The Evolution of Programming Languages

Course Notes for COMP 348 and COMP 6411
These notes may be copied for students who are taking ei-
ther COMP 348 Principles of Programming Languages or
COMP 6411 Comparative Study of Programming Languages.
First draft: August 1999
Revised: August 2002
c ( Peter Grogono 1999, 2002
Department of Computer Science
Concordia University
Montreal, Quebec
CONTENTS ii
Contents
1 Introduction 1
1.1 How important are programming languages? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1
1.2 Features of the Course . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2
2 Anomalies 3
3 Theoretical Issues 7
3.1 Syntactic and Lexical Issues . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7
3.2 Semantics . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7
3.3 Type Theory . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8
3.4 Regular Languages . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8
3.4.1 Tokens . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9
3.4.2 Context Free Grammars . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10
3.4.3 Control Structures and Data Structures . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10
3.4.4 Discussion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11
4 The Procedural Paradigm 12
4.1 Early Days . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12
4.2 FORTRAN . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14
4.3 Algol 60 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15
4.4 COBOL . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19
4.5 PL/I . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19
4.6 Algol 68 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21
4.7 Pascal . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21
4.8 Modula–2 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22
4.9 C . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23
4.10 Ada . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23
5 The Functional Paradigm 25
5.1 LISP . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25
5.2 Scheme . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29
5.3 SASL . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32
5.4 SML . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32
5.5 Other Functional Languages . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35
CONTENTS iii
6 The Object Oriented Paradigm 36
6.1 Simula . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36
6.2 Smalltalk . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38
6.3 CLU . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 39
6.4 C++ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 43
6.5 Eiffel . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 43
6.5.1 Programming by Contract . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 44
6.5.2 Repeated Inheritance . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 46
6.5.3 Exception Handling . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 47
6.6 Java . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 47
6.6.1 Portability . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 48
6.6.2 Interfaces . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 48
6.6.3 Exception Handling . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 49
6.6.4 Concurrency . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 51
6.7 Kevo . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 51
6.8 Other OOPLs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 52
6.9 Evaluation of OOP . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 53
7 Backtracking Languages 54
7.1 Prolog . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 54
7.2 Alma-0 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 60
7.3 Other Backtracking Languages . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 65
8 Implementation 66
8.1 Compiling and Interpreting . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 66
8.1.1 Compiling . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 66
8.1.2 Interpreting . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 67
8.1.3 Mixed Implementation Strategies . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 68
8.1.4 Consequences for Language Design . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 69
8.2 Garbage Collection . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 69
9 Abstraction 72
9.1 Abstraction as a Technical Term . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 73
9.1.1 Procedures. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 73
9.1.2 Functions. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 73
9.1.3 Data Types. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 74
9.1.4 Classes. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 74
9.2 Computational Models . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 74
CONTENTS iv
10 Names and Binding 78
10.1 Free and Bound Names . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 78
10.2 Attributes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 79
10.3 Early and Late Binding . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 80
10.4 What Can Be Named? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 81
10.5 What is a Variable Name? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 82
10.6 Polymorphism . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 83
10.6.1 Ad Hoc Polymorphism . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 83
10.6.2 Parametric Polymorphism . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 84
10.6.3 Object Polymorphism . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 85
10.7 Assignment . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 85
10.8 Scope and Extent . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 85
10.8.1 Scope . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 85
10.8.2 Are nested scopes useful? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 89
10.8.3 Extent . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 90
11 Structure 91
11.1 Block Structure . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 91
11.2 Modules . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 91
11.2.1 Encapsulation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 93
11.3 Control Structures . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 94
11.3.1 Loop Structures. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 94
11.3.2 Procedures and Functions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 95
11.3.3 Exceptions. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 96
12 Issues in OOP 98
12.1 Algorithms + Data Structures = Programs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 98
12.2 Values and Objects . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 98
12.3 Classes versus Prototypes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 100
12.4 Types versus Objects . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 101
12.5 Pure versus Hybrid Languages . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 101
12.6 Closures versus Classes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 101
12.7 Inheritance . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 102
12.8 A Critique of C++ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 102
13 Conclusion 111
A Abbreviations and Glossary 112
LIST OF FIGURES v
References 116
List of Figures
1 REs and Control Structures . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10
2 REs and Data Structures . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11
3 The list structure (A (B C)) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26
4 Proof of ancestor(pam, jim) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 56
5 Effect of cuts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 57
1 Introduction
What is this course about? “Evolution” sounds like history, but this is not a history course.
In order to understand why programming languages (PLs) are as they are today, and to predict
how they might develop in the future, we need to know something about how they evolved. We
consider early languages, but the main focus of the course is on contemporary and evolving PLs.
The treatment is fairly abstract. We not discuss details of syntax, and we try to avoid unproductive
“language wars”. A useful epigram for the course is the following remark by Dennis Ritchie:
C and Pascal are the same language.
We can summarize the goal of the course as follows: if it is successful, it should help us to find
useful answers to questions such as these.
What is a good programming language?
How should we choose an appropriate language for a particular task?
How should we approach the problem of designing a programming language?
Some important topics, such as concurrency, are omitted due to time constraints.
1.1 How important are programming languages?
As the focus of practitioners and researchers has moved from programming to large-scale software
development, PLs no longer seem so central to Computer Science (CS). Brooks (1987) and others
have argued that, because coding occupies only a small fraction of the total time required for
project development, developments in programming languages cannot lead to dramatic increases
in software productivity.
The assumption behind this reasoning is that the choice of PL affects only the coding phase of the
project. For example, if coding requires 15% of total project time, we could deduce that reducing
coding time to zero would reduce the total project time by only 15%. Maintenance, however, is
widely acknowledged to be a major component of software development. Estimates of maintenance
time range from “at last 50%” (Lientz and Swanson 1980) to “between 65% and 75%” (McKee
1984) of the total time. Since the choice of PL can influence the ease of maintenance, these figures
suggest that the PL might have a significant effect on total development time.
Another factor that we should consider in studying PLs is their ubiquity: PLs are everywhere.
The “obvious” PLs are the major implementation languages: Ada, C++, COBOL, FORTRAN,
. . . .
PLs for the World Wide Web: Java, Javascript, . . . .
Scripting PLs: Javascript, Perl, Tcl/Tk, . . . .
“Hidden” languages: spreadsheets, macro languages, input for complex applications, . . . .
The following scenario has occurred often in the history of programming. Developers realize that
an application requires a format for expressing input data. The format increases in complexity
until it becomes a miniature programming language. By the time that the developers realize this,
it is too late for them to redesign the format, even if they had principles that they could use to
1 INTRODUCTION 2
help them. Consequently, the notation develops into a programming language with many of the
bad features of old, long-since rejected programming languages.
There is an unfortunate tendency in Computer Science to re-invent language features without
carefully studying previous work. Brinch Hansen (1999) points out that, although safe and provably
correct methods of programming concurrent processes were developed by himself and Hoare in the
mid-seventies, Java does not make use of these methods and is insecure.
We conclude that PLs are important. However, their importance is often under-estimated, some-
times with unfortunate consequences.
1.2 Features of the Course
We will review a number of PLs during the course, but the coverage is very uneven. The time
devoted to a PL depends on its relative importance in the evolution of PLs rather than the extent
to which it was used or is used. For example, C and C++ are both widely-used languages but,
since they did not contribute profound ideas, they are discussed briefly.
With hindsight, we can recognize the mistakes and omissions of language designers and criticize
their PLs accordingly. These criticisms do not imply that the designers were stupid or incompetent.
On the contrary, we have chosen to study PLs whose designers had deep insights and made profound
contributions. Given the state of the art at the time when they designed the PLs, however, the
designers could hardly be expected to foresee the understanding that would come only with another
twenty or thirty years of experience.
We can echo Perlis (1978, pages 88–91) in saying:
[Algol 60] was more racehorse than camel . . . . a rounded work of art . . . . Rarely
has a construction so useful and elegant emerged as the output of a committee of 13
meeting for about 8 days . . . . Algol deserves our affection and appreciation.
and yet
[Algol 60] was a noble begin but never intended to be a satisfactory end.
The approach of the course is conceptual rather than technical. We do not dwell on fine lexical
or syntactic distinctions, semantic details, or legalistic issues. Instead, we attempt to focus on the
deep and influential ideas that have developed with PLs.
Exercises are provided mainly to provoke thought. In many cases, the solution to an exercise can
be found (implicitly!) elsewhere in these notes. If we spend time to think about a problem, we are
better prepared to understand and appreciate its solution later. Some of the exercises may appear
in revised form in the examination at the end of the course.
Many references are provided. The intention is not that you read them all but rather that, if you
are interested in a particular aspect of the course, you should be able to find out more about it by
reading the indicated material.
2 Anomalies
There are many ways of motivating the study of PLs. One way is to look at some anomalies:
programs that look as if they ought to work but don’t, or programs that look as if they shouldn’t
work but do.
Example 1: Assignments. Most PLs provide an assignment statement of the form v := E in
which v is a variable and E is an expression. The expression E yields a value. The variable v is not
necessarily a simple name: it may be an expression such as a[i] or r.f. In any case, it yields an
address into which the value of E is stored. In some PLs, we can use a function call in place of E
but not in place of v. For example, we cannot write a statement such as
top(stack) = 6;
to replace the top element of a stack. 2
Exercise 1. Explain why the asymmetry mentioned in Example 1 exists. Can you see any problems
that might be encountered in implementing a function like top? 2
Example 2: Parameters and Results. PLs are fussy about the kinds of objects that can be
passed as parameters to a function or returned as results by a function. In C, an array can be
passed to a function, but only by reference, and a function cannot return an array. In Pascal, arrays
can be passed by value or by reference to a function, but a function cannot return an array. Most
languages do not allow types to be passed as parameters.
It would be useful, for example, to write a procedure such as
void sort (type t, t a[]) ¦. . . .¦
and then call sort(float, scores). 2
Exercise 2. Suppose you added types as parameters to a language. What other changes would
you have to make to the language? 2
Exercise 3. C++ provides templates. Is this equivalent to having types as parameters? 2
Example 3: Data Structures and Files. Conceptually, there is not a great deal of difference
between a data structure and a file. The important difference is the more or less accidental feature
that data structures usually live in memory and files usually live in some kind of external storage
medium, such as a disk. Yet PLs treat data structures and files in completely different ways. 2
Exercise 4. Explain why most PLs treat data structures and files differently. 2
Example 4: Arrays. In PLs such as C and Pascal, the size of an array is fixed at compile-time.
In other PLs, even ones that are older than C and Pascal, such as Algol 60, the size of an array
is not fixed until run-time. What difference does this make to the implementor of the PL and the
programmers who use it?
Suppose that we have a two-dimensional array a. We access a component of a by writing a[i,j]
(except in C, where we have to write a[i][j]). We can access a row of the array by writing a[i].
Why can’t we access a column by writing a[,j]?
It is easy to declare rectangular arrays in most PLs. Why is there usually no provision for triangular,
symmetric, banded, or sparse arrays? 2
Exercise 5. Suggest ways of declaring arrays of the kinds mentioned in Example 4. 2
2 ANOMALIES 4
Example 5: Data Structures and Functions. Pascal and C programs contain declarations
for functions and data. Both languages also provide a data aggregation — record in Pascal and
struct in C. A record looks rather like a small program: it contains data declarations, but it
cannot contain function declarations. 2
Exercise 6. Suggest some applications for records with both data and function components. 2
Example 6: Memory Management. Most C/C++ programmers learn quite quickly that it is
not a good idea to write functions like this one.
char *money (int amount)
¦
char buffer[16];
sprintf(buffer, "%d.%d", amount / 100, amount % 100);
return buffer;
¦
Writing C functions that return strings is awkward and, although experienced C programmers have
ways of avoiding the problem, it remains a defect of both C and C++. 2
Exercise 7. What is wrong with the function money in Example 6? Why is it difficult for a C
function to return a string (i.e., char *)? 2
Example 7: Factoring. In algebra, we are accustomed to factoring expressions. For example,
when we see the expression Ax + Bx we are strongly tempted to write it in the form (A + B)x.
Sometimes this is possible in PLs: we can certainly rewrite
z = A * x + B * x;
as
z = (A + B) * x;
Most PLs allow us to write something like this:
if (x > PI) y = sin(x) else y = cos(x)
Only a few PLs allow the shorter form:
y = if (x > PI) then sin(x) else cos(x);
Very few PLs recognize the even shorter form:
y = (if (x > PI) then sin else cos)(x);
2
Example 8: Returning Functions. Some PLs, such as Pascal, allow nested functions, whereas
others, such as C, do not. Suppose that we were allowed to nest functions in C, and we defined the
function shown in Listing 1.
The idea is that addk returns a function that “adds k to its argument”. We would use it as in the
following program, which should print “10”:
int add6 (int) = addk(6);
printf("%d", add6(4));
2
Exercise 8. “It would be fairly easy to change C so that a function could return a function.” True
or false? (Note that you can represent the function itself by a pointer to its first instruction.) 2
2 ANOMALIES 5
Listing 1: Returning a function
typedef int intint(int);
intint addk (int k)
¦
int f (int n)
¦
return n + k;
¦
return f;
¦
Example 9: Functions as Values. Example 8 is just one of several oddities about the way
programs handle functions. Some PLs do not permit this sequence:
if (x > PI) f = sin else f = cos;
f(x);
2
Exercise 9. Why are statements like this permitted in C (with appropriate syntax) but not in
Pascal? 2
Example 10: Functions that work in more than one way. The function Add(x,y,z)
attempts to satisfy the constraint x +y = z. For instance:
Add(2,3,n) assigns 5 to n.
Add(i,3,5) assigns 2 to i.
2
Example 11: Logic computation. It would be convenient if we could encode logical assertions
such as
∀i . 0 < i < N ⇒ a[i −1] < a[i]
in the form
all (int i = 1; i < N; i++)
a[i-a] < a[i]
and
∃i . 0 ≤ i < N ∧ a[i] = k
in the form
exists (int i = 0; i < N; i++)
a[i] == k
2
Example 12: Implicit Looping. It is a well-known fact that we can rewrite programs that use
loops as programs that use recursive functions. It is less well-known that we can eliminate the
recursion as well: see Listing 2.
2 ANOMALIES 6
Listing 2: The Factorial Function
typedef TYPE . . . .
TYPE fac (int n, TYPE f)
¦
if (n <= 1)
return 1;
else
return n * f(n-1, f);
¦
printf("%d", fac(3, fac));
This program computes factorials using neither loops nor recursion:
fac(3, fac) = 3 fac(2, fac)
= 3 2 fac(1, fac)
= 3 2 1
= 6
In early versions of Pascal, functions like this actually worked. When type-checking was improved,
however, they would no longer compile. 2
Exercise 10. Can you complete the definition of TYPE in Example 2? 2
The point of these examples is to show that PLs affect the way we think. It would not occur to
most programmers to write programs in the style of the preceding sections because most PLs do
not permit these constructions. Working with low-level PLs leads to the belief that “this is all that
computers can do”.
Garbage collection provides an example. Many programmers have struggled for years writing
programs that require explicit deallocation of memory. Memory “leaks” are one of the most common
forms of error in large programs and they can do serious damage. (One of the Apollo missions almost
failed because of a memory leak that was corrected shortly before memory was exhausted, when
the rocket was already in lunar orbit.) These programmers may be unaware of the existence of PLs
that provide garbage collection, or they may believe (because they have been told) that garbage
collection has an unacceptably high overhead.
3 Theoretical Issues
As stated in Section 1, theory is not a major concern of the course. In this section, however, we
briefly review the contributions that theory has made to the development of PLs and discuss the
importance and relevance of these contributions.
3.1 Syntactic and Lexical Issues
There is a large body of knowledge concerning formal languages. There is a hierarchy of languages
(the “Chomsky hierarchy”) and, associated with each level of the hierarchy, formal machines that
can “recognize” the corresponding languages and perform other tasks. The first two levels of
the hierarchy are the most familiar to programmers: regular languages and finite state automata;
and context-free languages and push-down automata. Typical PLs have context-free (or almost
context-free) grammars, and their tokens, or lexemes, can be described by a regular language.
Consequently, programs can be split into lexemes by a finite state automaton and parsed by a
push-down automaton.
It might appear, then, that the problem of PL design at this level is “solved”. Unfortunately,
there are exceptions. The grammar of C++, for example, is not context-free. This makes the
construction of a C++ parser unnecessarily difficult and accounts for the slow development of
C++ programming tools. The preprocessor is another obstacle that affects program development
environments in both C and C++.
Exercise 11. Give examples to demonstrate the difficulties that the C++ preprocessor causes in
a program development environment. 2
3.2 Semantics
There are many kinds of semantics, including: algebraic, axiomatic, denotational, operational,
and others. They are not competitive but rather complementary. There are many applications of
semantics, and a particular semantic system may be more or less appropriate for a particular task.
For example, a denotational semantics is a mapping from program constructs to abstract math-
ematical entities that represent the “meaning” of the constructs. Denotational semantics is an
effective language for communication between the designer and implementors of a PL but is not
usually of great interest to a programmer who uses the PL. An axiomatic semantics, on the other
hand, is not very useful to an implementor but may be very useful to a programmer who wishes to
prove the correctness of a program.
The basic ideas of denotational semantics are due to Landin (1965) and Strachey (1966). The most
complete description was completed by Milne (1976) after Strachey’s death. Denotational semantics
is a powerful descriptive tool: it provides techniques for mapping almost any PL feature into a high
order mathematical function. Denotational semantics developed as a descriptive technique and was
extended to handle increasingly arcane features, such as jumps into blocks.
Ashcroft and Wadge published an interesting paper (1982), noting that PL features that were easy to
implement were often hard to describe and vice versa. They suggested that denotational semantics
should be used prescriptively rather then descriptively. In other words, a PL designer should
start with a simple denotational semantics and then figure out how to implement the language —
or perhaps leave that task to implementors altogether. Their own language, Lucid, was designed
according to these principles.
3 THEORETICAL ISSUES 8
To some extent, the suggestions of Ashcroft and Wadge have been followed (although not neces-
sarily as a result of their paper). A description of a new PL in the academic literature is usually
accompanied by a denotational semantics for the main features of the PL. It is not clear, however,
that semantic techniques have had a significant impact on mainstream language design.
3.3 Type Theory
There is a large body of knowledge on type theory. We can summarize it concisely as follows. Here
is a function declaration.
T f(S x) ¦ B; return y; ¦
The declaration introduces a function called f that takes an argument, x of type S, performs
calculations indicated as B, and returns a result, y of type T. If there is a type theory associated
with the language, we should be able to prove a theorem of the following form:
If x has type S then the evaluation of f(x) yields a value of type T.
The reasoning used in the proof is based on the syntactic form of the function body, B.
If we can do this for all legal programs in a language L, we say that L is statically typed. If L is
indeed statically typed:
A compiler for L can check the type correctness of all programs.
A program that is type-correct will not fail because of a type error when it is executed.
A program that is type-correct may nevertheless fail in various ways. Type checking does not
usually detect errors such as division by zero. (In general, most type checking systems assume that
functions are total : a function with type S → T, given a value of type S, will return a value of
type T. Some commonly used functions are partial : for example x/y ≡ divide(x,y) is undefined
for y = 0.) A program can be type-correct and yet give completely incorrect answers. In general:
Most PLs are not statically typed in the sense defined above, although the number of loopholes
in the type system may be small.
A type-correct program may give incorrect answers.
Type theories for modern PLs, with objects, classes, inheritance, overloading, genericity, dy-
namic binding, and other features, are very complex.
Type theory leads to attractive and interesting mathematics and, consequently, tends to be over-
valued by the theoretical Computer Science community. The theory of program correctness is more
difficult and has attracted less attention, although it is arguably more important.
Exercise 12. Give an example of an expression or statement in Pascal or C that contains a type
error that the compiler cannot detect. 2
3.4 Regular Languages
Regular languages are based on a simple set of operations: sequence, choice, and repetition. Since
these operations occur in many contexts in the study of PLs, it is interesting to look briefly at
regular languages and to see how the concepts can be applied.
3 THEORETICAL ISSUES 9
In the formal study of regular languages, we begin with an alphabet, Σ, which is a finite set of
symbols. For example, we might have Σ = ¦ 0, 1 ¦. The set of all finite strings, including the empty
string, constructed from the symbols of Σ is written Σ

