Re: Formal semantics for C
On 22-Dec-2001, Matthias Felleisen <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
> [----- The Types Forum, http://www.cis.upenn.edu/~bcpierce/types -----]
> There is also the work by Gurevitch (Michigan) using evolving algebras:
> Yuri Gurevich and James K. Huggins, "The Semantics of the C Programming
> Language". First appeared in Selected papers from CSL'92 (Computer
> Science Logic), Springer Lecture Notes in Computer Science 702, 1993,
> The question that I have is what does it mean to have a semantics of C? In
> my mind, a semantics is a mathematical model that predicts the behavior of
> a program in some programming language.
> Unless you nail down the precise hardware, os specs, compiler specs, I
> can't see how one can possibly specify the semantics of C.
A semantics doesn't need to be deterministic. It can specify a set of
possible behaviours. Indeed for almost all programming languages the
semantics is not deterministic.
The semantics for a programming language can also be parameterized
(i.e. dependent on certain implementation-defined characteristics).
Fergus Henderson <email@example.com> | "I have always known that the pursuit
The University of Melbourne | of excellence is a lethal habit"
WWW: <http://www.cs.mu.oz.au/~fjh> | -- the last words of T. S. Garp.