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1 CS411 Notes 1: IMP and Large Step Operational Semantics A. Demers Jan 2001 This material is primarily from Ch. 2 of the text. We present an imperative language called IMP; wegive a formal definition of its syntax and the first of several operational semantic definitions. 1 The Syntax of IMP Here we present the syntax of an imperative programming language called IMP. IMP is about the simplest imperative language you can imagine. It has a fixed (possibly infinite) set of integer-valued global variables with assignments, conditional commands and while-loops, and that's about all. In particular, it lacks procedures, functions, variable declarations, type declarations, any many other creature comforts you would expect to find in a real" programming language. Despite its simplicity, IMP is Turing-complete, as we shall see later on. The syntax of IMP will be defined by simultaneous definition of the following six syntactic sets: N the (positive and negative) integers. T the (Boolean) truth values, true and false. Loc the set of locations of program variables. Aexp the set of arithmetic expressions. Bexp the set of Boolean expressions. Com the set of commands. We assume the first three syntactic sets numbers, Booleans and locations are already fully specified, and the reader's intuitive understanding will be sufficient. There are just couple of points we should note: 1

2 ffl Technically these are syntactic sets, and we probably should not be identifying N with the integers. In any real programming language there are multiple literals denoting the same number, e.g. `1', `01', `001',.... To simplify the exposition, we shall initially define this possibility away we shall assume elements of N are canonicalized so there is exactly one way to write each (signed) integer. ffl The name Loc suggests numeric memory addresses, but we can use any set that can uniquely identify memory locations; it will be most convenient to assume Loc is an infinite set of program variable names. For the remaining three syntactic sets the arithmetic and Boolean expressions, and the program commands (or statements) we give formation rules describing how to build up elements of each syntactic set from smaller elements of the same set, or from elements of the other syntactic sets. In these rules (as well as in the operational semantics to follow) we use simple notational conventions to associate variables with the sets they range over. N contains n; n 0 ;n 00 ;n 0 ;n 1 ;::: T contains t; t 0 ;t 00 ;t 0 ;t 1 ;:::. Loc the set of locations of program variables. Aexp contains a; a 0 ;a 00 ;a 0 ;a 1 ;::: Bexp contains b; b 0 ;b 00 ;b 0 ;b 1 ;::: Com contains c; c 0 ;c 00 ;c 0 ;c 1 ;::: Using these conventions, the formation rules for IMP are given by the following BNF description: a ::= n j X j a 0 + a 1 j a 0 a 1 j a 0 Λ a 1 b ::= true j false j a 0 = a 1 j a 0» a 1 j:b 0 j b 0 _ b 1 j b 0 ^ b 1 c ::= skip j X ψ a 0 j c 0 ; c 1 j if b 0 then c 0 else c 1 j while b 0 do c 0 These rules have the usual interpretation for BNF definitions (inductive definition of the syntactic sets). That is, they define the least sets (under subset ordering, ) containing the basic sets and closed under the formation rules. 2 Large Step Operational Semantics Here we give the first of several operational semantic definitions we shall discuss for IMP. 2

3 Our first definition is called a Large Step" operational semantics. The basic approach is first to define formally the notion of a program execution configuration intuitively, a pair consisting of some program text to be executed and a memory state from which execution is to begin and then to give asetof logical inference rules that define a reduction relation! between such configurations and (final) memory states. A configuration is related by! to the final state that would result from a terminating program execution starting from that initial configuration. We begin by defining the states: the set ± of (memory) states consists of the total functions ff : Loc! N. Such a function maps each location to a number; intuitively, ff(x) gives the value (or contents) of location X in state ff. We next define a command configuration as a pair hc; ffi, wherec 2 Com and ff 2 ±. We lied just a bit in the first paragraph of this section. There really need to be three different (but related) notions of a configuration. IMP programs do not just execute commands; they also evaluate arithmetic and Boolean expressions. Thus, we require the additional definitions: An arithmetic expression configuration is a pair ha; ffi, where a 2 Aexp and ff 2 ±. A Boolean expression configuration is a pair hb; ffi, where b 2 Bexp and ff 2 ±. Technically, there are also three different reduction relations; but since no confusion should result we overload the symbol! to represent all three of them: ha; ffi!n holds when evaluation of a starting in state ff produces the number n 2 N; hb; ffi!t holds when evaluation of b starting in state ff produces the Boolean value t 2 T; and hc; ffi!ff 0 holds when execution of c starting in state ff terminates in state ff 0. Below we give inference rules to define each of these relations. 2.1 Arithmetic Expression Rules These are the rules for evaluating arithmetic expressions. As noted above, each rule has a conclusion of the form ha; ffi!n 3

4 which you should interpret to mean expression a in state ff evaluates to n. Constants (L1.n) hn; ffi!n Anumber (a numeric literal) evaluates to itself independent of the state. Variables hx; ffi!ff(x) (L1.vref) A variable reference evaluates to the contents of the variable's location in the memory state. Binary Operations ha 0 + a 1 ;ffi!n where n = n 0 + n 1 (L1.add) The condition where n = n 0 + n 1 " should be interpreted to mean that the rule is applicable only if n 0 ;n 1 and n are instantiated by numbers whose values satisfy the stated equality. We can interpret the rule to mean that if the two subterms of a sum evaluate respectively to n 0 and n 1, then the sum evaluates to n 0 + n 1. ha 0 a 1 ;ffi!n where n = n 0 n 1 (L1.sub) This is the analogous rule for subtraction. Finally, ha 0 Λ a 1 ;ffi!n is the analogous rule for multiplication. where n = n 0 Λ n 1 (L1.mul) 2.2 Boolean Expression Rules Evaluation rules for Boolean expressions follow a similar pattern. Boolean Constants htrue;ffi!true (L1.t) (L1.f) hfalse;ffi!false Boolean constants evaluate to themselves without reference to the state. 4