.
We then introduce a variety of regular expressions, which we will refer to as RE here. (The
abbreviation RE is also used to stand for “recursively enumerable”, but in this section it stands
for “regular expression”.) Each form of RE is defined by the set of strings in Σ

that it generates.
This set is called a “regular language”.
1.
g

is RE and denotes the empty set.
2. (the string containing no symbols) is RE and denotes the set ¦ ¦.
3. For each symbol x ∈ Σ, x is RE and denotes the set ¦ x¦.
4. If r is RE with language R, then r

is RE and denotes the set R

(where
R

= ¦ x
1
x
2
. . . x
n
[ n ≥ 0 ∧ x
i
∈ R¦ ).
5. If r and s are RE with languages R and S respectively, then (r + s) is RE and denotes the
set R ∪ S.
6. If r and s are RE with languages R and S respectively, then (rs) is RE and denotes the set
RS (where
RS = ¦ rs [ r ∈ R ∧ s ∈ S ¦ ).
We add two further notations that serve solely as abbreviations.
1. The expression a
n
represents the string aa . . . a containing n occurrences of the symbol a.
2. The expression a
+
is an abbreviation for the RE aa

that denotes the set ¦ a, aa, aaa, . . . ¦.
3.4.1 Tokens
We can use regular languages to describe the tokens (or lexemes) of most PLs. For example:
UC = A+B + +Z
LC = a +b + +z
LETTER = UC +LC
DIGIT = 0 + 1 + + 9
IDENTIFIER = LETTER ( LETTER + DIGIT )

INTCONST = DIGIT
+
FLOATCONST = DIGIT
+
. DIGIT

. . . .
We can use a program such as lex to construct a lexical analyzer (scanner) from a regular expression
that defines the tokens of a PL.
Exercise 13. Some compilers allow “nested comments”. For example, ¦. . . ¦. . .¦ . . .¦ in Pascal or
/ ∗ . . . / ∗ . . . ∗ / . . . ∗ / in C. What consequences does this have for the lexical analyzer (scanner)? 2
3 THEORETICAL ISSUES 10
RE Control Structure
x statement
rs statement; statement
r

while expression do statement
r +s if condition then statement else statement
Figure 1: REs and Control Structures
3.4.2 Context Free Grammars
Context free grammars for PLs are usually written in BNF (Backus-Naur Form). A grammar rule,
or production, consists of a non-terminal symbol (the symbol being defined), a connector (usually
::= or →), and a sequence of terminal and non-terminal symbols. The syntax for the assignment,
for example, might be defined:
ASSIGNMENT → VARIABLE “ := ” EXPRESSION
Basic BNF provides no mechanism for choice: we must provide one rule for each possibility. Also,
BNF provides no mechanism for repetition; we must use recursion instead. The following example
illustrates both of these limitations.
SEQUENCE → EMPTY
SEQUENCE → STATEMENT SEQUENCE
BNF has been extended in a variety of ways. With a few exceptions, most of the extended forms
can be described simply: the sequence of symbols on the right of the connector is replaced by a
regular expression. The extension enables us to express choice and repetition within a single rule.
In grammars, the symbol [ rather than + is used to denote choice.
STATEMENT = ASSIGNMENT [ CONDITIONAL [
SEQUENCE = ( STATEMENT )

Extended BNF (EBNF) provides a more concise way of describing grammars than BNF. Just as
parsers can be constructed from BNF grammars, they can be constructed from EBNF grammars.
Exercise 14. Discuss the difficulty of adding attributes to an EBNF grammar. 2
3.4.3 Control Structures and Data Structures
Figure 1 shows a correspondence between REs and the control structures of Algol-like languages.
Similarly, Figure 2 shows a correspondence between REs and data structures..
Exercise 15. Why might Figures 1 and 2 be of interest to a PL designer? 2
3 THEORETICAL ISSUES 11
RE Data Structure
x int n;
rs struct ¦ int n; float y; ¦
r
n
int a[n];
r

