HP Labs Technical Reports

Platform Design as Language Design

Grosvenor, David



Abstract: We present an operational semantics of a distributed object language, and use this to illustrate `platform design as language design'. Platforms are systems which can be regarded as language interpreters, allowing the use of language design methods for platform design, and in particular techniques from language semantics can be used to specify a platform. This approach uses a different conception of specification from model-oriented methods (such as VDM and Z), and leads to a different notion of formal development i.e. formal development of language specification. We suggest that the issues of formal development, such as parameterisation and underspecification, arise for this approach and are relevant for platform design. We illustrate these issues using the operational semantics example, and comment on the similarities between operational semantics and VDM.

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