5 Atomic Propositions ha 0 = a 1 ;ffi!true where n 0 = n 1 (L1.eqt) ha 0 = a 1 ;ffi!false ha 0» a 1 ;ffi!true where n 0 6= n 1 where n 0» n 1 (L1.eqf) (L1.leqt) ha 0» a 1 ;ffi!false where n 0 >n 1 (L1.leqf) These rules are all straightforward. Note the conclusions are Boolean expression reduction relations, while the hypotheses require proving arithmetic expression reduction relations. Unary Operations hb; ffi!true h:b; ffi!false (L1.nott) hb; ffi!false h:b; ffi!true (L1.notf) These are the obvious rules relating the value of a unary Boolean expression to the value of its negation. Binary Operations hb 0 ;ffi!t 0 hb 1 ;ffi!t 1 hb 0 ^ b 1 ;ffi!t where t 0 ^ t 1 t (L1.and) hb 0 ;ffi!t 0 hb 1 ;ffi!t 1 hb 0 _ b 1 ;ffi!t where t 0 _ t 1 t (L1.or) These rules relate the value of a binary Boolean expression to the values of its subexpressions. Note most real" programming languages would not evaluate both subexpressions unnecessarily that is, if the left operand of an _ reduced to true or the left operand of an ^ reduced to false, then the right operand would not be evaluated at all. This technique is sometimes called short-circuit evaluation," as opposed to the strict evaluation" performed by our inference rules. In the current version of IMP this optimization has no effect on the result of program execution. The value of a Boolean expression, and the result of executing a program containing Boolean expressions, is the same whether 5

6 strict or short-circuit evaluation is used. Later we will discuss variants of IMP in which expression evaluation can modify the store or can fail to terminate. In such variants, the distinction between strict and non-strict evaluation will be significant. 2.3 Command Execution Rules Before we present rules for command execution, we need some additional notation. Recall the state is a function mapping locations of program variables to their values. Intuitively, assigning a new value to a program variable should have the effect of changing the state function at a single argument point(the location of the affected variable). We express this by the following: ff[m=x](y )= ρ m ff(y ) if Y = X o.w. That is, ff[m=x] is a new state function that is identical to ff except on the argument X, where it returns m rather than ff(x). Null Commands hskip;ffi!ff The skip command has no effect on the state. (L1.skip) Assignments ha; ffi!n hx ψ a; ffi!ff[n=x] (L1.asgn) An assignment updates the state at the specified location to the value of the right-hand-side expression. Sequential Composition hc 0 ;ffi!ff 00 hc 1 ;ff 00 i!ff 0 hc 0 ; c 1 ;ffi!ff 0 (L1.seq) The execution of the sequential composition c 0 ; c 1 can be understood as the consecutive execution of c 0 and c 1 where the intermediate state ff 00 (the result of executing c 0 ) appears explicitly in the instantiated rule. 6

7 Conditionals hb; ffi!true hc 0 ;ffi!ff 0 hif b then c 0 elsec 1 ;ffi!ff 0 (L1.ift) Execution of a conditional whose test evaluates to true is equivalent to execution of the then clause, c 0. hb; ffi!false hc 1 ;ffi!ff 0 hif b then c 0 else c 1 ;ffi!ff 0 (L1.iff) Execution of a conditional whose test evaluates to false is equivalent to execution of the else clause, c 1. Loops The loop rules are intuitively straightforward. hb; ffi!false hwhile b do c; ffi!ff (L1.whf) A loop whose condition evaluates to false terminates immediately with no effect on the store. hb; ffi!true hc; ffi!ff 00 hwhile b do c; ff 00 i!ff 0 hwhile b do c; ffi!ff 0 (L1.wht) Execution of a loop whose condition evaluates to true is equivalent to unrolling" the loop once that is, executing the loop body c and then re-executing the entire loop starting from the new state ff 00 in which the first execution of c terminated. One aspect of this rule is new, and has important consequences. Note that the entire while- loop while b do c from the rule's conclusion appears in the third hypothesis. You should verify that this is new behavior in the following sense: in every other rule, the program pieces appearing in hypothesis configurations are subparts of the program piece in the conclusion configuration, and thus are strictly smaller. Without while loops and the while rule, you could exploit this diminishingsize property to compute an upper bound on the size of any possible proof of a given execution relation. That is, you could come up with an easy-to-compute function f such that no proof tree for hc; ffi!ff 0 could possibly require more than f(jcj) rule instances. In principle, you could write a computer program to enumerate all proof trees up to that size and check each tree against the desired conclusion hc; ffi!ff 0. Such a program would check termination, which isnot possible for a Turing-complete language. Of course, without while commands 7

8 IMP is not Turing-complete, and all loop-free IMP do terminate, so there is no contradiction in any of this. With while loops, there is no recursive bound on the size of the proof tree required to prove a terminating program execution. Any algorithm to construct a proof tree would be guaranteed, on at least some nonterminating programs and inputs, to loop forever, trying to construct an infinite proof tree." 8

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