int a[]
r +s union ¦ int n; float y; ¦
Figure 2: REs and Data Structures
3.4.4 Discussion
These analogies suggest that the mechanisms for constructing REs — concatenation, alternation,
and repetition — are somehow fundamental. In particular, the relation between the standard
control structures and the standard data structures can be helpful in programming. In Jackson
Structured Design (JSD), for example, the data structures appropriate for the application are
selected first and then the program is constructed with the corresponding control structures.
The limitations of REs are also interesting. When we move to the next level of the Chomsky
hierarchy, Context Free Languages (CFLs), we obtain the benefits of recursion. The corresponding
control structure is the procedure and the corresponding data structures are recursive structures
such as lists and trees (Wirth 1976, page 163).
4 The Procedural Paradigm
The introduction of the von Neumann architecture was a crucial step in the development of elec-
tronic computers. The basic idea is that instructions can be encoded as data and stored in the
memory of the computer. The first consequence of this idea is that changing and modifying the
stored program is simple and efficient. In fact, changes can take place at electronic speeds, a very
different situation from earlier computers that were programmed by plugging wires into panels.
The second, and ultimately more far-reaching, consequence is that computers can process pro-
grams themselves, under program control. In particular, a computer can translate a program from
one notation to another. Thus the stored-program concept led to the development of programming
“languages”.
The history of PLs, like the history of any technology, is complex. There are advances and setbacks;
ideas that enter the mainstream and ideas that end up in a backwater; even ideas that are submerged
for a while and later surface in an unexpected place.
With the benefit of hindsight, we can identify several strands in the evolution of PLs. These strands
are commonly called “paradigms” and, in this course, we survey the paradigms separately although
their development was interleaved.
Sources for this section include (Wexelblat 1981; Williams and Campbell-Kelly 1989; Bergin and
Gibson 1996).
4.1 Early Days
The first PLs evolved from machine code. The first programs used numbers to refer to machine
addresses. One of the first additions to programming notation was the use of symbolic names rather
than numbers to represent addresses.
Briefly, it enables the programmer to refer to any word in a programme by means of a
label or tag attached to it arbitrarily by the programmer, instead of by its address in
the store. Thus, for example, a number appearing in the calculation might be labelled
‘a3’. The programmer could then write simply ‘A a3’ to denote the operation of adding
this number into the accumulator, without having to specify just where the number is
located in the machine. (Mutch and Gill 1954)
The key point in this quotation is the phrase “instead of by its address in the store”. Instead of
writing
Location Order
100 A 104
101 A 2
102 T 104
103 H 24
104 C 50
105 T 104
the programmer would write
4 THE PROCEDURAL PARADIGM 13
A a3
A 2
T a3
H 24
a3) C 50
T a3
systematically replacing the address 104 by the symbol a3. This establishes the principle that a
variable name stands for a memory location, a principle that influenced the subsequent development
of PLs and is now known — perhaps inappropriately — as value semantics.
The importance and subroutines and subroutine libraries was recognized before high-level program-
ming languages had been developed, as the following quotation shows.
The following advantages arise from the use of such a library:
1. It simplifies the task of preparing problems for the machine;
2. It enables routines to be more readily understood by other users, as conventions
are standardized and the units of a routine are much larger, being subroutines
instead of individual orders;
3. Library subroutines may be used directly, without detailed coding and punching;
4. Library subroutines are known to be correct, thus greatly reducing the overall
chance of error in a complete routine, and making it much easier to locate errors.
. . . . Another difficulty arises from the fact that, although it is desirable to have
subroutines available to cover all possible requirements, it is also undesirable to allow
the size of the resulting library to increase unduly. However, a subroutine can be made
more versatile by the use of parameters associated with it, thus reducing the total size
of the library.
We may divide the parameters associated with subroutines into two classes.
EXTERNAL parameters, i.e. parameters which are fixed throughout the solution of a
problem and arise solely from the use of the library;
INTERNAL parameters, i.e. parameters which vary during the solution of the problem.
. . . . Subroutines may be divided into two types, which we have called OPEN and
CLOSED. An open subroutine is one which is included in the routine as it stands
whereas a closed subroutine is placed in an arbitrary position in the store and can be
called into use by any part of the main routine. (Wheeler 1951)
Exercise 16. This quotation introduces a theme that has continued with variations to the present
day. Find in it the origins of concern for:
correctness;
maintenance;
encapsulation;
parameterization;
genericity;
reuse;
4 THE PROCEDURAL PARADIGM 14
space/time trade-offs.
2
Machine code is a sequence of “orders” or “instructions” that the computer is expected to execute.
The style of programming that this viewpoint developed became known as the “imperative” or
“procedural” programming paradigm. In these notes, we use the term “procedural” rather than
“imperative” because programs resemble “procedures” (in the English, non-technical sense) or
recipes rather than “commands”. Confusingly, the individual steps of procedural PLs, such as
Pascal and C, are often called “statements”, although in logic a “statement” is a sentence that is
either true or false.
By default, the commands of a procedural program are executed sequentially. Procedural PLs
provide various ways of escaping from the sequence. The earliest mechanisms were the “jump”
command, which transferred control to another part of the program, and the “jump and store link”
command, which transferred control but also stored a “link” to which control would be returned
after executing a subroutine.
The data structures of these early languages were usually rather simple: typically primitive values
(integers and floats) were provided, along with single- and multi-dimensioned arrays of primitive
values.
4.2 FORTRAN
FORTRAN was introduced in 1957 at IBM by a team led by John Backus. The “Preliminary
Report” describes the goal of the FORTRAN project:
The IBM Mathematical Formula Translation System or briefly, FORTRAN, will com-
prise a large set of programs to enable the IBM 704 to accept a concise formulation of a
problem in terms of a mathematical notation and to produce automatically a high-speed
704 program for the solution of the problem. (Quoted in (Sammet 1969).)
This suggests that the IBM team’s goal was to eliminate programming! The following quotation
seems to confirm this:
If it were possible for the 704 to code problems for itself and produce as good programs
as human coders (but without the errors), it was clear that large benefits could be
achieved. (Backus 1957)
It is interesting to note that, 20 years later, Backus (1978) criticized FORTRAN and similar
languages as “lacking useful mathematical properties”. He saw the assignment statement as a
source of inefficiency: “the von Neumann bottleneck”. The solution, however, was very similar
to the solution he advocated in 1957 — programming must become more like mathematics: “we
should be focusing on the form and content of the overall result”.
Although FORTRAN did not eliminate programming, it was a major step towards the elimination
of assembly language coding. The designers focused on efficient implementation rather than elegant
language design, knowing that acceptance depended on the high performance of compiled programs.
FORTRAN has value semantics. Variable names stand for memory addresses that are determined
when the program is loaded.
The major achievements of FORTRAN are:
4 THE PROCEDURAL PARADIGM 15
efficient compilation;
separate compilation (programs can be presented to the compiler as separate subroutines, but
the compiler does not check for consistency between components);
demonstration that high-level programming, with automatic translation to machine code, is
feasible.
The principal limitations of FORTRAN are:
Flat, uniform structure. There is no concept of nesting in FORTRAN. A program consists of a
sequence of subroutines and a main program. Variables are either global or local to subrou-
tines. In other words, FORTRAN programs are rather similar to assembly language programs:
the main difference is that a typical line of FORTRAN describes evaluating an expression and
storing its value in memory whereas a typical line of assembly language specifies a machine
instruction (or a small group of instructions in the case of a macro).
Limited control structures. The control structures of FORTRAN are IF, DO, and GOTO. Since
there are no compound statements, labels provide the only indication that a sequence of
statements form a group.
Unsafe memory allocation. FORTRAN borrows the concept of COMMON storage from assembly
language program. This enables different parts of a program to share regions of memory, but
the compiler does not check for consistent usage of these regions. One program component
might use a region of memory to store an array of integers, and another might assume that
the same region contains reals. To conserve precious memory, FORTRAN also provides the
EQUIVALENCE statement, which allows variables with different names and types to share a
region of memory.
No recursion. FORTRAN allocates all data, including the parameters and local variables of sub-
routines, statically. Recursion is forbidden because only one instance of a subroutine can be
active at one time.
Exercise 17. The FORTRAN 1966 Standard stated that a FORTRAN implementation may allow
recursion but is not required to do so. How would you interpret this statement if you were:
writing a FORTRAN program?
writing a FORTRAN compiler?
2
4.3 Algol 60
During the late fifties, most of the development of PLs was coming from industry. IBM dominated,
with COBOL, FORTRAN, and FLPL (FORTRAN List Processing Language), all designed for the
IBM 704. Algol 60 (Naur et al. 1960; Naur 1978; Perlis 1978) was designed by an international
committee, partly to provide a PL that was independent of any particular company and its comput-
ers. The committee included both John Backus (chief designer of FORTRAN) and John McCarthy
(designer of LISP).
The goal was a “universal programming language”. In one sense, Algol was a failure: few complete,
high-quality compilers were written and the language was not widely used (although it was used
4 THE PROCEDURAL PARADIGM 16
Listing 3: An Algol Block
begin
integer x;
begin
integer x;
real y;
x := 2;
y := 3.14159;
end;
x := 1;
end
more in Europe than in North America). In another sense, Algol was a huge success: it became the
standard language for describing algorithms. For the better part of 30 years, the ACM required
submissions to the algorithm collection to be written in Algol.
The major innovations of Algol are discussed below.
Block Structure. Algol programs are recursively structured. A program is a block. A block
consists of declarations and statements. There are various kinds of statement; in particular,
one kind of statement is a block. A variable or function name declared in a block can be
accessed only within the block: thus Algol introduced nested scopes. The recursive structure
of programs means that large programs can be constructed from small programs. In the Algol
block shown in Listing 3, the two assignments to x refer to two different variables.
The run-time entity corresponding to a block is called an activation record (AR). The AR
is created on entry to the block and destroyed after the statements of the block have been
executed. The syntax of Algol ensures that blocks are fully nested; this in turn means that
ARs can be allocated on a stack. Block structure and stacked ARs have been incorporated
into almost every language since Algol.
Dynamic Arrays. The designers of Algol realized that it was relatively simple to allow the size of
an array to be determined at run-time. The compiler statically allocates space for a pointer
and an integer (collectively called a “dope vector”) on the stack. At run-time, when the size
of the array is known, the appropriate amount of space is allocated on the stack and the
components of the “dope vector” are initialized. The following code works fine in Algol 60.
procedure average (n); integer n;
begin
real array a[1:n];
. . . .
end;
Despite the simplicity of the implementation, successor PLs such as C and Pascal dropped
this useful feature.
Call By Name. The default method of passing parameters in Algol was “call by name” and it
was described by a rather complicated “copy rule”. The essence of the copy rule is that the
program behaves as if the text of the formal parameter in the function is replaced by the
text of the actual parameter. The complications arise because it may be necessary to rename
some of the variables during the textual substitution. The usual implementation strategy
4 THE PROCEDURAL PARADIGM 17
Listing 4: Call by name
procedure count (n); integer n;
begin
n := n + 1
end
Listing 5: A General Sum Function
integer procedure sum (max, i, val); integer max, i, val;
begin
integer s;
s := 0;
for i := 1 until n do
s := s + val;
sum := s
end
was to translate the actual parameter into a procedure with no arguments (called a “thunk”);
each occurrence of the formal parameter inside the function was translated into a call to this
function.
The mechanism seems strange today because few modern languages use it. However, the
Algol committee had several valid reasons for introducing it.
Call by name enables procedures to alter their actual parameters. If the procedure count
is defined as in Listing 4, the statement
count(widgets)
has the same effect as the statement
begin
widgets := widgets + 1
end
The other parameter passing mechanism provided by Algol, call by value, does not allow
a procedure to alter the value of its actual parameters in the calling environment: the
parameter behaves like an initialized local variable.
Call by name provides control structure abstraction. The procedure in Listing 5 provides
a form of abstraction of a for loop. The first parameter specifies the number of iterations,
the second is the loop index, and the third is the loop body. The statement
sum(3, i, a[i])
computes a[1]+a[2]+a[3].
Call by name evaluates the actual parameter exactly as often as it is accessed. (This is
in contrast with call by value, where the parameter is usually evaluated exactly once, on
entry to the procedure.) For example, if we declare the procedure try as in Listing 6,
it is safe to call try(x > 0, 1.0/x), because, if x ≤ 0, the expression 1.0/x will not be
evaluated.
Own Variables. A variable in an Algol procedure can be declared own. The effect is that the
variable has local scope (it can be accessed only by the statements within the procedure)
but global extent (its lifetime is the execution of the entire program).
4 THE PROCEDURAL PARADIGM 18
Listing 6: Using call by name
real procedure try (b, x); boolean b; real x;
begin
try := if b then x else 0.0
end
Exercise 18. Why does i appear in the parameter list of Sum? 2
Exercise 19. Discuss the initialization of own variables. 2
Algol 60 and most of its successors, like FORTRAN, has a value semantics. A variable name stands
for a memory addresses that is determined when the block containing the variable declaration is
entered at run-time.
With hindsight, we can see that Algol made important contributions but also missed some very
interesting opportunities.
An Algol block without statements is, in effect, a record. Yet Algol 60 does not provide records.
The local data of an AR is destroyed after the statements of the AR have been executed. If
the data was retained rather than destroyed, Algol would be a language with modules.
An Algol block consists of declarations followed by statements. Suppose that declarations and
statements could be interleaved in a block. In the following block, D denotes a sequence of
declarations and S denotes a sequence of statements.
begin
D
1
S
1
D
2
S
2
end
A natural interpretation would be that S
1
and S
2
are executed concurrently.
Own variables were in fact rather problematic in Algol, for various reasons including the diffi-
culty of reliably initializing them (see Example 19). But the concept was important: it is the
separation of scope and extent that ultimately leads to objects.
The call by name mechanism was a first step towards the important idea that functions can
be treated as values. The actual parameter in an Algol call, assuming the default calling
mechanism, is actually a parameterless procedure, as mentioned above. Applying this idea
consistently throughout the language would have led to high order functions and paved the
way to functional programming.
The Algol committee knew what they were doing, however. They knew that incorporating the
“missed opportunities” described above would have led to significant implementation problems. In
particular, since they believed that the stack discipline obtained with nested blocks was crucial for
efficiency, anything that jeopardized it was not acceptable.
Algol 60 was simple and powerful, but not quite powerful enough. The dominant trend after Algol
was towards languages of increasing complexity, such as PL/I and Algol 68. Before discussing these,
we take a brief look at COBOL.
4 THE PROCEDURAL PARADIGM 19
4.4 COBOL
COBOL (Sammett 1978) introduced structured data and implicit type conversion. When COBOL
was introduced, “programming” was more or less synonymous with “numerical computation”.
COBOL introduced “data processing”, where data meant large numbers of characters. The data
division of a COBOL program contained descriptions of the data to be processed.
Another important innovation of COBOL was a new approach to data types. The problem of type
conversion had not arisen previously because only a small number of types were provided by the
PL. COBOL introduced many new types, in the sense that data could have various degrees of
precision, and different representations as text. The choice made by the designers of COBOL was
radical: type conversion should be automatic.
The assignment statement in COBOL has several forms, including
MOVE X to Y.
If X and Y have different types, the COBOL compiler will attempt to find a conversion from one
type to the other. In most PLs of the time, a single statement translated into a small number of
machine instructions. In COBOL, a single statement could generate a large amount of machine
code.
Example 13: Automatic conversion in COBOL. The Data Division of a COBOL program
might contain these declarations:
77 SALARY PICTURE 99999, USAGE IS COMPUTATIONAL.
77 SALREP PICTURE $$$,$$9.99
The first indicates that SALARY is to be stored in a form suitable for computation (probably, but
not necessarily, binary form) and the second provides a format for reporting salaries as amounts
in dollars. (Only one dollar symbol will be printed, immediately before the first significant digit).
The Procedure Division would probably contain a statement like
MOVE SALARY TO SALREP.
which implicitly requires the conversion from binary to character form, with appropriate formatting.
2
Exercise 20. Despite significant advances in the design and implementation of PLs, it remains
true that FORTRAN is widely used for “number crunching” and COBOL is widely used for data
processing. Can you explain why? 2
4.5 PL/I
During the early 60s, the dominant languages were Algol, COBOL, FORTRAN. The continuing
desire for a “universal language” that would be applicable to a wide variety of problem domains led
IBM to propose a new programming language (originally called NPL but changed, after objections
from the UK’s National Physical Laboratory, to PL/I) that would combine the best features of
these three languages. Insiders at the time referred to the new language as “CobAlgoltran”.
The design principles of PL/I (Radin 1978) included:
the language should contain the features necessary for all kinds of programming;
a programmer could learn a subset of the language, suitable for a particular application,
without having to learn the entire language.
4 THE PROCEDURAL PARADIGM 20
An important lesson of PL/I is that these design goals are doomed to failure. A programmer who
has learned a “subset” of PL/I is likely, like all programmers, to make a mistake. With luck, the
compiler will detect the error and provide a diagnostic message that is incomprehensible to the
programmer because it refers to a part of the language outside the learned subset. More probably,
the compiler will not detect the error and the program will behave in a way that is inexplicable to
the programmer, again because it is outside the learned subset.
PL/I extends the automatic type conversion facilities of COBOL to an extreme degree. For example,
the expression (Gelernter and Jagannathan 1990)
(’57’ || 8) + 17
is evaluated as follows:
1. Convert the integer 8 to the string ’8’.
2. Concatenate the strings ’57’ and ’8’, obtaining ’578’.
3. Convert the string ’578’ to the integer 578.
4. Add 17 to 578, obtaining 595.
5. Convert the integer 595 to the string ’595’.
The compiler’s policy, on encountering an assignment x = E, might be paraphrased as: “Do
everything possible to compile this statement; as far as possible, avoid issuing any diagnostic
message that would tell the programmer what is happening”.
PL/I did introduce some important new features into PLs. They were not all well-designed, but
their existence encouraged others to produce better designs.
Every variable has a storage class: static, automatic, based, or controlled. Some of
these were later incorporated into C.
An object associated with a based variable x requires explicit allocation and is placed on
the heap rather than the stack. Since we can execute the statement allocate x as often as
necessary, based variables provide a form of template.
PL/I provides a wide range of programmer-defined types. Types, however, could not be named.
PL/I provided a simple, and not very safe, form of exception handling. Statements of the
following form are allowed anywhere in the program:
ON condition
BEGIN;
. . . .
END;
If the condition (which might be OVERFLOW, PRINTER OUT OF PAPER, etc.) becomes TRUE,
control is transferred to whichever ON statement for that condition was most recently executed.
After the statements between BEGIN and END (the handler) have been executed, control returns
to the statement that raised the exception or, if the handler contains a GOTO statement, to the
target of that statement.
Exercise 21. Discuss potential problems of the PL/I exception handling mechanism. 2
4 THE PROCEDURAL PARADIGM 21
4.6 Algol 68
Whereas Algol 60 is a simple and expressive language, its successor Algol 68 (van Wijngaarden
et al. 1975; Lindsey 1996) is much more complex. The main design principle of Algol 68 was
orthogonality: the language was to be defined using a number of basic concepts that could be
combined in arbitrary ways. Although it is true that lack of orthogonality can be a nuisance in
PLs, it does not necessarily follow that orthogonality is always a good thing.
The important features introduced by Algol 68 include the following.
The language was described in a formal notation that specified the complete syntax and se-
mantics of the language (van Wijngaarden et al. 1975). The fact that the Report was very
hard to understand may have contributed to the slow acceptance of the language.
Operator overloading: programmers can provide new definitions for standard operators such
as “+”. Even the priority of these operators can be altered.
Algol 68 has a very uniform notation for declarations and other entities. For example, Algol
68 uses the same syntax (mode name = expression) for types, constants, variables, and func-
tions. This implies that, for all these entities, there must be forms of expression that yield
appropriate values.
In a collateral clause of the form (x, y, z), the expressions x, y, and z can be evaluated in
any order, or concurrently. In a function call f(x, y, z), the argument list is a collateral clause.
Collateral clauses provide a good, and early, example of the idea that a PL specification should
intentionally leave some implementation details undefined. In this example, the Algol 68 report
does not specify the order of evaluation of the expressions in a collateral clause. This gives the
implementor freedom to use any order of evaluation and hence, perhaps, to optimize.
The operator ref stands for “reference” and means, roughly, “use the address rather than the
value”. This single keyword introduces call by reference, pointers, dynamic data structures,
and other features to the language. It appears in C in the form of the operators “*” and “&”.
A large vocabulary of PL terms, some of which have become part of the culture (cast, coercion,
narrowing, . . . .) and some of which have not (mode, weak context, voiding,. . . .).
Like Algol 60, Algol 68 was not widely used, although it was popular for a while in various parts
of Europe. The ideas that Algol 68 introduced, however, have been widely imitated.
Exercise 22. Algol 68 has a rule that requires, for an assignment x := E, the lifetime of the variable
x must be less than or equal to the lifetime of the object obtained by evaluating E. Explain the
motivation for this rule. To what extent can it be checked by the compiler? 2
4.7 Pascal
Pascal was designed by Wirth (1996) as a reaction to the complexity of Algol 68, PL/I, and other
languages that were becoming popular in the late 60s. Wirth made extensive use of the ideas of
Dijkstra and Hoare (later published as (Dahl, Dijkstra, and Hoare 1972)), especially Hoare’s ideas
of data structuring. The important contributions of Pascal included the following.
Pascal demonstrated that a PL could be simple yet powerful.
The type system of Pascal was based on primitives (integer, real, bool, . . . .) and mech-
anisms for building structured types (array, record, file, set, . . . .). Thus data types in
Pascal form a recursive hierarchy just as blocks do in Algol 60.
4 THE PROCEDURAL PARADIGM 22
Pascal provides no implicit type conversions other than subrange to integer and integer
to real. All other type conversions are explicit (even when no action is required) and the
compiler checks type correctness.
