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Transitions and Trees
An Introduction to Structural Operational Semantics

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  • Date Published: June 2010
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521147095

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  • Structural operational semantics is a simple, yet powerful mathematical theory for describing the behaviour of programs in an implementation-independent manner. This book provides a self-contained introduction to structural operational semantics, featuring semantic definitions using big-step and small-step semantics of many standard programming language constructs, including control structures, structured declarations and objects, parameter mechanisms and procedural abstraction, concurrency, nondeterminism and the features of functional programming languages. Along the way, the text introduces and applies the relevant proof techniques, including forms of induction and notions of semantic equivalence (including bisimilarity). Thoroughly class-tested, this book has evolved from lecture notes used by the author over a 10-year period at Aalborg University to teach undergraduate and graduate students. The result is a thorough introduction that makes the subject clear to students and computing professionals without sacrificing its rigour. No experience with any specific programming language is required.

    • Does not require experience with any specific programming language
    • Exercises and examples enable readers to test their own understanding of the material, while answers and hints are available online
    • Material class-tested over 10 years at undergraduate and graduate level
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    Reviews & endorsements

    "Each chapter of the book contains various examples and problems, making it very suitable for teaching purposes. There are more than enough bibliographical directions for starting a thorough study of any of the presented topics. The book does not limit itself to structural operational semantics; it provides introductory information on several related topics. All of these aspects make the book a well-rounded presentation on the subject. The book can be successfully used by students, professionals, and researchers as a good introduction to the semantics of programming languages that will help them describe and reason about the behavior of programs."
    G. Ciobanu, Computing Reviews

    "Transitions and Trees is a detailed, rigorous, and thorough textbook on structural operational semantics on an advanced undergraduate level. The book's strength is the comprehensive coverage of many aspects of structural operational semantics. Transitions and Trees is generally well written and the large number of examples and interspersed exercises help in understanding the material."
    Stephan Falke for SIGACT News

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    Product details

    • Date Published: June 2010
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521147095
    • length: 290 pages
    • dimensions: 246 x 174 x 15 mm
    • weight: 0.53kg
    • contains: 25 b/w illus. 75 tables 85 exercises
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    List of illustrations
    List of tables
    Preface
    About the illustrations
    Part I. Background:
    1. A question of semantics
    2. Mathematical preliminaries
    Part II. First Examples:
    3. The basic principles
    4. Basic imperative statements
    Part III. Language Constructs:
    5. Control structures
    6. Blocks and procedures (1)
    7. Parameters
    8. Concurrent communicating processes
    9. Structured declarations
    10. Blocks and procedures (2)
    11. Concurrent object-oriented languages
    12. Functional programming languages
    Part IV. Related Topics:
    13. Typed programming languages
    14. An introduction to denotational semantics
    15. Recursive definitions
    Appendix A. A big-step semantics of Bip
    Appendix B. Implementing semantic definitions in SML
    References
    Index.

  • Instructors have used or reviewed this title for the following courses

    • Design of Programming Languages
  • Author

    Hans Hüttel, Aalborg University, Denmark
    Hans Hüttel is Associate Professor in the Department of Computer Science at Aalborg University, Denmark.

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