nLab
denotational semantics

Denotational semantics

Idea

Denotational semantics is based on the idea that programs and the objects they manipulate are symbolic realizations of abstract mathematical objects, for example,

  • strings of digits realize numbers,

and

  • function subprograms realize (approximately) mathematical functions.

The idea of denotational semantics is thus to associate an appropriate mathematical object, such as a number, a tuple, or a function, with each phrase of the language being used.

A language will be defined syntactically by its specification. The decomposition of phrases in a language into their subphrases is reflected in the abstract syntax of the programming language. A fundamental principle of denotational semantics is that the definition be compositional.

Origins

Denotational semantics originated in the work of Christopher Strachey? and Dana Scott in the late 1960s

References

category: computer science

Revised on February 28, 2014 14:32:06 by Urs Schreiber (89.204.139.212)