Assigning Meanings to Programs
This paper attempts to provide an adequate basis for formal definitions of the meanings of programs in appropriately defined programming languages, in such a way that a rigorous standard is established for proofs about computer programs, including proofs of correctness, equivalence, and termination. The basis of our approach is the notion of an interpretation of a program: that is, an association of a proposition with each connection in the flow of control through a program, where the proposition is asserted to hold whenever that connection is taken. To prevent an interpretation from being chosen arbitrarily, a condition is imposed on each command of the program. This condition guarantees that whenever a command is reached by way of a connection whose associated proposition is then true, it will be left (if at all) by a connection whose associated proposition will be true at that time. Then by induction on the number of commands executed, one sees that if a program is entered by a connection whose associated proposition is then true, it will be left (if at all) by a connection whose associated proposition will be true at that time. By this means, we may prove certain properties of programs, particularly properties of the form: ‘If the initial values of the program variables satisfy the relation R l, the final values on completion will satisfy the relation R 2’.
KeywordsFree Variable Assignment Statement Deductive System Statement List Verification Condition
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