Functional models of procedural programs

Harman, Mark (1992) Functional models of procedural programs. Doctoral thesis, Polytechnic of North London.


This thesis shows how any Procedural Programming notation may be modelled by a purely Functional notation and discusses the applications and implications of this modelling approach.

Existing ad hoc modelling techniques are gathered together within a common framework.

The thesis shows that these techniques break down when the state of computation for a procedural language Is not an environment mapping from identifiers to denotable values. A simple method for overcoming this difficulty is Introduced, demonstrating that models may be constructed for all procedural programming notations.

The modelling approach allows the considerable body of functional reasoning techniques to be brought to bear In the analysis of procedural programs.

The thesis Introduces a simple technique called "Abstraction Projection", with which the programmer may project a model onto a sub domain suitable for a particular analytic task.

Abstraction Projection removes from the model all details irrelevant to the computation of values within this sub domain. The thesis also provides semantic definitions for the terms "Functional Language", "Procedural Language" and "Referential Transparency".

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