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Semantics of Programming Languages: Structures and Techniques (Foundations of Computing)

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ISBN-13: 978-0262071437
ISBN-10: 0262071436
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Editorial Reviews


"Gunter's book treats the essence of programming language theory—the span between the "meaning" of a computer program, and the concrete and intricate ways in which programs are executed by a machine. He brings together the established theoretical advances in this range. It is rewarding for someone who has played a small part in these developments to see them laid out so expertly, and with such pedagogic concern; readers new to the field—and many who already know a lot about it—will also be rewarded by following its carefully designed path." -- Robin Milner, University of Edinburgh

"Carl Gunter's Semantics of Programming Languages is a much-needed resource for students, researchers, and designers of programming languages. It is both broader and deeper than previous books on the semantics of programming languages, and it collects important research developments in a carefully organized, accessible form. Its balanced treatment of operational and denotational approaches, and its coverage of recent work in type theory are particularly welcome." -- David MacQueen, Head, Software Principles Department, AT&T Bell Laboratories, Murray Hill, New Jersey

" Semantics of Programming Languages by Carl Gunter, is an outstanding exposition of the mathematical definition of functional programming languages, and of the underlying theory of domains. It combines the clarity needed for an advanced textbook with a thoroughness that should make it a standard reference work." -- John C. Reynolds, Professor of Computer Science, Carnegie Mellon University

" Semantics of Programming Languages is a worthy successor to Stoy and Schmidt. It is an ideal way for researchers in programming languages and advanced graduate students to learn both modern semantics and category theory. I have used a very early draft of a few chapters with some success in an advanced graduate class at Iowa State University. I am glad that Professor Gunter has added more introductory material, and also more detail on type theory. The book has a balanced treatment of operational and fixed point semantics, which reflects the growing importance of operational semantics. The book has excellent pointers into the literature." -- Gary Leavens, Department of Computer Science, Iowa State University

"Carl Gunter's Semantics of Programming Languages is a readable and carefully worked out introduction to essential concepts underlying a mathematical study of programming languages. Topics include models of the lambda calculus, operational semantics, domains, full abstractions, and polymorphism. The tone, selection of material, and exercises are just right -- the reader experiences an appealing and rigorous, but not overwhelming, development of fundamental concepts." -- Neil D. Jones, Professor of DIKU (Computer Science Department), the University of Copenhagen

About the Author

Carl A. Gunter is Professor in the Department of Computer and Information Science at the University of Pennsylvania.


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Product Details

  • Series: Foundations of Computing
  • Hardcover: 441 pages
  • Publisher: The MIT Press (September 14, 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0262071436
  • ISBN-13: 978-0262071437
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 1.1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,134,985 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Benjamin L. Russell on May 11, 2006
Format: Hardcover
As an undergraduate student in the Computer Science major at Yale University during the spring semester of 1992 - 93, I used this textbook in Professor Paul Hudak's class "Computer Science 430b: Formal Semantics."

Personally, I enjoyed using this textbook. It went into great detail into the theory of formal semantics of programming languages, using the lambda calculus. Having come from a background in the Scheme programming language, I immediately found the syntax of the lambda calculus familiar, as it had originally been used as the basis for the LISP programming language, of which Scheme was a variant.

Most of the equations and proofs were clear and relatively easy to understand with reasonable effort, although Professor Hudak did suggest more elegant alternatives for some of the equations.

The simply-typed lambda calculus, introduced in Chapter 2, proved a relatively easy-to-understand beginning basis for grasping the concepts of formal semantics. The book ventured on to discuss category theory, fixed-point semantics, untyped lambda calculus, and domain theory, among many other topics. In particular, I found the discussions on the simply-typed lambda calculus, category theory, and domain theory interesting.

This textbook, together with Paul Hudak's crisp and easy-to-understand teaching style, remain as some of my more pleasant memories from the otherwise brutal and grinding Yale computer science curriculum. Together, they are part of the reason that Scheme, with its basis on the lambda calculus, remains one of my favorite programming languages for the study of programming methodologies.

Benjamin L. Russell
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3 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Asim on February 20, 2003
Format: Hardcover
This book has a deep coverage; should be enjoyed with a lot of patience and suitable cross references.
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