denotational semantics and compilers

9 Jan 86 19:40:00 GMT

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denotational semantics and compilers compilers@ima.UUCP (1986-01-09)
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From: compilers@ima.UUCP
Newsgroups: mod.compilers
Date: 9 Jan 86 19:40:00 GMT
Article-I.D.: ima.136300038
Posted: Thu Jan 9 14:40:00 1986
Date-Received: 11 Jan 86 11:23:59 GMT
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Nf-From: ima!compilers Jan 9 14:40:00 1986

[from ihnp4!philabs!sbcs!debray (Saumya Debray)]

> When I read a denotational semantics, I think of it as an
> operational semantics written in Scheme ...

One big difference between denotational and opeerational semantics is
that the former lets us talk about nonterminating computations in a
useful way. All nonterminating computations are treated as being
equivalent to "bottom", which essentially denotes "having zero
information content"; this isn't possible in operational semantics.
This equivalence forms the basis for strictness analysis, for example,
which enables us to replace call-by-name parameter passing by an
"equivalent" (but much more efficient) call-by-value parameter passing
at compile time.

-Saumya Debray
SUNY at Stony Brook

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