Abstract Syntax for Variable Binders: An Overview

  • Dale Miller
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 1861)


A large variety of computing systems, such as compilers, interpreters, static analyzers, and theorem provers, need to manipulate syntactic objects like programs, types, formulas, and proofs. A common characteristic of these syntactic objects is that they contain variable binders, such as quantifiers, formal parameters, and blocks. It is a common observation that representing such binders using only first-order expressions is problematic since the notions of bound variable names, free and bound occurrences, equality up to alpha-conversion, substitution, etc., are not addressed naturally by the structure of first-order terms (labeled trees). This overview describes a higher-level and more declarative approach to representing syntax within such computational systems. In particular, we shall focus on a representation of syntax called higher-order abstract syntax and on a more primitive version of that representation called λ-tree syntax.


Logic Program Logic Programming Intuitionistic Logic Abstract Syntax Parse Tree 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dale Miller
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Computer Science and Engineering 220 Pond LaboratoryThe Pennsylvania State UniversityUniversity ParkUSA

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