Pascal was designed to match Wirth’s (1971) ideas of program development by stepwise re-
finement. Pascal is a kind of “fill in the blanks” language in which all programs have a similar
structure, determined by the relatively strict syntax. Programmers are expected to start with
a complete but skeletal “program” and flesh it out in a series of refinement steps, each of
which makes certain decisions and adds new details. The monolithic structure that this idea
imposes on programs is a drawback of Pascal because it prevents independent compilation of
components.
Pascal was a failure because it was too simple. Because of the perceived missing features, supersets
were developed and, inevitably, these became incompatible. The first version of “Standard Pascal”
was almost useless as a practical programming language and the Revised Standard described a
usable language but appeared only after most people had lost interest in Pascal.
Like Algol 60, Pascal missed important opportunities. The record type was a useful innovation
(although very similar to the Algol 68 struct) but allowed data only. Allowing functions in a
record declaration would have paved the way to modular and even object oriented programming.
Nevertheless, Pascal had a strong influence on many later languages. Its most important innovations
were probably the combination of simplicity, data type declarations, and static type checking.
Exercise 23. List some of the “missing features” of Pascal. 2
Exercise 24. It is well-known that the biggest loop-hole in Pascal’s type structure was the variant
record. How serious do you think this problem was? 2
4.8 Modula–2
Wirth (1982) followed Pascal with Modula–2, which inherits Pascal’s strengths and, to some ex-
tent, removes Pascal’s weaknesses. The important contribution of Modula–2 was, of course, the
introduction of modules. (Wirth’s first design, Modula, was never completed. Modula–2 was the
product of a sabbatical year in California, where Wirth worked with the designers of Mesa, another
early modular language.)
A module in Modula–2 has an interface and an implementation. The interface provides infor-
mation about the use of the module to both the programmer and the compiler. The implementation
contains the “secret” information about the module. This design has the unfortunate consequence
that some information that should be secret must be put into the interface. For example, the
compiler must know the size of the object in order to declare an instance of it. This implies that
the size must be deducible from the interface which implies, in turn, that the interface must contain
the representation of the object. (The same problem appears again in C++.)
Modula–2 provides a limited escape from this dilemma: a programmer can define an “opaque” type
with a hidden representation. In this case, the interface contains only a pointer to the instance and
the representation can be placed in the implementation module.
The important features of Modula–2 are:
Modules with separated interface and implementation descriptions (based on Mesa).
Coroutines.
4 THE PROCEDURAL PARADIGM 23
4.9 C
C is a very pragmatic PL. Ritchie (Ritchie 1996) designed it for a particular task — systems
programming — for which it has been widely used. The enormous success of C is partly acciden-
tal. UNIX, after Bell released it to universities, became popular, with good reason. Since UNIX
depended heavily on C, the spread of UNIX inevitably led to the spread of C.
C is based on a small number of primitive concepts. For example, arrays are defined in terms
of pointers and pointer arithmetic. This is both the strength and weakness of C. The number of
concepts is small, but C does not provide real support for arrays, strings, or boolean operations.
C is a low-level language by comparison with the other PLs discussed in this section. It is designed
to be easy to compile and to produce efficient object code. The compiler is assumed to be rather
unsophisticated (a reasonable assumption for a compiler running on a PDP/11 in the late sixties)
and in need of hints such as register. C is notable for its concise syntax. Some syntactic features
are inherited from Algol 68 (for example, += and other assignment operators) and others are unique
to C and C++ (for example, postfix and prefix ++ and --).
4.10 Ada
Ada (Whitaker 1996) represents the last major effort in procedural language design. It is a large
and complex language that combines then-known programming features with little attempt at
consolidation. It was the first widely-used language to provide full support for concurrency, with
interactions checked by the compiler, but this aspect of the language proved hard to implement.
Ada provides templates for procedures, record types, generic packages, and task types. The corre-
sponding objects are: blocks and records (representable in the language); and packages and tasks
(not representable in the language). It is not clear why four distinct mechanisms are required
(Gelernter and Jagannathan 1990). The syntactic differences suggest that the designers did not
look for similarities between these constructs. A procedure definition looks like this:
procedure procname ( parameters ) is
body
A record type looks like this:
type recordtype ( parameters ) is
body
The parameters of a record type are optional. If present, they have a different form than the
parameters of procedures.
A generic package looks like this:
generic ( parameters ) package packagename is
package description
The parameters can be types or values. For example, the template
generic
max: integer;
type element is private;
package Stack is
. . . .
might be instantiated by a declaration such as
4 THE PROCEDURAL PARADIGM 24
package intStack is new Stack(20, integer)
Finally, a task template looks like this (no parameters are allowed):
task type templatename is
task description
Of course, programmers hardly notice syntactic differences of this kind: they learn the correct
incantation and recite it without thinking. But it is disturbing that the language designers
apparently did not consider passible relationships between these four kinds of declaration. Changing
the syntax would be a minor improvement, but uncovering deep semantic similarities might have a
significant impact on the language as a whole, just as the identity declaration of Algol 68 suggested
new and interesting possibilities.
Exercise 25. Propose a uniform style for Ada declarations. 2
5 The Functional Paradigm
Procedural programming is based on instructions (“do something”) but, inevitably, procedural PLs
also provide expressions (“calculate something”). The key insight of functional programming (FP)
is that everything can be done with expressions: the commands are unnecessary.
This point of view has a solid foundation in theory. Turing (1936) introduced an abstract model of
“programming”, now known as the Turing machine. Kleene (1936) and Church (1941) introduced
the theory of recursive functions. The two theories were later shown (by Kleene) to be equivalent:
each had the same computational power. Other theories, such as Post production systems, were
shown to have the same power. This important theoretical result shows that FP is not a complete
waste of time but it does not tell us whether FP is useful or practical. To decide that, we must
look at the functional programming languages (FPLs) that have actually been implemented.
Most functional language support high order functions. Roughly, a high order function is a
function that takes another function as a parameter or returns a function. More precisely:
A zeroth order expression contains only variables and constants.
A first order expression may also contain function invocations, but the results and parameters
of functions are variables and constants (that is, zeroth order expressions).
In general, in an n-th order expression, the results and parameters of functions are n −1-th
order expressions.
A high order expression is an n-th order expression with n ≥ 2.
The same conventions apply in logic with “function” replaced by “function or predicate”. In first-
order logic, quantifiers can bind variables only; in a high order logic, quantifiers can bind predicates.
5.1 LISP
Functional programming was introduced in 1958 in the form of LISP by John McCarthy. The
following account of the development of LISP is based on McCarthy’s (1978) history.
The important early decisions in the design of LISP were:
to provide list processing (which already existed in languages such as Information Processing
Language (IPL) and FORTRAN List Processing Language (FLPL));
to use a prefix notation (emphasizing the operator rather than the operands of an expression);
to use the concept of “function” as widely as possible (cons for list construction; car and cdr
for extracting list components; cond for conditional, etc.);
to provide higher order functions and hence a notation for functions (based on Church’s (1941)
λ-notation);
to avoid the need for explicit erasure of unused list structures.
McCarthy (1960) wanted a language with a solid mathematical foundation and decided that recur-
sive function theory was more appropriate for this purpose than the then-popular Turing machine
model. He considered it important that LISP expressions should obey the usual mathematical laws
allowing replacement of expressions and:
5 THE FUNCTIONAL PARADIGM 26
s s s s
s s s s
E E E
NIL
E E
NIL
c
A
c
c
B
c
C
Figure 3: The list structure (A (B C))
Another way to show that LISP was neater than Turing machines was to write a uni-
versal LISP function and show that it is briefer and more comprehensible than the
description of a universal Turing machine. This was the LISP function eval [e, a], which
computes the value of a LISP expression e, the second argument a being a list of as-
signments of values to variables. . . . Writing eval required inventing a notation for
representing LISP functions as LISP data, and such a notation was devised for the
purpose of the paper with no thought that it would be used to express LISP programs
in practice. (McCarthy 1978)
After the paper was written, McCarthy’s graduate student S. R. Russel noticed that eval could be
used as an interpreter for LISP and hand-coded it, thereby producing the first LISP interpreter.
Soon afterwards, Timothy Hart and Michael Levin wrote a LISP compiler in LISP; this is probably
the first instance of a compiler written in the language that it compiled.
The function application f(x, y) is written in LISP as (f x y). The function name always comes
first: a +b is written in LISP as (+ a b). All expressions are enclosed in parentheses and can be
nested to arbitrary depth.
There is a simple relationship between the text of an expression and its representation in memory.
An atom is a simple object such as a name or a number. A list is a data structure composed of
cons-cells (so called because they are constructed by the function cons); each cons-cell has two
pointers and each pointer points either to another cons-cell or to an atom. Figure 3 shows the list
structure corresponding to the expression (A (B C)). Each box represents a cons-cell. There are
two lists, each with two elements, and each terminated with NIL. The diagram is simplified in that
the atoms A, B, C, and NIL would themselves be list structures in an actual LISP system.
The function cons constructs a list from its head and tail: (cons head tail). The value of
(car list) is the head of the list and the value of (cdr list) is the tail of the list. Thus:
(car (cons head tail)) → head
(cdr (cons head tail)) → tail
The names car and cdr originated in IBM 704 hardware; they are abbreviations for “contents
of address register” (the top 18 bits of a 36-bit word) and “contents of decrement register” (the
bottom 18 bits).
It is easy to translate between list expressions and the corresponding data structures. There
is a function eval (mentioned in the quotation above) that evaluates a stored list expression.
5 THE FUNCTIONAL PARADIGM 27
Consequently, it is straightforward to build languages and systems “on top of” LISP and LISP is
often used in this way.
It is interesting to note that the close relationship between code and data in LISP mimics the von
Neumann architecture at a higher level of abstraction.
LISP was the first in a long line of functional programming (FP) languages. Its principal contri-
butions are listed below.
Names. In procedural PLs, a name denotes a storage location (value semantics). In LISP, a name
is a reference to an object, not a location (reference semantics). In the Algol sequence
int n;
n := 2;
n := 3;
the declaration int n; assigns a name to a location, or “box”, that can contain an integer.
The next two statements put different values, first 2 then 3, into that box. In the LISP
sequence
(progn
(setq x (car structure))
(setq x (cdr structure)))
x becomes a reference first to (car structure) and then to (cdr structure). The two
objects have different memory addresses. A consequence of the use of names as references
to objects is that eventually there will be objects for which there are no references: these
objects are “garbage” and must be automatically reclaimed if the interpreter is not to run
out of memory. The alternative — requiring the programmer to explicitly deallocate old cells
— would add considerable complexity to the task of writing LISP programs. Nevertheless, the
decision to include automatic garbage collection (in 1958!) was courageous and influential.
A PL in which variable names are references to objects in memory is said to have reference
semantics. All FPLs and most OOPLs have reference semantics.
Note that reference semantics is not the same as “pointers” in languages such as Pascal and
C. A pointer variable stands for a location in memory and therefore has value semantics; it
just so happens that the location is used to store the address of another object.
Lambda. LISP uses “lambda expressions”, based on Church’s λ-calculus, to denote functions. For
example, the function that squares its argument is written
(lambda (x) (* x x))
by analogy to Church’s f = λx. x
2
. We can apply a lambda expression to an argument to
obtain the value of a function application. For example, the expression
((lambda (x) (* x x)) 4)
yields the value 16.
However, the lambda expression itself cannot be evaluated. Consequently, LISP had to resort
to programming tricks to make higher order functions work. For example, if we want to pass
the squaring function as an argument to another function, we must wrap it up in a “special
form” called function:
(f (function (lambda (x) (* x x))) . . . .)
Similar complexities arise when a function returns another function as a result.
5 THE FUNCTIONAL PARADIGM 28
Listing 7: Static and Dynamic Binding
int x = 4; // 1
void f()
¦
printf("%d", x);
¦
void main ()
¦
int x = 7; // 2
f();
¦
Dynamic Scoping. Dynamic scoping was an “accidental” feature of LISP: it arose as a side-effect
of the implementation of the look-up table for variable values used by the interpreter. The
C-like program in Listing 7 illustrates the difference between static and dynamic scoping. In
C, the variable x in the body of the function f is a use of the global variable x defined in the
first line of the program. Since the value of this variable is 4, the program prints 4. (Do not
confuse dynamic scoping with dynamic binding!)
A LISP interpreter constructs its environment as it interprets. The environment behaves like
a stack (last in, first out). The initial environment is empty, which we denote by '`. After
interpreting the LISP equivalent of the line commented with “1”, the environment contains
the global binding for x: 'x = 4`. When the interpreter evaluates the function main, it inserts
the local x into the environment, obtaining 'x = 7, x = 4`. The interpreter then evaluates the
call f(); when it encounters x in the body of f, it uses the first value of x in the environment
and prints 7.
Although dynamic scoping is natural for an interpreter, it is inefficient for a compiler. In-
terpreters are slow anyway, and the overhead of searching a linear list for a variable value
just makes them slightly slower still. A compiler, however, has more efficient ways of ac-
cessing variables, and forcing it to maintain a linear list would be unacceptably inefficient.
Consequently, early LISP systems had an unfortunate discrepancy: the interpreters used dy-
namic scoping and the compilers used static scoping. Some programs gave one answer when
interpreted and another answer when compiled!
Exercise 26. Describe a situation in which dynamic scoping is useful. 2
Interpretation. LISP was the first major language to be interpreted. Originally, the LISP inter-
preter behaved as a calculator: it evaluated expressions entered by the user, but its internal
state did not change. It was not long before a form for defining functions was introduced
(originally called define, later changed to defun) to enable users to add their own functions
to the list of built-in functions.
A LISP program has no real structure. On paper, a program is a list of function definitions;
the functions may invoke one another with either direct or indirect recursion. At run-time, a
program is the same list of functions, translated into internal form, added to the interpreter.
The current dialect of LISP is called Common LISP (Steele et al. 1990). It is a much larger and
more complex language than the original LISP and includes many features of Scheme (described
below). Common LISP provides static scoping with dynamic scoping as an option.
5 THE FUNCTIONAL PARADIGM 29
Listing 8: Defining car
(cond
((eq (car expr) ’car)
(car (cadr expr)) )
. . . .
Listing 9: Factorial with functions
(define factorial
(lambda (n) (if (= n 0)
1
(* n (factorial (- n 1))))))
Exercise 27. The LISP interpreter, written in LISP, contains expressions such as the one shown
in Listing 8. We might paraphrase this as: “if the car of the expression that we are currently
evaluating is car, the value of the expression is obtained by taking the car of the cadr (that is,
the second term) of the expression”. How much can you learn about a language by reading an
interpreter written in the language? What can you not learn? 2
5.2 Scheme
Scheme was designed by Guy L. Steele Jr. and Gerald Jay Sussman (1975). It is very similar to
LISP in both syntax and semantics, but it corrects some of the errors of LISP and is both simpler
and more consistent.
The starting point of Scheme was an attempt by Steele and Sussman to understand Carl Hewitt’s
theory of actors as a model of computation. The model was object oriented and influenced by
Smalltalk (see Section 6.2). Steele and Sussman implemented the actor model using a small LISP
interpreter. The interpreter provided lexical scoping, a lambda operation for creating functions, and
an alpha operation for creating actors. For example, the factorial function could be represented
either as a function, as in Listing 9, or as an actor, as in Listing 10. Implementing the interpreter
brought an odd fact to light: the interpreter’s code for handling alpha was identical to the code
for handling lambda! This indicated that closures — the objects created by evaluating lambda —
were useful for both high order functional programming and object oriented programming (Steele
1996).
LISP ducks the question “what is a function?” It provides lambda notation for functions, but a
lambda expression can only be applied to arguments, not evaluated itself. Scheme provides an
answer to this question: the value of a function is a closure. Thus in Scheme we can write both
(define num 6)
which binds the value 6 to the name num and
Listing 10: Factorial with actors
(define actorial
(alpha (n c) (if (= n 0)
(c 1)
(actorial (- n 1) (alpha (f) (c (* f n)))))))
5 THE FUNCTIONAL PARADIGM 30
Listing 11: Differentiating in Scheme
(define derive (lambda (f dx)
(lambda (x)
(/ (- (f (+ x dx)) (f x)) dx))))
(define square (lambda (x) (* x x)))
(define Dsq (derive sq 0.001))
(define square (lambda (x) (* x x)))
which binds the squaring function to the name square. (Scheme actually provides an abbreviated
form of this definition, to spare programmers the trouble of writing lambda all the time, but the
form shown is accepted by the Scheme compiler and we use it in these notes.)
Since the Scheme interpreter accepts a series of definitions, as in LISP, it is important to understand
the effect of the following sequence:
(define n 4)
(define f (lambda () n))
(define n 7)
(f)
The final expression calls the function f that has just been defined. The value returned is the
value of n, but which value, 4 or 7? If this sequence could be written in LISP, the result would
be 7, which is the value of n in the environment when (f) is evaluated. Scheme, however, uses
static scoping. The closure created by evaluating the definition of f includes all name bindings
in effect at the time of definition. Consequently, a Scheme interpreter yields 4 as the value of
(f). The answer to the question “what is a function?” is “a function is an expression (the body of
the function) and an environment containing the values of all variables accessible at the point of
definition”.
Closures in Scheme are ordinary values. They can be passed as arguments and returned by func-
tions. (Both are possible in LISP, but awkward because they require special forms.)
Example 14: Differentiating. Differentiation is a function that maps functions to functions.
Approximately (Abelson and Sussman 1985):
Df(x) =
f(x +dx) −f(x)
dx
We define the Scheme functions shown in Listing 11. After these definitions have been evaluated,
Dsq is, effectively, the function
f(x) =
(x + 0.001)
2
−x
2
0.001
= 2x +
We can apply Dsq like this: (->” is the Scheme prompt):
-> (Dsq 3)
6.001
2
Scheme avoids the problem of incompatibility between interpretation and compilation by being
statically scoped, whether it is interpreted or compiled. The interpreter uses a more elaborate data
5 THE FUNCTIONAL PARADIGM 31
Listing 12: Banking in Scheme
(define (make-account balance)
(define (withdraw amount)
(if (>= balance amount)
(sequence (set! balance (- balance amount))
balance)
("Insufficient funds"))
(define (deposit amount)
(set! balance (+ balance amount))
balance)
(define (dispatch m)
(cond
((eq? m ’withdraw) withdraw)
((eq? m ’deposit) deposit)
(else (error "Unrecognized transaction" m))))
dispatch)
Listing 13: Using the account
-> ((acc ’withdraw) 50)
50
-> ((acc ’withdraw) 100)
Insufficient funds
-> ((acc ’deposit) 100)
150
structure for storing values of local variables to obtain the effect of static scoping. In addition to
full support for high order functions, Scheme introduced continuations.
Although Scheme is primarily a functional language, side-effects are allowed. In particular, set!
changes the value of a variable. (The “!” is a reminder that set! has side-effects.)
Example 15: Banking in Scheme. The function shown in Listing 12 shows how side-effects
can be used to define an object with changing state (Abelson and Sussman 1985, page 173). The
following dialog shows how banking works in Scheme. The first step is to create an account.
-> (define acc (make-account 100))
The value of acc is a closure consisting of the function dispatch together with an environment in
which balance = 100. The function dispatch takes a single argument which must be withdraw
or deposit; it returns one of the functions withdraw or deposit which, in turn, takes an amount
as argument. The value returned is the new balance. Listing 13 shows some simple applications of
acc. The quote sign (’) is required to prevent the evaluation of withdraw or deposit. 2
This example demonstrates that with higher order functions and control of state (by side-effects)
we can obtain a form of OOP. The limitation of this approach, when compared to OOPLs such as
Simula and Smalltalk (described in Section 6) is that we can define only one function at a time.
This function must be used to dispatch messages to other, local, functions.
5 THE FUNCTIONAL PARADIGM 32
5.3 SASL
SASL (St. Andrew’s Symbolic Language) was introduced by David Turner (1976). It has an Algol-
like syntax and is of interest because the compiler translates the source code into a combinator
expression which is then processed by graph reduction (Turner 1979). Turner subsequently designed
KRC (Kent Recursive Calculator) (1981) and Miranda (1985), all of which are implemented with
combinator reduction.
Combinator reduction implements call by name (the default method for passing parameters in Algol
60) but with an optimization. If the parameter is not needed in the function, it is not evaluated, as
in Algol 60. If it is needed one or more times, it is evaluated exactly once. Since SASL expressions
do not have side-effects, evaluating an expression more than once will always give the same result.
Thus combinator reduction is (in this sense) the most efficient way to pass parameters to functions.
Evaluating an expression only when it is needed, and never more than once, is called call by need
or lazy evaluation.
The following examples use SASL notation. The expression x::xs denotes a list with first element
(head) x and remaining elements (tail) xs. The definition
nums(n) = n::nums(n+1)
apparently defines an infinite list:
nums(0) = 0::nums(1) = 0::1::nums(2) = . . . .
The function second returns the second element of a list. In SASL, we can define it like this:
second (x::y::xs) = y
Although nums(0) is an “infinite” list, we can find its second element in SASL:
second(nums(0)) = second(0::nums(1)) = second(0::1::nums(2)) = 1
This works because SASL evaluates a parameter only when its value is needed for the calculation
to proceed. In this example, as soon as the argument of second is in the form 0::1::. . . ., the
required result is known.
Call by need is the only method of passing arguments in SASL but it occurs as a special case in
other languages. If we consider if as a function, so that the expression
if P then X else Y
is a fancy way of writing if(P,X,Y), then we see that if must use call by need for its second and
third arguments. If it did not, we would not be able to write expressions such as
if x = 0 then 1 else 1/x
In C, the functions && (AND) and [[ (OR) are defined as follows:
X && Y ≡ if X then Y else false
X [[ Y ≡ if X then true else Y
These definitions provide the effect of lazy evaluation and allow us to write expressions such as
if (p != NULL && p->f > 0) . . . .
5.4 SML
SML (Milner, Tofte, and Harper 1990; Milner and Tofte 1991) was designed as a “metalanguage”
(ML) for reasoning about programs as part of the Edinburgh Logic for Computable Functions
5 THE FUNCTIONAL PARADIGM 33
Listing 14: Function composition
- infix o;
- fun (f o g) x = g (f x);
val o = fn : (’a -> ’b) * (’b -> ’c) -> ’a -> ’c
- val quad = sq o sq;
val quad = fn : real -> real
- quad 3.0;
val it = 81.0 : real
(LCF) project. The language survived after the rest of the project was abandoned and became
