[SIGCIS-Members] Peter Landin Semantics Seminar. Tim Denvir - Algol 60 @ 60: its place in formal semantics

Troy Astarte Troy.Astarte at newcastle.ac.uk
Mon Oct 5 03:09:51 PDT 2020


The following seminar may be of interest to some of you.

The British Computer Society’s Formal Aspects of Computer Science will have its AGM on 3rd December 2020.

Following the AGM, at 18:00 (GMT) the Peter Landin Semantics seminar will be delivered, this year by Tim Denvir. The title and abstract follow. To register for the event, which will be delivered online, please go to: https://www.bcs.org/events/2020/december/webinar-bcs-facs-2020-agm/. Registration is free.

Algol 60 at 60: its place in formal semantics.
Algol 60, an inspiration for many languages which followed it, Pascal, C, Simula, Java and others, was very carefully defined. Its syntax was defined in BNF, itself a formal language, in the “Revised Report on the Algorithmic Language Algol 60”, generally known as the Algol 60 Report. From the report it is clear that the whole project was guided by formal considerations, even if there was no specific formal semantics in the definition. Peter Landin published a formal semantics for Algol 60 in two parts in 1965 in CACM Volume 8. This was possibly the first formal semantics of a programming language in general use. The talk will describe some of the history of the language’s definition and the background of its authors, and will comment upon Peter Landin’s semantics and Algol’s relation to Church's λ-calculus.


Troy Astarte

School of Computing
Newcastle University


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