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25
On the Expressive Power of Programming Languages
 Science of Computer Programming
, 1990
"... The literature on programming languages contains an abundance of informal claims on the relative expressive power of programming languages, but there is no framework for formalizing such statements nor for deriving interesting consequences. As a first step in this direction, we develop a formal noti ..."
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Cited by 132 (4 self)
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The literature on programming languages contains an abundance of informal claims on the relative expressive power of programming languages, but there is no framework for formalizing such statements nor for deriving interesting consequences. As a first step in this direction, we develop a formal notion of expressiveness and investigate its properties. To validate the theory, we analyze some widely held beliefs about the expressive power of several extensions of functional languages. Based on these results, we believe that our system correctly captures many of the informal ideas on expressiveness, and that it constitutes a foundation for further research in this direction. 1 Comparing Programming Languages The literature on programming languages contains an abundance of informal claims on the expressive power of programming languages. Arguments in these contexts typically assert the expressibility or nonexpressibility of programming constructs relative to a language. Unfortunately, pro...
Representing control: a study of the CPS transformation
, 1992
"... This paper investigates the transformation of v terms into continuationpassing style (CPS). We show that by appropriate jexpansion of Fischer and Plotkin's twopass equational specification of the CPS transform, we can obtain a static and contextfree separation of the result terms into "esse ..."
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Cited by 81 (7 self)
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This paper investigates the transformation of v terms into continuationpassing style (CPS). We show that by appropriate jexpansion of Fischer and Plotkin's twopass equational specification of the CPS transform, we can obtain a static and contextfree separation of the result terms into "essential" and "administrative" constructs. Interpreting the former as syntax builders and the latter as directly executable code, we obtain a simple and efficient onepass transformation algorithm, easily extended to conditional expressions, recursive definitions, and similar constructs. This new transformation algorithm leads to a simpler proof of Plotkin's simulation and indifference results. Further we show how CPSbased control operators similar to but more general than Scheme's call/cc can be naturally accommodated by the new transformation algorithm. To demonstrate the expressive power of these operators, we use them to present an equivalent but even more concise formulation of t...
A CurryHoward foundation for functional computation with control
 In Proceedings of ACM SIGPLANSIGACT Symposium on Principle of Programming Languages
, 1997
"... We introduce the type theory ¯ v , a callbyvalue variant of Parigot's ¯calculus, as a CurryHoward representation theory of classical propositional proofs. The associated rewrite system is ChurchRosser and strongly normalizing, and definitional equality of the type theory is consistent, compatib ..."
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Cited by 77 (3 self)
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We introduce the type theory ¯ v , a callbyvalue variant of Parigot's ¯calculus, as a CurryHoward representation theory of classical propositional proofs. The associated rewrite system is ChurchRosser and strongly normalizing, and definitional equality of the type theory is consistent, compatible with cut, congruent and decidable. The attendant callbyvalue programming language ¯pcf v is obtained from ¯ v by augmenting it by basic arithmetic, conditionals and fixpoints. We study the behavioural properties of ¯pcf v and show that, though simple, it is a very general language for functional computation with control: it can express all the main control constructs such as exceptions and firstclass continuations. Prooftheoretically the dual ¯ v constructs of naming and ¯abstraction witness the introduction and elimination rules of absurdity respectively. Computationally they give succinct expression to a kind of generic (forward) "jump" operator, which may be regarded as a unif...
A Generalization of Exceptions and Control in MLlike Languages
 IN PROC. FPCA
, 1995
"... We add functional continuations and prompts to a language with an MLstyle type system. The operators significantly extend and simplify the control operators in SML/NJ, and can be themselves used to implement (simple) exceptions. We prove that welltyped terms never produce runtime type errors and ..."
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Cited by 61 (0 self)
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We add functional continuations and prompts to a language with an MLstyle type system. The operators significantly extend and simplify the control operators in SML/NJ, and can be themselves used to implement (simple) exceptions. We prove that welltyped terms never produce runtime type errors and give a module for implementing them in the latest version of SML/NJ.
Observable Sequentiality and Full Abstraction
 In Proceedings of POPL ’92
, 1992
"... ion Robert Cartwright Matthias Felleisen Department of Computer Science Rice University Houston, TX 772511892 Abstract One of the major challenges in denotational semantics is the construction of fully abstract models for sequential programming languages. For the past fifteen years, research o ..."