“standard” ML, or SML. The distinguishing feature of SML is that it is statically typed in the
sense of Section 3.3 and that most types can be inferred by the compiler.
In the following example, the programmer defines the factorial function and SML responds with its
type. The programmer then tests the factorial function with argument 6; SML assigns the result
to the variable it, which can be used in the next interaction if desired. SML is run interactively,
and prompts with “-”.
- fun fac n = if n = 0 then 1 else n * fac(n-1);
val fac = fn : int -> int
- fac 6;
val it = 720 : int
SML also allows function declaration by cases, as in the following alternative declaration of the
factorial function:
- fun fac 0 = 1
= | fac n = n * fac(n-1);
val fac = fn : int -> int
- fac 6;
val it = 720 : int
Since SML recognizes that the first line of this declaration is incomplete, it changes the prompt to
“=” on the second line. The vertical bar “|” indicates that we are declaring another “case” of the
declaration.
Each case of a declaration by cases includes a pattern. In the declaration of fac, there are two pat-
terns. The first, 0, is a constant pattern, and matches only itself. The second, \tt n, is a variable pat-
tern, and matches any value of the appropriate type. Note that the definition fun sq x = x * x;
would fail because SML cannot decide whether the type of x is int or real.
- fun sq x:real = x * x;
val sq = fn : real -> real
- sq 17.0;
val it = 289.0 : real
We can pass functions as arguments to other functions. The function o (intended to resemble the
small circle that mathematicians use to denote functional composition) is built-in, but even if it
wasn’t, we could easily declare it and use it to build the fourth power function, as in Listing 14. The
symbols ’a, ’b, and ’c are type names; they indicate that SML has recognized o as a polymorphic
function.
The function hasfactor defined in Listing 15 returns true if its first argument is a factor of
5 THE FUNCTIONAL PARADIGM 34
Listing 15: Finding factors
- fun hasfactor f n = n mod f = 0;
val hasfactor fn : int -> int -> bool
- hasfactor 3 9;
val it = true : bool
Listing 16: A function with one argument
- val even = hasfactor 2;
val even = fn : int -> bool;
- even 6;
val it = true : bool
its second argument. All functions in SML have exactly one argument. It might appear that
hasfactor has two arguments, but this is not the case. The declaration of hasfactor introduces
two functions, as shown in Listing 16. Functions like hasfactor take their arguments one at a
time. Applying the first argument, as in hasfactor 2, yields a new function. The trick of applying
one argument at a time is called “currying”, after the American logician Haskell Curry. It may be
helpful to consider the types involved:
hasfactor : int -> int -> bool
hasfactor 2 : int -> bool
hasfactor 2 6 : bool
The following brief discussion, adapted from (
˚
Ake Wikstr¨om 1987), shows how functions can be
used to build a programmer’s toolkit. The functions here are for list manipulation, which is a widely
used example but not the only way in which a FPL can be used. We start with a list generator,
defined as an infix operator.
- infix --;
- fun (m -- n) = if m < n then m :: (m+1 -- n) else [];
val -- = fun : int * int -> int list
- 1 -- 5;
val it = [1,2,3,4,5] : int list
The functions sum and prod in Listing 17 compute the sum and product, respectively, of a list of
integers. We note that sum and prod have a similar form. This suggests that we can abstract the
Listing 17: Sums and products
- fun sum [] = 0
= | sum (x::xs) = x + sum xs;
val sum = fn : int list -> int
- fun prod [] = 1
= | prod (x::xs) = x * prod xs;
val prod = fn : int list -> int
- sum (1 -- 5);
val it = 15 : int
- prod (1 -- 5);
val it = 120 : int
5 THE FUNCTIONAL PARADIGM 35
Listing 18: Using reduce
- fun sum xs = reduce add 0 xs;
val sum = fn : int list -> list
- fun prod xs = reduce mul 1 xs;
val prod = fn : int list -> list
common features into a function reduce that takes a binary function, a value for the empty list,
and a list. We can use reduce to obtain one-line definitions of sum and prod, as in Listing 18. The
idea of processing a list by recursion has been captured in the definition of reduce.
- fun reduce f u [] = u
= | reduce f u (x::xs) = f x (reduce f u xs);
val reduce = fn : (’a -> ’b -> ’b) -> ’b -> ’a list -> ’b
We can also define a sorting function as
- val sort = reduce insert nil;
val sort = fn : int list -> int list
where insert is the function that inserts a number into an ordered list, preserving the ordering:
- fun insert x:int [] = x::[]
| insert x (y::ys) = if x <= y then x::y::ys else y::insert x ys;
val insert = fn : int -> int list -> int list
5.5 Other Functional Languages
We have not discussed FP, the notation introduced by Backus (1978). Although Backus’s speech
(and subsequent publication) turned many people in the direction of functional programming, his
ideas for the design of FPLs were not widely adopted.
Since 1978, FPLs have split into two streams: those that provide mainly “eager evaluation” (that
is, call by value), following LISP and Scheme, and those that provide mainly “lazy evaluation”,
following SASL. The most important language in the first category is still SML, while Haskell
appears to be on the way to becoming the dominant FPL for teaching and other applications.
6 The Object Oriented Paradigm
A fundamental feature of our understanding of the world is that we organize our ex-
perience as a number of distinct object (tables and chairs, bank loans and algebraic
expressions, . . .) . . . . When we wish to solve a problem on a computer, we often
need to construct within the computer a model of that aspect of the real or conceptual
world to which the solution of the problem will be applied. (Hoare 1968)
Object Oriented Programming (OOP) is the currently dominant programming paradigm. For
many people today, “programming” means “object oriented programming”. Nevertheless, there
is a substantial portion of the software industry that has not adopted OOP, and there remains
widespread misunderstanding about what OOP actually is and what, if any, benefits it has to offer.
6.1 Simula
Many programs are computer simulations of the real world or a conceptual world. Writing such
programs is easier if there is a correspondence between objects in the world and components of the
program.
Simula originated in the Norwegian Computing Centre in 1962. Kristen Nygaard proposed a
language for simulation to be developed by himself and Ole-Johan Dahl (1978). Key insights were
developed in 1965 following experience with Simula I:
the purpose of the language was to model systems;
a system is a collection of interacting processes;
a process can be represented during program execution by multiple procedures each with its
own Algol-style stacks.
The main lessons of Simula I were:
the distinction between a program text and its execution;
the fact that data and operations belong together and that most useful programming constructs
contain both.
Simula 67 was a general purpose programming language that incorporated the ideas of Simula I
but put them into a more general context. The basic concept of Simula 67 was to be “classes of
objects”. The major innovation was “block prefixing” (Nygaard and Dahl 1978).
Prefixing emerged from the study of queues, which are central to discrete-event simulations. The
queue mechanism (a list linked by pointers) can be split off from the elements of the queue (ob-
jects such as trucks, buses, people, and so on, depending on the system being simulated). Once
recognized, the prefix concept could be used in any context where common features of a collection
of classes could be abstracted in a prefixed block or, as we would say today, a superclass.
Dahl (1978, page 489) has provided his own analysis of the role of blocks in Simula.
Deleting the procedure definitions and final statement from an Algol block gives a pure data
record.
Deleting the final statement from an Algol block, leaving procedure definitions and data dec-
larations, gives an abstract data object.
6 THE OBJECT ORIENTED PARADIGM 37
Listing 19: A Simula Class
class Account (real balance);
begin
procedure Deposit (real amount)
balance := balance + amount;
procedure Withdraw (real amount)
balance := balance - amount;
end;
Adding coroutine constructs to Algol blocks provides quasi-parallel programming capabilities.
Adding a prefix mechanism to Algol blocks provides an abstraction mechanism (the class
hierarchy).
All of these concepts are subsumed in the Simula class.
Listing 19 shows a simple Simula-style class, with modernized syntax. Before we use this class, we
must declare a reference to it and then instantiate it on the heap:
ref (Account) myAccount;
MyAccount := new Account(1000);
Note that the class is syntactically more like a procedure than a data object: it has an (optional)
formal parameter and it must be called with an actual parameter. It differs from an ordinary Algol
procedure in that its AR remains on the heap after the invocation.
To inherit from Account we write something like:
Account class ChequeAccount (real amount);
. . . .
This explains the term “prefixing” — the declaration of the child class is prefixed by the name of
its parent. Inheritance and subclasses introduced a new programming methodology, although this
did not become evident for several years.
Simula provides:
coroutines that permit the simulation of concurrent processes;
multiple stacks, needed to support coroutines;
classes that combine data and a collection of functions that operate on the data;
prefixing (now known as inheritance) that allows a specialized class to be derived from a
general class without unnecessary code duplication;
a garbage collector that frees the programmer from the responsibility of deallocating storage.
Simula itself had an uneven history. It was used more in Europe than in North America, but it
never achieved the recognition that it deserved. This was partly because there were few Simula
compilers and the good compilers were expensive.
On the other hand, the legacy that Simula left is considerable: a new paradigm of programming.
Exercise 28. Coroutines are typically implemented by adding two new statements to the language:
suspend and resume. A suspend statement, executed within a function, switches control to a
scheduler which stores the value of the program counter somewhere and continues the execution of
another function. A resume statement has the effect of restarting a previously suspended function.
6 THE OBJECT ORIENTED PARADIGM 38
At any one time, exactly one function is executing. What features might a concurrent language
provide that are not provided by coroutines? What additional complications are introduced by
concurrency? 2
6.2 Smalltalk
Smalltalk originated with Alan Kay’s reflections on the future of computers and programming in
the late 60s. Kay (1996) was influenced by LISP, especially by its one-page metacircular interpreter,
and by Simula. It is interesting to note that Kay gave a talk about his ideas at MIT in November
1971; the talk inspired Carl Hewitt’s work on his Actor model, an early attempt at formalizing
objects. In turn, Sussman and Steele wrote an interpreter for Actors that eventually became Scheme
(see Section 5.2). The cross-fertilization between OOPL and FPL that occurred during these early
days has, sadly, not continued.
The first version of Smalltalk was implemented by Dan Ingalls in 1972, using BASIC (!) as the
implementation language (Kay 1996, page 533). Smalltalk was inspired by Simula and LISP; it was
based on six principles (Kay 1996, page 534).
1. Everything is an object.
2. Objects communicate by sending and receiving messages (in terms of objects).
3. Objects have their own memory (in terms of objects).
4. Every object is an instance of a class (which must be an object).
5. The class holds the shared behaviour for its instances (in the form of objects in a program
list).
6. To [evaluate] a program list, control is passed to the first object and the remainder is treated
as its message.
Principles 1–3 provide an “external” view and remained stable as Smalltalk evolved. Principles
4–6 provide an “internal” view and were revised following implementation experience. Principle
6 reveals Kay’s use of LISP as a model for Smalltalk — McCarthy had described LISP with a
one-page meta-circular interpreter; one of Kay’s goals was to do the same for Smalltalk.
Smalltalk was also strongly influenced by Simula. However, it differs from Simula in several ways:
Simula distinguishes primitive types, such as integer and real, from class types. In Smalltalk,
“everything is an object”.
In particular, classes are objects in Smalltalk. To create a new instance of a class, you send a
message to it. Since a class object must belong to a class, Smalltalk requires metaclasses.
Smalltalk effectively eliminates passive data. Since objects are “active” in the sense that they
have methods, and everything is an object, there are no data primitives.
Smalltalk is a complete environment, not just a compiler. You can edit, compile, execute, and
debug Smalltalk programs without ever leaving the Smalltalk environment.
The “block” is an interesting innovation of Smalltalk. A block is a sequence of statements that
can be passed as a parameter to various control structures and behaves rather like an object. In
the Smalltalk statement
6 THE OBJECT ORIENTED PARADIGM 39
10 timesRepeat: [Transcript nextPutAll: ’ Hi!’]
the receiver is 10, the message is timesRepeat:, and [Transcript nextPutAll: ’ Hi!’] is the
parameter of the message.
Blocks may have parameters. One technique for iteration in Smalltalk is to use a do: message which
executes a block (its parameter) for each component of a collection. The component is passed to
the block as a parameter. The following loop determines whether "Mika" occurs in the current
object (assumed to be a collection):
self do: [:item | item = "Mika" ifTrue: [^true]].
^false
The first occurrence of item introduces it as the name of the formal parameter for the block.
The second occurrence is its use. Blocks are closely related to closures (Section 5.2). The block
[:x | E] corresponds to λx. E.
The first practical version of Smalltalk was developed in 1976 at Xerox Palo Alto Research Center
(PARC). The important features of Smalltalk are:
everything is an object;
an object has private data and public functions;
objects collaborate by exchanging “messages”;
every object is a member of a class;
there is an inheritance hierarchy (actually a tree) with the class Object as its root;
all classes inherit directly or indirectly from the class Object;
blocks;
coroutines;
garbage collection.
Exercise 29. Discuss the following statements (Gelernter and Jagannathan 1990, page 245).
1. [Data objects are replaced by program structures.] Under this view of things, particularly
under Smalltalk’s approach, there are no passive objects to be acted upon. Every entity is an
active agent, a little program in itself. This can lead to counter-intuitive interpretations of simple
operations, and can be destructive to a natural sense of hierarchy.
2. Algol 60 gives us a representation for procedures, but no direct representation for a procedure
activation. Simula and Smalltalk inherit this same limitation: they give us representations for
classes, but no direct representations for the objects that are instantiated from classes. Our ability
to create single objects and to specify (constant) object “values” is compromised. 2
Exercise 30. In Smalltalk, an object is an instance of a class. The class is itself an object, and
therefore is a member of a class. A class whose instances are classes is called a metaclass. Do
these definitions imply an infinite regression? If so, how could the infinite regression by avoided?
Is there a class that is a member of itself? 2
6.3 CLU
CLU is not usually considered an OOPL because it does not provide any mechanisms for incremental
modification. However:
6 THE OBJECT ORIENTED PARADIGM 40
The resulting programming methodology is object-oriented: programs are developed
by thinking about the objects they manipulate and then inventing a modular structure
based on these objects. Each type of object is implemented by its own program module.
(Liskov 1996, page 475)
Parnas (1972) introduced the idea of “information hiding”: a program module should have a public
interface and a private implementation. Liskov and Zilles (1974) introduced CLU specifically to
support this style of programming.
An abstract data type (ADT) specifies a type, a set of operations that may be performed on
instances of the type, and the effects of these operations. The implementation of an ADT provides
the actual operations that have the specified effects and also prevents programmers from doing
anything else. The word “abstract” in CLU means “user defined”, or not built in to the language:
I referred to the types as “abstract” because they are not provided directly by a pro-
gramming languages but instead must be implemented by the user. An abstract type is
abstract in the same way that a procedure is an abstract operation. (Liskov 1996, page
473)
This is not a universally accepted definition. Many people use the term ADT in the following sense:
An abstract data type is a system consisting of three constituents:
1. some sets of objects;
2. a set of syntactic descriptions of the primitive functions;
3. a semantic description — that is, a sufficiently complete set of relationships that
specify how the functions interact with each other.
(Martin 1986)
The difference is that an ADT in CLU provides a particular implementation of the type (and, in fact,
the implementation must be unique) whereas Martin’s definition requires only a specification. A
stack ADT in CLU would have functions called push and pop to modify the stack, but a stack ADT
respecting Martin’s definition would define the key property of a stack (the sequence push(); pop()
has no effect) but would not provide an implementation of these functions.
Although Simula influenced the design of CLU, it was seen as deficient in various ways. Simula:
does not provide encapsulation: clients could directly access the variables, as well as the
functions, of a class;
does not provide “type generators” or, as we would say now, “generic types” (“templates” in
C++);
associates operations with objects rather than types;
handles built-in and user-defined types differently — for example, instances of user-defined
classes are always heap-allocated.
CLU’s computational model is similar to that of LISP: names are references to heap-allocated
objects. The stack-only model of Algol 60 was seen as too restrictive for a language supporting
data abstractions. The reasons given for using a heap include:
6 THE OBJECT ORIENTED PARADIGM 41
Listing 20: A CLU Cluster
intset = cluster is create, insert, delete, member, size, choose
rep = array[int]
create = proc () returns (cvt)
return (rep$new())
end create
insert = proc (s: intset, x: int)
if ∼member(s, x) then rep$addh(down(s), x) end
end insert
member = proc (s: cvt, x: int) returns (bool)
return (getind(s, x) ≤ rep$high(s))
end member
. . . .
end intset
Declarations are easy to implement because, for all types, space is allocated for a pointer.
Stack allocation breaks encapsulation because the size of the object (which should be an
implementation “secret”) must be known at the point of declaration.
Variable declaration is separated from object creation. This simplifies safe initialization.
Variable and object lifetimes are not tied. When the variable goes out of scope, the object
continues to exist (there may be other references to it).
The meaning of assignment is independent of type. The statement x := E means simply that
x becomes a reference (implemented as a pointer, of course) to E. There is no need to worry
about the semantics of copying an object. Copying, if needed, should be provided by a member
function of the class.
Reference semantics requires garbage collection. Although garbage collection has a run-time
overhead, efficiency was not a primary goal of the CLU project. Furthermore, garbage collec-
tion eliminates memory leaks and dangling pointers, notorious sources of obscure errors.
CLU is designed for programming with ADTs. Associated with the interface is an implementation
that defines a representation for the type and provides bodies for the functions.
Listing 20 shows an extract from a cluster that implements a set of integers (Liskov and Guttag
1986, page 63). The components of a cluster, such as intset, are:
1. A header that gives the name of the type being implemented (intset) and the names of the
operations provided (create, insert, . . . .).
2. A definition of the representation type, introduced by the keyword rep. An intset is repre-
sented by an array of integers.
3. Implementations of the functions mentioned in the header and, if necessary, auxiliary functions
that are not accessible to clients.
The abstract type intset and the representation type array[int], referred to as rep, are distinct.
CLU provides special functions up, which converts the representation type to the abstract type,
and down, which converts the abstract type to the representation type. For example, the function
6 THE OBJECT ORIENTED PARADIGM 42
insert has a parameter s of type intset which is converted to the representation type so that it
can be treated as an array.
It often happens that the client provides an abstract argument that must immediately be converted
to the representation type; conversely, many functions create a value of the representation type but
must return a value of the abstract type. For both of these cases, CLU provides the keyword cvt
as an abbreviation. In the function create above, cvt converts the new instance of rep to intset
before returning, and in the function member, the formal parameter s:cvt indicates that the client
will provide an intset which will be treated in the function body as a rep.
All operations on abstract data in CLU contain the type of the operator explicitly, using the syntax
type$operation.
CLU draws a distinction between mutable and immutable objects. An object is mutable if its value
can change during execution, otherwise it is immutable. For example, integers are immutable but
arrays are mutable (Liskov and Guttag 1986, pages 19–20).
The mutability of an object depends on its type and, in particular, on the operations provided by
the type. Clearly, an object is mutable if its type has operations that change the object. After
executing
x: T = intset$create()
y: T
y := x
the variables x and y refer to the same object. If the object is immutable, the fact that it is shared
is undetectable by the program. If it is mutable, changes made via the reference x will be visible
via the reference y. Whether this is desirable depends on your point of view.
The important contributions of CLU include:
modules (“clusters”);
safe encapsulation;
distinction between the abstract type and the representation type;
names are references, not values;
the distinction between mutable and immutable objects;
analysis of copying and comparison of ADTs;
generic clusters (a cluster may have parameters, notably type parameters);
exception handling.
Whereas Simula provides tools for the programmer and supports a methodology, CLU provides
the same tools and enforces the methodology. The cost is an increase in complexity. Several
keywords (rep, cvt, down, and up) are needed simply to maintain the distinction between abstract
and representation types. In Simula, three concepts — procedures, classes, and records — are
effectively made equivalent, resulting in significant simplification. In CLU, procedures, records,
and clusters are three different things.
The argument in favour of CLU is that the compiler will detect encapsulation and other errors.
But is it the task of a compiler to prevent the programmer doing things that might be completely
safe? Or should this role be delegated to a style checker, just as C programmers use both cc (the
C compiler) and lint (the C style checker)?
The designers of CLU advocate defensive programming:
6 THE OBJECT ORIENTED PARADIGM 43
Of course, checking whether inputs [i.e., parameters of functions] are in the permitted
subset of the domain takes time, and it is tempting not to bother with the checks, or to
use them only while debugging, and suppress them during production. This is generally
an unwise practice. It is better to develop the habit of defensive programming, that it
writing each procedure to defend itself against errors. . . .
Defensive programming makes it easier to debug programs. . . . (Liskov and Guttag
1986, page 100)
Exercise 31. Do you agree that defensive programming is a better habit than the alternative
suggested by Liskov and Guttag? Can you propose an alternative strategy? 2
6.4 C++
C++ was developed at Bell Labs by Bjarne Stroustrup (1994). The task assigned to Stroustrup was
to develop a new systems PL that would replace C. C++ is the result of two major design decisions:
first, Stroustrup decided that the new language would be adopted only if it was compatible with
C; second, Stroustrup’s experience of completing a Ph.D. at Cambridge University using Simula
convinced him that object orientation was the correct approach but that efficiency was essential for
acceptance. C++ is widely used but has been sharply criticized (Sakkinen 1988; Sakkinen 1992;
Joyner 1992).
C++:
is almost a superset of C (that is, there are only a few C constructs that are not accepted by
a C++ compiler);
is a hybrid language (i.e., a language that supports both imperative and OO programming),
not a “pure” OO language;
emphasizes the stack rather than the heap, although both stack and heap allocation is provided;
provides multiple inheritance, genericity (in the form of “templates”), and exception handling;
does not provide garbage collection.
Exercise 32. Explain why C++ is the most widely-used OOPL despite its technical flaws. 2
6.5 Eiffel
Software Engineering was a key objective in the design of Eiffel.
Eiffel embodies a “certain idea” of software construction: the belief that it is possible to
treat this task as a serious engineering enterprise, whose goal is to yield quality software
through the careful production and continuous development of parameterizable, scien-
tifically specified, reusable components, communicating on the basis of clearly defined
contracts and organized in systematic multi-criteria classifications. (Meyer 1992)
Eiffel borrows from Simula 67, Algol W, Alphard, CLU, Ada, and the specification language Z.
Like some other OOPLs, it provides multiple inheritance. It is notable for its strong typing, an
unusual exception handling mechanism, and assertions. By default, object names are references;
however, Eiffel also provides “expanded types” whose instances are named directly.
6 THE OBJECT ORIENTED PARADIGM 44
Listing 21: Finding a square root
double sqrt (double x)
¦
if (x ≥ 0.0)
return . . . . //

