Matthias Felleisen and his colleagues in The PLT group are well known for
their books on program design, their work on teaching programming, and for the
research that has led to DrScheme, one of the most powerful and flexible programming
environments ever created. In this book they turn their attention to the subject of
programming language semantics, with happy results. Courses on semantics can easily
become as dry as dust; in contrast, this book is nothing short of revolutionary. The
first part is a very clear explanation of the basic concepts in programming language
semantics, starting with abstract models and moving to progressively more concrete
ones. However, the book really comes alive in the second part, where they use the
PLT Redex language that they have developed to interactively explore language
semantics in the same way that DrScheme allows the interactive exploration of
programs. I believe that this approach will become the standard way of doing
semantics research in the future, and there is no better way to take advantage of it
than to read this book.
About the Author
Robert Bruce Findler is Assistant Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at Northwestern University.
Matthew Flatt is Associate Professor in the School of Computing at the University of Utah.