Natural Semantics on the computer

Dominique Clement
Joelle Despeyroux
Thierry Despeyroux
Laurent Hascoet
Gilles Kahn
INRIA, BP93, 06902 Sophia-Antipolis, France

Proceedings of the France-Japan AI and CS Symposium, 1986 (41 pages)

Abstract: Defining semantics of programming languages with the help of structural axioms and inference rules has been advocated by Plotkin. We call the method Natural Semantics and show that it can be implemented on the computer. Several examples in static semantics, translation and dynamic semantics are worked out in full. They show the power and elegance of the method, as well as its intuitive appeal. All examples discussed in this paper have been mechanically translated into running programs. Hence Natural semantics seems a strong candidate for building semantically-based programming environments.

Keywords: Natural semantics, static semantics, Dynamic semantics, programming environments

Full text (pdf)

  author = {Clement, D. and Despeyroux, J. and Despeyroux, T. and
            Hascoet, L. and Kahn, G.},
  title = {Natural Semantics on the computer},
  booktitle = {K. Fuchi and M. Nivat, editors, proceedings of the
               France-Japan AI and CS Symposium, ICOT, Japan},
  pages = {49-89},
  note = {also Technical Memorandum PL-86-6 Information Processing Society of Japan
          and Rapport de recherche \#0416, INRIA},
  url = "",  
  year = 1986