x
else
??
¦
Listing 22: A contract for square roots
sqrt (x: real): real is
require x ≥ 0.0
Result := . . . . --

x
ensure abs(Result * Result / x - 1.0) ≤ 1e-6
end
Eiffel does not have: global variables; enumerations; subranges; goto, break, or continue state-
ments; procedure variables; casts; or pointer arithmetic. Input/output is defined by libraries rather
than being built into the language.
The main features of Eiffel are as follows. Eiffel:
is strictly OO: all functions are defined as methods in classes;
provides multiple inheritance and repeated inheritance;
supports “programming by contract” with assertions;
has an unusual exception handling mechanism;
provides generic classes;
may provide garbage collection.
6.5.1 Programming by Contract
The problem with writing a function to compute square roots is that it is not clear what to do if
the argument provided by the caller is negative. The solution adopted in Listing 21 is to allow for
the possibility that the argument might be negative.
This approach, applied throughout a software system, is called defensive programming
(Section 6.3).
Testing arguments adds overhead to the program.
Most of the time spent testing is wasted, because programmers will rarely call sqrt with a
negative argument.
The failure action, indicated by “??” in Listing 21, is hard to define. In particular, it is
undesirable to return a funny value such as −999.999, or to send a message to the console
(there may not be one), or to add another parameter to indicate success/failure. The only
reasonable possibility is some kind of exception.
Meyer’s solution is to write sqrt as shown in Listing 22. The require/ensure clauses constitute
a contract between the function and the caller. In words:
6 THE OBJECT ORIENTED PARADIGM 45
Listing 23: Eiffel contracts
class Parent
feature
f() is
require R
p
ensure E
p
end
. . . .
class Child inherit Parent
feature
f() is
require R
c
ensure E
c
. . . .
If the actual parameter supplied, x, is positive, the result returned will be approximately

