations to derive small-step congruence rules gives further conciseness.


structural operational semantics SOS Modular SOS pretty-big-step semantics small-step semantics big-step semantics natural semantics refocusing 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Casper Bach Poulsen
    • 1
  • Peter D. Mosses
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Computer ScienceSwansea UniversitySwanseaUK

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