This text is the first comprehensive presentation of reduction semantics in one volume; it also introduces the first reliable and easy-to-use tool set for such forms of semantics. Software engineers have long known that automatic tool support is critical for rapid prototyping and modeling, and this book is addressed to the working semantics engineer (graduate student or professional language designer). The book comes with a prototyping tool suite to develop, explore, test, debug, and publish semantic models of programming languages. With PLT Redex, semanticists can formulate models as grammars and reduction models on their computers with the ease of paper and pencil. The text first presents a framework for the formulation of language models, focusing on equational calculi and abstract machines, then introduces PLT Redex, a suite of software tools for expressing these models as PLT Redex models. Finally, experts describe a range of models formulated in Redex. PLT Redex comes with the PLT Scheme implementation, available free at http://www.plt-scheme.org/. Readers can download the software and experiment with Redex as they work their way through the book.
The MIT Press
The MIT Press
The MIT Press
The MIT Press
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This book has three parts: The first part is an introduction to small-step semantics, evaluation contexts, abstract machines, and how these are used to model common programming language constructs. The second part is about the tool, PLT Redex, which the authors have built. The third part is a set of case studies from several different authors (not the authors of the remainder of the book).
The first part of the book is really great. It is a brilliant introduction to the field and gives a good overview over the historic development of the field, starting with Landin's ISWIM language and SECD machine. My only (minor) critique is that I would have wished for a broader description of related work - for example, Olivier Danvy's work is surprisingly not mentioned at all, although he has done tons of work in that domain.
The second part - the introduction to PLT redex - is easy to follow, but is a bit bloated for my taste. PLT redex is a nice tool, but it could also be...
This is a very clear and interesting book on semantics. The PLT Redex adds a surprising amount to the study of semantics --- encouraging experimentation and application. I have used the book in the graduate class I teach and have had success.
Great book and tool. A detailed and accessible overview of operational semantics, all brought to life via the PLT Redex implementation.
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