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Programming Languages and Operational Semantics

Maribel Fernández

This book provides a concise introduction to the essential concepts in programming languages, using techniques from operational semantics. It is addressed to undergraduate students, as a complement to programming languages or operational semantics courses.

There are three parts in the book, highlighting three major programming paradigms:

  • imperative languages: the main features of these languages are illustrated using Java, C, Pascal;

  • functional languages: modern languages such as ML and Haskell are used to describe the functional style of programming;

  • logic languages: the last part of the book gives an overview of logic programming using Prolog.

  • After a general description of each family of languages, their semantics are studied using abstract machines and structural operational semantics. The book gives an in-depth analysis of the basic concepts in programming languages instead of a mere survey of languages, privileging the understanding of the basic techniques underlying the semantics of languages over simply describing their properties.

    30 January 2004

    ISBN 0-9543006-3-7

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