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Cited by 39 (5 self)
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ion Robert Cartwright Matthias Felleisen Department of Computer Science Rice University Houston, TX 772511892 Abstract One of the major challenges in denotational semantics is the construction of fully abstract models for sequential programming languages. For the past fifteen years, research on this problem has focused on developing models for PCF, an idealized functional programming language based on the typed lambda calculus. Unlike most practical languages, PCF has no facilities for observing and exploiting the evaluation order of arguments in procedures. Since we believe that such facilities are crucial for understanding the nature of sequential computation, this paper focuses on a sequential extension of PCF (called SPCF) that includes two classes of control operators: error generators and escape handlers. These new control operators enable us to construct a fully abstract model for SPCF that interprets higher types as sets of errorsensitive functions instead of continuous...
A Semantic analysis of control
, 1998
"... This thesis examines the use of denotational semantics to reason about control flow in sequential, basically functional languages. It extends recent work in game semantics, in which programs are interpreted as strategies for computation by interaction with an environment. Abramsky has suggested that ..."
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Cited by 32 (5 self)
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This thesis examines the use of denotational semantics to reason about control flow in sequential, basically functional languages. It extends recent work in game semantics, in which programs are interpreted as strategies for computation by interaction with an environment. Abramsky has suggested that an intensional hierarchy of computational features such as state, and their fully abstract models, can be captured as violations of the constraints on strategies in the basic functional model. Nonlocal control flow is shown to fit into this framework as the violation of strong and weak ‘bracketing ’ conditions, related to linear behaviour. The language µPCF (Parigot’s λµ with constants and recursion) is adopted as a simple basis for highertype, sequential computation with access to the flow of control. A simple operational semantics for both callbyname and callbyvalue evaluation is described. It is shown that dropping the bracketing condition on games models of PCF yields fully abstract models of µPCF.
Delimited Dynamic Binding
, 2006
"... Dynamic binding and delimited control are useful together in many settings, including Web applications, database cursors, and mobile code. We examine this pair of language features to show that the semantics of their interaction is illdefined yet not expressive enough for these uses. We solve this ..."
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Cited by 31 (11 self)
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Dynamic binding and delimited control are useful together in many settings, including Web applications, database cursors, and mobile code. We examine this pair of language features to show that the semantics of their interaction is illdefined yet not expressive enough for these uses. We solve this open and subtle problem. We formalise a typed language DB+DC that combines a calculus DB of dynamic binding and a calculus DC of delimited control. We argue from theoretical and practical points of view that its semantics should be based on delimited dynamic binding: capturing a delimited continuation closes over part of the dynamic environment, rather than all or none of it; reinstating the captured continuation supplements the dynamic environment, rather than replacing or inheriting it. We introduce a type and reductionpreserving translation from DB + DC to DC, which proves that delimited control macroexpresses dynamic binding. We use this translation to implement DB + DC in Scheme, OCaml, and Haskell. We extend DB + DC with mutable dynamic variables and a facility to obtain not only the latest binding of a dynamic variable but also older bindings. This facility provides for stack inspection and (more generally) folding over the execution context as an inductive data structure.
A Formal Semantics for the C Programming Language
, 1998
"... educational and research purposes, provided that the source is acknowledged and the present ..."
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Cited by 23 (7 self)
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educational and research purposes, provided that the source is acknowledged and the present
Isolating Side Effects in Sequential Languages
 In Proceedings of the 22nd ACM SIGPLANSIGACT Symposium on Principles of Programming Languages (POPL’95
, 1995
"... It is well known that adding side effects to functional languages changes the operational equivalences of the language. We develop a new language construct, encap, that forces imperative pieces of code to behave purely functionally, i.e., without any visible side effects. The coercion operator enca ..."
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Cited by 19 (2 self)
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It is well known that adding side effects to functional languages changes the operational equivalences of the language. We develop a new language construct, encap, that forces imperative pieces of code to behave purely functionally, i.e., without any visible side effects. The coercion operator encap provides a means of extending the simple reasoning principles for equivalences of code in a functional language to a language with side effects. In earlier work [36], similar coercion operators were developed, but their correctness required the underlying functional language to include parallel operations. The coercion operators developed here are simpler and are proven correct for purely sequential languages. The sequential setting requires the construction of fully abstract models for sequential callbyvalue languages and the formulation of a weak form of "monad" suitable for expressing the semantics of callbyvalue languages with side effects. 1 Introduction Two pieces of code are...