x.
If the argument supplied is negative, the contract does not constrain the function in any way at all:
it can return -999.999 or any other number, terminate execution, or whatever. The caller therefore
has a responsibility to ensure that the argument is valid.
The advantages of this approach include:
Many tests become unnecessary.
Programs are not cluttered with tests for conditions that are unlikely to arise.
The require conditions can be checked dynamically during testing and (perhaps) disabled
during production runs. (Hoare considers this policy to be analogous to wearing your life
jacket during on-shore training but leaving it behind when you go to sea.)
Require and ensure clauses are a useful form of documentation; they appear in Eiffel inter-
faces.
Functions in a child class must provide a contract at least as strong as that of the corresponding
function in the parent class, as shown in Listing 23. We must have R
p
⇒ R
c
and E
c
⇒ E
p
. Note
the directions of the implications: the ensure clauses are “covariant” but the require clauses are
“contravariant”. The following analogy explains this reversal.
A pet supplier offers the following contract: “if you send at least 200 mk, I will send you an animal”.
The pet supplier has a subcontractor who offers the following contract: “if you send me at least 150
mk, I will send you a dog”. These contracts respect the Eiffel requirements: the contract offered
by the subcontractor has a weaker requirement (150 mk is less than 200 mk) but promises more (a
dog is more specific than an animal). Thus the contractor can use the subcontractor when a dog
is required and make a profit of 50 mk.
Eiffel achieves the subcontract specifications by requiring the programmer to define
R
c
≡ R
p

