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Research at St Andrews

Ott: Effective Tool Support for the Working Semanticist

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

DOI

Author(s)

Peter Sewell, Francesco Zappa Nardelli, Scott Owens, Gilles Peskine, Thomas Ridge, Susmit Sarkar, Rok Strnisa

School/Research organisations

Abstract

It is rare to give a semantic definition of a full-scale programming language, despite the many potential benefits. Partly this is because the available metalanguages for expressing semantics - usually either LATEX for informal mathematics, or the formal mathematics of a proof assistant - make it much harder than necessary to work with large definitions.

We present a metalanguage specifically designed for this problem, and a tool, ott, that sanity-checks such definitions and compiles them into proof assistant code for Coq, HOL, Isabelle, and (in progress) Twelf, together with LATEX code for production-quality typesetting, and OCaml boilerplate. The main innovations are: (1) metalanguage design to make definitions concise, and easy to read and edit; (2) an expressive but intuitive metalanguage for specifying binding structures; and (3) compilation to proof assistant code.

This has been tested in substantial case studies, including modular specifications of calculi from the TAPL text, a Lightweight Java with Java JSR 277/294 module system proposals, and a large fragment of OCaml (around 306 rules), with machine proofs of various soundness results. Our aim with this work is to enable a phase change: making it feasible to work routinely, without heroic effort, with rigorous semantic definitions of realistic languages.

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Details

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationICFP'07 PROCEEDINGS OF THE 2007 ACM SIGPLAN INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON FUNCTIONAL PROGRAMMING
Place of PublicationNEW YORK
PublisherASSOC COMPUTING MACHINERY
Pages1-12
Number of pages12
ISBN (Print)978-1-59593-815-2
DOIs
StatePublished - 2007
Event12th ACM SIGPLAN International Conference on Functional Programming - Freiburg, Germany
Duration: 1 Oct 20073 Oct 2007

Conference

Conference12th ACM SIGPLAN International Conference on Functional Programming
CountryGermany
CityFreiburg
Period1/10/073/10/07

    Research areas

  • Standardization, Verification, Theory, Languages

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ID: 44376615