Undergraduate Topics in Computer Science

Introduction to the Theory of Programming Languages

Authors: Dowek, Gilles, Lévy, Jean-Jacques

  • Gives the reader the means to discover the tools to invent, design, and implement programming languages
  • Proposes a unified vision of the different formalisms that permit definition of a programming language
  • Presents a synthesis of what all computer scientists, whatever their speciality, should know
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About this Textbook

The design and implementation of programming languages, from Fortran and Cobol to Caml and Java, has been one of the key developments in the management of ever more complex computerized systems. Introduction to the Theory of Programming Languages gives the reader the means to discover the tools to think, design, and implement these languages. It proposes a unified vision of the different formalisms that permit definition of a programming language: small steps operational semantics, big steps operational semantics, and denotational semantics, emphasising that all seek to define a relation between three objects: a program, an input value, and an output value. These formalisms are illustrated by presenting the semantics of some typical features of programming languages: functions, recursivity, assignments, records, objects, ... showing that the study of programming languages does not consist of studying languages one after another, but is organized around the features that are present in these various languages. The study of these features leads to the development of evaluators, interpreters and compilers, and also type inference algorithms, for small languages.

About the authors

Gilles Dowek is a Professor at École Polytechnique. He is also a Researcher at the Laboratoire d'Informatique de l'École Polytechnique and the Institut National de Recherche en Informatique et en Automatique (INRIA). His research concerns the formalization of mathematics and the mechanization of reasoning. His main contribution is a reformulation of the axiomatic method which provides a central role to the notion of computation. Jean-Jacques Lévy is a senior scientist at the Institut National de Recherche en Informatique et en Automatique and a Professor at École Polytechnique. He has successively worked on operational and denotational semantics of programming languages, on reduction strategies in lambda-calculus and in rewrite systems, on the computer aided design of circuits and on the semantics of concurrency with applications to distribution and mobility.

Reviews

From the reviews:

“The book is divided into eight chapters and an epilogue. … Faculty teaching an undergraduate programming languages course may find this book to be a useful reference. Summing Up: Recommended. Upper-division undergraduates through professionals/practitioners.” (J. Beidler, Choice, Vol. 48 (10), June, 2011)

“It is a short book--of about 100 pages--consisting of eight chapters and an epilogue. The book focuses on the formal description of programming language semantics and compilation using denotational semantics, small-step operational semantics (reduction semantics), and big-step operational semantics (natural semantics). … The book provides a good description of programming language concepts and motivates the necessary theory well. … The book is suitable for both professionals and graduate- and advanced undergraduate-level classes.” (Michael Oudshoorn, ACM Computing Reviews, November, 2011)


Table of contents (9 chapters)

Buy this book

eBook $29.99
price for USA
  • ISBN 978-0-85729-076-2
  • Digitally watermarked, DRM-free
  • Included format: PDF, EPUB
  • ebooks can be used on all reading devices
  • Download immediately after purchase
Softcover $39.95
price for USA
  • ISBN 978-0-85729-075-5
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.
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Bibliographic Information

Bibliographic Information
Book Title
Introduction to the Theory of Programming Languages
Authors
Series Title
Undergraduate Topics in Computer Science
Copyright
2011
Publisher
Springer-Verlag London
Copyright Holder
Springer-Verlag London Limited
eBook ISBN
978-0-85729-076-2
DOI
10.1007/978-0-85729-076-2
Softcover ISBN
978-0-85729-075-5
Series ISSN
1863-7310
Edition Number
1
Number of Pages
XII, 96
Topics