A Primer on Operational Semantics
The semantics of a software language assigns meanings to the elements of the language. The field of programming language theory provides rigorous techniques for the definition of semantics which are based on mathematical and logical tools. In this chapter, we introduce the method of operational semantics: inference rules are used to model the stepwise computation of a program. We do not go into the details of the underlying theoretical underpinnings, but the level of formality may help in developing and reasoning about interpreters and other semanticsaware language processing components (e.g., analyzers, optimizers, or refactorings) more systematically. We demonstrate the implementation of operational semantics in Haskell.
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