E
c
≡ E
p

6 THE OBJECT ORIENTED PARADIGM 46
Listing 24: Repeated inheritance in Eiffel
class House
feature
address: String
value: Money
end
class Residence inherit House
rename value as residenceValue
end
class Business inherit House
rename value as businessValue
end
class HomeBusiness inherit Residence Business
. . . .
end
The ∨ ensures that the child’s requirement is weaker than the parent’s requirement, and the ∧
ensures that the child’s commitment is stronger than the parent’s commitment.
In addition to require and ensure clauses, Eiffel has provision for writing class invariants. A
class invariant is a predicate over the variables of an instance of the class. It must be true when
the object is created and after each function of the class has executed.
Eiffel programmers are not obliged to write assertions, but it is considered good Eiffel “style” to
include them. In practice, it is sometimes difficult to write assertions that make non-trivial claims
about the objects. Typical contracts say things like: “after you have added an element to this
collection, it contains one more element”. Since assertions may contain function calls, it is possible
in principle to say things like: “this structure is a heap (in the sense of heap sort)”. However:
this does not seem to be done much in practice;
complex assertions increase run-time overhead, increasing the incentive to disable checking;
a complex assertion might itself contain errors, leading to a false sense of confidence in the
correctness of the program.
6.5.2 Repeated Inheritance
Listing 24 shows a collection of classes (Meyer 1992, page169). The features of HomeBusiness
include:
address, inherited once but by two paths;
residenceValue, inherited from value in class House;
businessValue, inherited from value in class House.
Repeated inheritance can be used to solve various problems that appear in OOP. For example, it is
difficult in some languages to provide collections with more than one iteration sequence. In Eiffel,
more than one sequence can be obtained by repeated inheritance of the successor function.
C++ has a similar mechanism, but it applies to entire classes (via the virtual mechanism) rather
than to individual attributes of classes.
6 THE OBJECT ORIENTED PARADIGM 47
Listing 25: Exceptions in Eiffel
tryIt is
local
triedFirst: Boolean -- initially false
do
if not triedFirst
then firstmethod
else secondmethod
end
rescue
if not triedFirst
then
triedFirst := true
retry
else
restoreInvariant
-- report failure
end
end
6.5.3 Exception Handling
An Eiffel function must either fulfill its contract or report failure. If a function contains a rescue
clause, this clause is invoked if an operation within the function reports failure. A return from
the rescue clause indicate that the function has failed. However, a rescue clause may perform
some cleaning-up actions and then invoke retry to attempt the calculation again. The function in
Listing 25 illustrates the idea. The mechanism seems harder to use than other, more conventional,
exception handling mechanisms. It is not obvious that there are many circumstances in which it
makes sense to “retry” a function.
Exercise 33. Early versions of Eiffel had a reference semantics (variable names denoted references
to objects). After Eiffel had been used for a while, Meyer introduced expanded types. An instance
of an expanded type is an object that has a name (value semantics). Expanded types introduce
various irregularities into the language, because they do not have the same properties as ordinary
types. Why do you think expanded types were introduced? Was the decision to introduce them
wise? 2
6.6 Java
Java (Arnold and Gosling 1998) is an OOPL introduced by Sun Microsystems. Its syntax bears
some relationship to that of C++, but Java is simpler in many ways than C++. Key features of
Java include the following.
Java is compiled to byte codes that are interpreted. Since any computer that has a Java byte
code interpreter can execute Java programs, Java is highly portable.
The portability of Java is exploited in network programming: Java bytes can be transmitted
across a network and executed by any processor with an interpreter.
6 THE OBJECT ORIENTED PARADIGM 48
Java offers security. The byte codes are checked by the interpreter and have limited function-
ality. Consequently, Java byte codes do not have the potential to penetrate system security in
the way that a binary executable (or even a MS-Word macro) can.
Java has a class hierarchy with class Object at the root and provides single inheritance of
classes.
In addition to classes, Java provides interfaces with multiple inheritance.
Java has an exception handling mechanism.
Java provides concurrency in the form of threads.
Primitive values, such as int, are not objects in Java. However, Java provides wrapper
classes, such as Integer, for each primitive type.
A variable name in Java is a reference to an object.
Java provides garbage collection.
6.6.1 Portability
Compiling to byte codes is an implementation mechanism and, as such, is not strongly relevant to
this course. The technique is quite old — Pascal P achieved portability in the same way during
the mid-seventies — and has the disadvantage of inefficiency: Java programs are typically an order
of magnitude slower than C++ programs with the same functionality. For some applications, such
as simple Web “applets”, the inefficiency is not important. More efficient implementations are
promised. One interesting technique is “just in time” compilation, in which program statements
are compiled immediately before execution; parts of the program that are not needed during a
particular run (this may be a significant fraction of a complex program) are not compiled.
The portability of Java has been a significant factor in the rapid spread of its popularity, particularly
for Web programming.
6.6.2 Interfaces
A Java class, as usual in OOP, is a compile-time entity whose run-time instances are objects. An
interface declaration is similar to a class declaration, but introduces only abstract methods and
constants. Thus an interface has no instances.
A class may implement an interface by providing definitions for each of the methods declared in
the interface. (The class may also make use of the values of the constants declared in the interface.)
A Java class can inherit from at most one parent class but it may inherit from several interfaces
provided, of course, that it implements all of them. Consequently, the class hierarchy is a rooted
tree but the interface hierarchy is a directed acyclic graph. Interfaces provide a way of describing
and factoring the behaviour of classes.
Listing 26 shows a couple of simple examples of interfaces. The first interface ensures that instances
of a class can be compared. (In fact, all Java classes inherit the function equals from class Object
that can be redefined for comparison in a particular class.) If we want to store instances of a class
in an ordered set, we need a way of sorting them as well: this requirement is specified by the second
interface.
Class Widget is required to implement equalTO and lessThan:
class Widget implements Ordered
6 THE OBJECT ORIENTED PARADIGM 49
Listing 26: Interfaces
interface Comparable
¦
Boolean equalTo (Comparable other);
// Return True if ‘this’ and ‘other’ objects are equal.
¦
interface Ordered extends Comparable
¦
Boolean lessThan (Ordered other);
// Return True if ‘this’ object precedes ‘other’ object in the ordering.
¦
Listing 27: Declaring a Java exception class
public class DivideByZero extends Exception
¦
DivideByZero()
¦
super("Division by zero");
¦
¦
¦
. . . .
¦
6.6.3 Exception Handling
The principal components of exception handling in Java are as follows:
There is a class hierarchy rooted at class Exception. Instances of a subclass of class Exception
are used to convey information about what has gone wrong. We will call such instances
“exceptions”.
The throw statement is used to signal the fact that an exception has occurred. The argument
of throw is an exception.
The try statement is used to attempt an operation and handle any exceptions that it raises.
A try statement may use one or more catch statements to handle exceptions of various types.
The following simple example indicates the way in which exceptions might be used. Listing 27
shows the declaration of an exception for division by zero. The next step is to declare another
exception for negative square roots, as shown in Listing 28
Next, we suppose that either of these problems may occur in a particular computation, as shown
in Listing 29. Finally, we write some code that tries to perform the computation, as shown in
Listing 30.
6 THE OBJECT ORIENTED PARADIGM 50
Listing 28: Another Java exception class
public class NegativeSquareRoot extends Exception
¦
public float value;
NegativeSquareRoot(float badValue)
¦
super("Square root with negative argument");
value = badValue;
¦
¦
Listing 29: Throwing exceptions
public void bigCalculation ()
throws DivideByZero, NegativeSquareRoot
¦
. . . .
if (. . . .) throw new DivideByZero();
. . . .
if (. . . .) throw new NegativeSquareRoot(x);
. . . .
¦
Listing 30: Using the exceptions
¦
try
¦
bigCalculation()
¦
catch (DivideByZero)
¦
System.out.println("Oops! divided by zero.");
¦
catch (NegativeSquareRoot n)
¦
System.out.println("Argument for square root was " + n);
¦
¦
¦
6 THE OBJECT ORIENTED PARADIGM 51
6.6.4 Concurrency
Java provides concurrency in the form of threads. Threads are defined by a class in that standard
library. Java threads have been criticized on (at least) two grounds.
The synchronization methods provided by Java (based on the early concepts of semaphores
and monitors) are out of date and do not benefit from more recent research in this area.
The concurrency mechanism is insecure. Brinch Hansen (1999) argues that Java’s concurrency
mechanisms are unsafe and that such mechanisms must be defined in the base language and
checked by the compiler, not provided separately in a library.
Exercise 34. Byte codes provide portability. Can you suggest any other advantages of using byte
codes? 2
6.7 Kevo
All of the OOPLs previously described in this section are class-based languages. In a class-based
language, the programmer defines one or more classes and, during execution, instances of these
classes are created and become the objects of the system. (In Smalltalk, classes are run-time
objects, but Smalltalk is nevertheless a class-based language.) There is another, smaller, family of
OOPLs that use prototypes rather than classes.
Although there are several prototype-based OOPLs, we discuss only one of them here. Antero
Taivalsaari (1993) has given a thorough account of the motivation and design of his language,
Kevo. Taivalsaari (1993, page 172) points out that class-based OOPLs, starting with Simula, are
based on an Aristotelian view in which
the world is seen as a collection of objects with well-defined properties arranged [ac-
cording] to a hierarchical taxonomy of concepts.
The problem with this approach is that there are many classes which people understand intuitively
but which are not easily defined in taxonomic terms. Common examples include “book”, “chair”,
“game”, etc.
Prototypes provide an alternative to classes. In a prototype-based OOPL, each new type of object
is introduced by defining a prototype or exemplar, which is itself an object. Identical copies
of a prototype — as many as needed — are created by cloning. Alternatively, we can clone a
prototype, modify it in some way, and use the resulting object as a prototype for another collection
of identical objects.
The modified object need not be self-contained. Some of its methods will probably be the same
as those of the original object, and these methods can be delegated to the original object rather
than replicated in the new object. Delegation thus plays the role of inheritance in a prototype-
based language and, for this reason, prototype-based languages are sometimes called delegation
languages. This is misleading, however, because delegation is not the only possible mechanism for
inheritance with prototypes.
Example 16: Objects in Kevo. This example illustrates how new objects are introduced in
Kevo; it is based on (Taivalsaari 1993, pages 187–188). Listing 31 shows the introduction of a
window object. The first line, REF Window, declares a new object with no properties. The second
6 THE OBJECT ORIENTED PARADIGM 52
Listing 31: Object Window
REF Window
Object.new → Window
Window ADDS
VAR rect
Prototypes.Rectangle.new → rect
VAR contents
METHOD drawFrame . . . .;
METHOD drawContents . . . .;
METHOD refresh
self.drawFrame
self.drawContents;
ENDADDS;
Listing 32: Object Title Window
REF TitleWindow
Window.new → TitleWindow
TitleWindow ADDS
VAR title
"Anonymous" → title
METHOD drawFrame . . . .;
ENDADDS;
line defines Window as a clone of Object. In Kevo terminology, Window receives the basic printing
and creation operations defined for Object. In the next block of code, properties are added to the
window using the module operation ADDS.
The window has two components: rect and contents. The properties of rect are obtained from
the prototype Rectangle. The properties of contents are left unspecified in this example. Finally,
three new methods are added to Window. The first two are left undefined here, but the third,
refresh, draws the window frame first and then the contents.
Listing 32 shows how to add a title to a window. It declares a new object, TitleWindow with
Window as a prototype. Then it adds a new variable, title, with initial value "Anonymous", and
provides a new method drawFrame that overrides Window.drawFrame and draws a frame with a
title. 2
6.8 Other OOPLs
The OOPLs listed below are interesting, but lack of time precludes further discussion of them.
Beta. Beta is a descendant of Simula, developed in Denmark. It differs in many respects from
“mainstream” OOPLs.
Blue. Blue (K¨olling 1999) is a language and environment designed for teaching OOP. The language
was influenced to some extent by Dee (Grogono 1991b). The environment is interesting in
that users work directly with “objects” rather than program text and generated output.
6 THE OBJECT ORIENTED PARADIGM 53
CLOS. The Common LISP Object System is an extension to LISP that provides OOP. It has a
number of interesting features, including “multi-methods” — the choice of a function is based
on the class of all of its arguments rather than its first (possibly implicit) argument. CLOS
also provides “before” and “after” methods — code defined in a superclass that is executed
before or after the invocation of the function in a class.
Self. Self is the perhaps the best-known prototype language. Considerable effort has been put into
efficient implementation, to the extent that Self programs run at up to half of the speed of
equivalent C++ programs. This is an impressive achievement, given that Self is considerably
more flexible than C++.
6.9 Evaluation of OOP
OOP provides a way of building programs by incremental modification.
Programs can often be extended by adding new code rather than altering existing code.
The mechanism for incremental modification without altering existing code is inheritance.
However, there are several different ways in which inheritance can be defined and used, and
some of them conflict.
The same identifier can be used in various contexts to name related functions. For example,
all objects can respond to the message “print yourself”.
Class-based OOPLs can be designed so as to support information hiding (encapsulation) —
the separation of interface and implementation. However, there may be conflicts between
inheritance and encapsulation.
An interesting, but rarely noted, feature of OOP is that the call graph is created and modified
during execution. This is in contrast to procedural languages, in which the call graph can be
statically inferred from the program text.
Section 12 contains a more detailed review of issues in OOP.
Exercise 35. Simula is 33 years old. Can you account for the slow acceptance of OOPLs by
professional programmers? 2
7 Backtracking Languages
The PLs that we discuss in this section differ in significant ways, but they have an important
feature in common: they are designed to solve problems with multiple answers, and to find as
many answers as required.
In mathematics, a many-valued expression can be represented as a relation or as a function returning
a set. Consider the relation “divides”, denoted by [ in number theory. Any integer greater than 1
has at least two divisors (itself and 1) and possible others. For example, 1 [ 6, 2 [ 6, 3 [ 6, and 6 [ 6.
The functional analog of the divides relation is the set-returning function divisors:
divisors(6) = ¦ 1, 2, 3, 6 ¦
divisors(7) = ¦ 1, 7 ¦
divisors(24) = ¦ 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 8, 12, 24 ¦
We could define functions that return sets in a FPL or we could design a language that works directly
with relations. The approach that has been most successful, however, is to produce solutions one
at a time. The program runs until it finds the first solution, reports that solution or uses it in some
way, then backtracks to find another solution, reports that, and so on until all the choices have
been explored or the user has had enough.
7.1 Prolog
The computational model (see Section 9.2) of a logic PL is some form of mathematical logic.
Propositional calculus is too weak because it does not have variables. Predicate calculus is too
strong because it is undecidable. (This means that there is no effective procedure that determines
whether a given predicate is true.) Practical logic PLs are based on a restricted form of predicate
calculus that has a decision procedure.
The first logic PL was Prolog, introduced by Colmerauer (1973) and Kowalski (1974). The discus-
sion in this section is based on (Bratko 1990).
We can express facts in Prolog as predicates with constant arguments. All Prolog textbooks start
with facts about someone’s family: see Listing 33. We read parent(pam, bob) as “Pam is the
parent of Bob”. This Bob’s parents are Pam and Tom; similarly for the other facts. Note that,
since constants in Prolog start with a lower case letter, we cannot write Pam, Bob, etc.
Prolog is interactive; it prompts with ?- to indicate that it is ready to accept a query. Prolog
responds to simple queries about facts that it has been told with “yes” and “no”, as in Listing 34.
If the query contains a logical variable — an identifier that starts with an upper case letter —
Prolog attempts to find a value of the variable that makes the query true.
Listing 33: A Family
parent(pam, bob).
parent(tom, bob).
parent(tom, liz).
parent(bob, ann).
parent(bob, pat).
parent(pat, jim).
7 BACKTRACKING LANGUAGES 55
Listing 34: Prolog queries
?- parent(tom, liz).
yes
?- parent(tom, jim).
no
If it succeeds, it replies with the binding.
?- parent(pam, X).
X = bob
If there is more than one binding that satisfies the query, Prolog will find them all. (The exact
mechanism depends on the implementation. Some implementations require the user to ask for more
results. Here we assume that the implementation returns all values without further prompting.)
?- parent(bob, C).
C = ann
C = pat
Consider the problem of finding Jim’s grandparents. In logic, we can express “G is a grandparent
of Jim” in the following form: “there is a person P such that P is a parent of Jim and there is a
person G such that G is a parent of P”. In Prolog, this becomes:
?- parent(P, jim), parent(G, P).
P = pat
G = bob
The comma in this query corresponds to conjunction (“and”): the responses to the query are
bindings that make all of the terms valid simultaneously. Disjunction (“or”) is provided by multiple
facts or rules: in the example above, Bob is the parent of C is true if C is Ann or C is Pat.
We can expression the “grandparent” relation by writing a rule and adding it to the collection
of facts (which becomes a collection of facts and rules). The rule for “grandparent” is “G is a
grandparent of C if G is a parent of P and P is a parent of C”. In Prolog:
grandparent(G, C) :- parent(G, P), parent(P, C).
Siblings are people who have the same parents. We could write this rule for siblings:
sibling(X, Y) :- parent(P, X), parent(P, Y).
Testing this rule reveals a problem.
?- sibling(pat, X).
X = ann
X = pat
We may not expect the second response, because we do not consider Pat to be a sibling of herself.
But Prolog simply notes that the predicate parent(P, X), parent(P, Y) is satisfied by the bind-
ings P = bob, X = pat, and Y = pat. To correct this rule, we would have to require that X and Y
have different values:
sibling(X, Y) :- parent(P, X), parent(P, Y), different(X, Y).
It is clear that different(X, Y) must be built into Prolog somehow, because it would not be
feasible to list every true instantiation of it as a fact.
7 BACKTRACKING LANGUAGES 56
parent(pam, bob)
ancestor(pam, bob) parent(bob, pat)
ancestor(pam, pat) parent(pat, jim)
ancestor(pam, jim)
Figure 4: Proof of ancestor(pam, jim)
Prolog allows rules to be recursive: a predicate name that appears on the left side of a rule may
also appear on the right side. For example, a person A is an ancestor of a person X if either A is a
parent of X or A is an ancestor of a parent P of X:
ancestor(A, X) :- parent(A, X).
ancestor(A, X) :- ancestor(A, P), parent(P, X).
We confirm the definition by testing:
?- ancestor(pam, jim).
yes
We can read a Prolog program in two ways. Read declaratively, ancestor(pam, jim) is a
statement and Prolog’s task is to prove that it is true. The proof is shown in Figure 4, which uses
the convention that
P
Q
means “from P infer Q”. Read procedurally, ancestor(pam, jim) defines
a sequence of fact-searches and rule-applications that establish (or fail to establish) the goal. The
procedural steps for this example are as follows.
1. Using the first rule for ancestor, look in the data base for the fact parent(pam, jim).
2. Since this search fails, try the second rule with A = pam and X = jim. This gives two new
subgoals: ancestor(pam, P) and parent(P, jim).
3. The second of these subgoals is satisfied by P = pat from the database. The goal is now
ancestor(pam, pat).
4. The goal expands to the subgoals ancestor(pam, P) and parent(P, pat). The second of
these subgoals is satisfied by P = bob from the database. The goal is now ancestor(pam, bob).
5. The goal ancestor(pam, bob) is satisfied by applying the first rule with the known fact
parent(pam, bob).
In the declarative reading, Prolog finds multiple results simply because they are there. In the
procedure reading, multiple results are obtained by backtracking. Every point in the program at
which there is more than one choice of a variable binding is called a choice point. The choice
points define a tree: the root of the tree is the starting point of the program (the main goal) and
each leaf of the tree represents either success (the goal is satisfied with the chosen bindings) or
failure (the goal cannot be satisfied with these bindings). Prolog performs a depth-first search of
this tree.
Sometimes, we can tell from the program that backtracking will be useless. Declaratively, the
predicate minimum(X,Y,Min) is satisfied if Min is the minimum of X and Y. We define rules for the
cases X ≤ Y and X > Y .
7 BACKTRACKING LANGUAGES 57
Program Meaning
p :- a,b. p :- c. p ⇐⇒ (a ∧ b) ∨ c
p :- a,!,b. p:- c. p ⇐⇒ (a ∧ b) ∨ (∼a ∧ c)
p :- c. p :- a,!,b. p ⇐⇒ c ∨ (a ∧ b)
Figure 5: Effect of cuts
minimum(X, Y, X) :- X ≤ Y.
minimum(X, Y, Y) :- X > Y.
It is easy to see that, if one of these rules succeeds, we do not want to backtrack to the other,
because it is certain to fail. We can tell Prolog not to backtrack by writing “!”, pronounced “cut”.
minimum(X, Y, X) :- X ≤ Y, !.
minimum(X, Y, Y) :- X > Y, !.
The introduction of the cut operation has an interesting consequence. If a Prolog program has no
cuts, we can freely change the order of goals and clauses. These changes may affect the efficiency
of the program, but they do not affect its declarative meaning. If the program has cuts, this is
no longer true. Figure 5 shows an example of the use of cut and its effect on the meaning of a
program.
Recall the predicate different introduced above to distinguish siblings, and consider the following
declarations and queries.
different(X, X) :- !, fail.
different(X, Y).
?- different(Tom, Tom).
no
?- different(Ann, Tom).
yes
The query different(Tom, Tom) matches different(X, X) with the binding X = Tom and suc-
ceeds. The Prolog constant fail then reports failure. Since the cut has been passed, no backtrack-
ing occurs, and the query fails. The query different(Ann, Tom) does not match different(X, X)
but it does match the second clause, different(X, Y) and therefore succeeds.
This idea can be used to define negation in Prolog:
not (P) :- P, !, fail.
true.
However, it is important to understand what negation in Prolog means. Consider Listing 35,
assuming that the entire database is included. The program has stated correctly that crows fly and
penguins do not fly. But it has made this inference only because the database has no information
about penguins. The same program can produce an unlimited number of (apparently) correct
responses, and also some incorrect responses. We account for this by saying that Prolog assumes
a closed world. Prolog can make inferences from the “closed world” consisting of the facts and
rules in its database.
Now consider negation. In Prolog, proving not(P) means “P cannot be proved” which means “P
cannot be inferred from the facts and rules in the database”. Consequently, we should be sceptical
about positive results obtained from Prolog programs that use not. The response
7 BACKTRACKING LANGUAGES 58
Listing 35: Who can fly?
flies(albatross).
flies(blackbird);
flies(crow).
?- flies(crow).
yes
?- flies(penguin).
no
?- flies(elephant).
no
?- flies(brick).
no
?- flies(goose).
no
?- not human(peter).
yes
means no more than “the fact that Peter is human cannot be inferred from the database”.
The Prolog system proceeds top-down. It attempts to match the entire goal to one of the rules and,
having found a match, applies the same idea to the parts of the matched formulas. The “matching”
process is called unification.
Suppose that we have two terms A and B built up from constants and variables. A unifier of A
and B is a substitution that makes the terms identical. A substitution is a binding of variable
names to values. In the following example we follow the Prolog convention, using upper case letters
X, Y, . . .to denote variables and lower case letters a, b, . . .to denote constants. Let A and B be the
terms
A ≡ left(tree(X, tree(a, Y ))
B ≡ left(tree(b, Z))
and let
σ = (X = b, Z = tree(a, Y ))
be a substitution. Then σA = σB = left(tree(b, tree(a, Y )) and σ is a unifier of A and B. Note
that the unifier is not necessarily unique. However, we can define a most general unifier which
is unique.
The unification algorithm contains a test called the occurs check that is used to reject a substi-
tution of the form X = f(X) in which a variable is bound to a formula that contains the variable.
If we changed A and B above to
A ≡ left(tree(X, tree(a, Y ))
B ≡ left(tree(b, Y )
they would not unify.
You can find out whether a particular version of Prolog implements the occurs check by trying the
following query:
7 BACKTRACKING LANGUAGES 59
Listing 36: Restaurants
good(les halles).
expensive(les halles).
good(joes diner).
reasonable(Restaurant) : not expensive(Restaurant).
?- good(X), reasonable(X).
X = joes diner.
?- reasonable(X), good(X).
no
?- X = f(X).
If the reply is “no”, the occurs check is implemented. If, as is more likely, the occurs check is not
performed, the response will be
X = f(f(f(f( . . . .
Prolog syntax corresponds to a restricted form of first-order predicate calculus called clausal
form logic. It is not practical to use the full predicate calculus as a basis for a PL because it
is undecidable. Clausal form logic is semi-decidable: there is an algorithm that will find a proof
for any formula that is true in the logic. If a formula is false, the algorithm may fail after a finite
time or may loop forever. The proof technique, called SLD resolution, was introduced by Robinson
(1965). SLD stands for “Selecting a literal, using a Linear strategy, restricted to Definite clauses”.
The proof of validity of SLD resolution assumes that unification is implemented with the occurs
check. Unfortunately, the occurs check is expensive to implement and most Prolog systems omit it.
Consequently, most Prolog systems are technically unsound, although problems are rare in practice.
A Prolog program apparently has a straightforward interpretation as a statement in logic, but the
interpretation is slightly misleading. For example, since Prolog works through the rules in the order
in which they are written, the order is significant. Since the logical interpretation of a rule sequence
is disjunction, it follows that disjunction in Prolog does not commute.
Example 17: Failure of commutativity. In the context of the rules
wife(jane).
female(X) :- wife(X).
female(X) :- female(X).
we obtain a valid answer to a query:
?- female(Y).
jane
But if we change the order of the rules, as in
wife(jane).
female(X) :- female(X).
female(X) :- wife(X).
the same query leads to endless applications of the second rule. 2
Exercise 36. Listing 36 shows the results of two queries about restaurants. In logic, conjunction
is commutative (P ∧ Q ≡ Q∧ P). Explain why commutativity fails in this program. 2
The important features of Prolog include:
7 BACKTRACKING LANGUAGES 60
Prolog is based on a mathematical model (clausal form logic with SLD resolution).
“Pure” Prolog programs, which fully respect the logical model, can be written but are often
inefficient.
In order to write efficient programs, a Prolog programmer must be able to read programs both
declaratively (to check the logic) and procedurally (to ensure efficiency).
Prolog implementations introduce various optimizations (the cut, omitting the occurs check)
that improve the performance of programs but compromise the mathematical model.
Prolog has garbage collection.
7.2 Alma-0
One of the themes of this course is the investigation of ways in which different paradigms of
programming can be combined. The PL Alma-0 takes as its starting point a simple imperative
language, Modula–2 (Wirth 1982), and adds a number of features derived from logic programming
to it. The result is a simple but highly expressive language. Some features of Modula–2 are omitted
(the CARDINAL type; sets; variant records; open array parameters; procedure types; pointer types;
the CASE, WITH, LOOP, and EXIT statements; nested procedures; modules). They are replaced by
nine new features, described below. This section is based on Apt et al. (1998).
BES. Boolean expressions may be used as statements. The expression is evaluated. If its value
is TRUE, the computation succeeds and the program continues as usual. If the value of the
expression is FALSE, the computation fails. However, this does not mean that the program
stops: instead, control returns to the nearest preceding choice point and resumes with a
new choice.
Example 18: Ordering 1. If the array a is ordered, the following statement succeeds.
Otherwise, it fails; the loop exits, and i has the smallest value for which the condition is
FALSE.
FOR i := 1 to n - 1 DO a[i] <= a[i+1] END
2
SBE. A statement sequence may be used as a boolean expression. If the computation of a sequence
of statements succeeds, it is considered equivalent to a boolean expression with value TRUE.
If the computation fails, it is considered equivalent to a boolean expression with value FALSE.
Example 19: Ordering 2. The following sequence decides whether a precedes b in the
lexicographic ordering. The FOR statement finds the first position at which the arrays differ.
If they are equal, the entire sequence fails. If there is a difference at position i, the sequence
succeeds iff a[i] < b[i].
NOT FOR i :=1 TO n DO a[i] = b[i] END;
a[i] < b[i]
2
EITHER–ORELSE. The construct EITHER-ORELSE is added to the language to permit back-
tracking. An EITHER statement has the form
EITHER <seq> ORELSE <seq> . . . .ORELSE <seq> END
7 BACKTRACKING LANGUAGES 61
Listing 37: Creating choice points
EITHER y := x
ORELSE x > 0; y := -x
END;
x := x + b;
y < 0
Listing 38: Pattern matching
SOME i := 0 TO n - m DO
FOR j := 0 to m - 1 DO
s[i+j] = p[j]
END
END
Computation of an EITHER statement starts by evaluating the first sequence. If it succeeds,
computation continues at the statement following END. If this computation subsequently fails,
control returns to the second sequence in the EITHER statement, with the program in the same
state as it was when the EITHER statement was entered. Each sequence is tried in turn in this
way, until one succeeds or the last one fails.
Example 20: Choice points. Assume that the sequence shown in Listing 37 is entered
with x = a > 0. The sequence of events is as follows:
The assignment y := x assigns a to y. This sequence succeeds and transfers control to
x := x + b.
The assignment x := x + b assigns a +b to x.
The test y < 0 fails because y = a > 0.
The original value of x is restored. The test x > 0 succeeds because x = a > 0, and y
receives the value −a.
The final sequence is performed and succeeds, leaving x = a +b and y = −a.
2
SOME. The SOME statement permits the construction of statements that work like EITHER state-
ments but have a variable number of ORELSE clauses. The statement
SOME i := 1 TO n DO <seq> END
is equivalent to
EITHER i := 1; <seq>
ORELSE SOME i := 2 TO n DO <seq> END
Example 21: Pattern matching. Suppose that we have two arrays of characters: a
pattern p[0..m-1] and a string s[0..n-1]. The sequence shown in Listing 38 sets i to the
first occurrence of p in s, or fails if there is no match. 2
COMMIT. The COMMIT statement provides a way of restricting backtracking. (It is similar to the
cut in Prolog.) The statement
7 BACKTRACKING LANGUAGES 62
Listing 39: Checking the order
COMMIT
SOME i := 1 TO n DO
a[i] <> b[i]
END
END;
a[i] < b[i]
COMMIT <seq> END
evaluates the statement sequence <seq>; if seq succeeds (possibly by backtracking), all of the
choice points created during its evaluation are removed.
Example 22: Ordering 3. Listing 39 shows another way of checking lexicographic ordering.
With the COMMIT, this sequence yields that value of a[i] < b[i] for the smallest i such that
a[i] <> b[i]. Without the COMMIT, it succeeds if a[i] < b[i] is TRUE for some value of i
such that a[i] <> b[i]. 2
FORALL. The FORALL statement provides for the exploration of all choice points generated by a
statement sequence. The statement
FORALL <seq1> DO <seq2> END
evaluates <seq1> and then <seq2>. If <seq1> generates choice points, control backtracks
through these, even if the original sequence succeeded. Whenever <seq2> succeeds, its choice
points are removed (that is, there is an implicit COMMIT around <seq2>).
Example 23: Matching. Suppose we enclose the pattern matching code above in a function
Match. The following sequence finds the number of times that p occurs in s.
count := 0;
FORALL k := Match(p, s) DO count := count + 1 END;
2
EQ. Variables in Alma-0 start life as uninitialized values. After a value has been assigned to
a variable, it ceases to be uninitialized and becomes initialized. Expressions containing
uninitialized values are allowed, but they do not have values. For example, the comparison
s = t is evaluated as follows:
if both s and t are initialized, their values are compared as usual.
if one side is an uninitialized variable and the other is an expression with a value, this
value is assigned to the variable;
if both sides are uninitialized variables, an error is reported.
Example 24: Remarkable sequences.A sequence with 27 integer elements is remark-
able if it contains three 1’s, three 2’s, . . . ., three 9’s arranged in such a way that for
i = 1, 2, . . . , 9 there are exactly i numbers between successive occurrences of i. Here is a
remarkable sequence:
(1, 9, 1, 2, 1, 8, 2, 4, 6, 2, 7, 9, 4, 5, 8, 6, 3, 4, 7, 5, 3, 9, 6, 8, 3, 5, 7).
7 BACKTRACKING LANGUAGES 63
Listing 40: Remarkable sequences
TYPE Sequence = ARRAY [1..27] OF INTEGER;
PROCEDURE Remarkable (VAR a: Sequence);
VAR i, j: INTEGER;
BEGIN
For i := 1 TO 9 DO
SOME j := 1 TO 25 - 2 * i DO
a[j] = i;
a[j+i+1] = i;
a[j+2*i+1] = i
END
END
END;
Listing 41: Compiling a MIX parameter
VAR v: integer;
BEGIN
v := E;
P(v)
END
Problem 1. Write a program that tests whether a given array is a remarkable sequence.
Problem 2. Find a remarkable sequence.
Due to the properties of “=”, the program shown in Listing 40 is a solution for both of these
problems! If the given sequence is initialized, the program tests whether it is remarkable; if
it is not initialized, the program assigns a remarkable sequence to it. 2
MIX. Modula–2 provides call by value (the default) and call by reference (indicated by writing
VAR before the formal parameter. Alma-0 adds a third parameter passing mechanism: call
by mixed form. The parameter is passed either by value or by reference, depending on the
form of the actual parameter.
We can think of the implementation of mixed form in the following way. Suppose that
procedure P has been declared as
PROCEDURE P (MIX n: INTEGER); BEGIN . . . .END;
The call P(v), in which v is a variable, is compiled in the usual way, interpreting MIX as VAR.
The call P(E), in which E is an expression, is compiled as if the programmer had written the
code shown in Listing 41.
Example 25: Linear Search. The function Find in Listing 42 uses a mixed form parameter.
The call Find(7,a) tests if 7 occurs in a.
The call Find(x, a), where x is an integer variable, assigns each component of a to x
by backtracking.
The sequence
Find(x, a); Find(x, b)
7 BACKTRACKING LANGUAGES 64
Listing 42: Linear search
Type Vector = ARRAY [1..N] of INTEGER;
PROCEDURE Find (MIX e: INTEGER; a: Vector);
VAR i: INTEGER;
BEGIN
SOME i := 1 TO N DO e = a[i] END
END;
Listing 43: Generalized Addition
PROCEDURE Plus (MIX x, y, z: INTEGER);
BEGIN
IF KNOWN(x); KNOWN(y) THEN z = x + y
ELSIF KNOWN(y); KNOWN(z) THEN x = z - y
ELSIF KNOWN(x); KNOWN(z) THEN y = z - x
END
END;
tests whether the arrays a and b have an element in common; if so, x receives the value
of the common element.
The statement
FORALL Find(x, a) DO Find(x, b) END
tests whether all elements of a are also elements of b.
The statement
FORALL Find(x, a); Find(x, b) DO WRITELN(x) END
prints all of the elements that a and b have in common.
2
KNOWN. The test KNOWN(x) succeeds iff the variable x is initialized.
Example 26: Generalized Addition. Listing 43 shows the declaration of a function Plus.
The call Plus(x,y,z) will succeed if x + y = z provided that at least two of the actual
parameters have values. For example, Plus(2,3,5) succeeds and Plus(5,n,12) assigns 7 to
n. 2
The language Alma-0 has a declarative semantics in which the constructs described above corre-
spond to logical formulas. It also has a procedural semantics that describes how the constructs
can be efficiently executed, using backtracking. Alma-0 demonstrates that, if appropriate care is
taken, it is possible to design PLs that smoothly combine paradigms without losing the advantages
of either paradigm.
The interesting feature of Alma-0 is that it demonstrates that it is possible to start with a simple,
well-defined language (Modula-2), remove features that are not required for the current purpose,
and add a small number of simple, new features that provide expressive power when used together.
Exercise 37. The new features of Alma-0 are orthogonal, both to the existing features of Modula-2
and to each other. How does this use of orthogonality compare with the orthogonal design of Algol
68? 2
7 BACKTRACKING LANGUAGES 65
7.3 Other Backtracking Languages
Prolog and Alma-0 are by no means the only PLs that incorporate backtracking. Others include
Icon (Griswold and Griswold 1983), SETL (Schwartz, Dewar, Dubinsky, and Schonberg 1986), and
2LP (McAloon and Tretkoff 1995).
Constraint PLs are attracting increasing attention. A program is a set of constraints, expressed
as equalities and inequalities, that must be satisfied. Prolog is strong in logical deduction but weak
in numerical calculation; constraint PLs attempt to correct this imbalance.
8 Implementation
This course is concerned mainly with the nature of PLs. Implementation techniques are a sepa-
rate, and very rich, topic. Nevertheless, there are few interesting things that we can say about
implementation, and that is the purpose of this section.
8.1 Compiling and Interpreting
8.1.1 Compiling
As we have seen, the need for programming languages at a higher level than assembly language
was recognized early. People also realized that the computer itself could perform the translation
from a high level notation to machine code. In the following quote, “conversion” is used in roughly
the sense that we would say “compilation” today.
On the other hand, large storage capacities will lead in the course of time to very
elaborate conversion routines. Programmes in the future may be written in a very
different language from that in which the machines execute them. It is to be hoped (and
it is indeed one of the objects of using a conversion routine) that many of the tiresome
blunders that occur in present-day programmes will be avoided when programmes can
be written in a language in which the programmer feels more at home. However, any
mistake that the programmer does commit may prove more difficult to find because it
will not be detected until the programme has been converted into machine language.
Before he can find the cause of the trouble the programmer will either have to investigate
the conversion process or enlist the aid of checking routines which will ‘reconvert’ and
provide him with diagnostic information in his own language. (Gill 1954)
A compiler translates source language to machine language. Since practical compilation systems
allow programs to be split into several components for compiling, there are usually several phases.
1. The components of the source program is compiled into object code.
2. The object code units and library functions required by the program are linked to form an
executable file.
3. The executable file is loaded into memory and executed.
Since machine code is executed directly, compiled programs ideally run at the maximum possible
speed of the target machine. In practice, the code generated by a compiler is usually not optimal.
For very small programs, a programmer skilled in assembly language may be able to write more
efficient code than a compiler can generate. For large programs, a compiler can perform global
optimizations that are infeasible for a human programmer and, in any case, hand-coding such large
programs would require excessive time.
All compilers perform some checks to ensure that the source code that they are translating is
correct. In early languages, such as FORTRAN, COBOL, PL/I, and C, the checking was quite
superficial and it was easy to write programs that compiled without errors but failed when they were
executed. The value of compile-time checking began to be recognized in the late 60s, and languages
such as Pascal, Ada, and C++ provided more thorough checking than their predecessors. The
8 IMPLEMENTATION 67
goal of checking is to ensure that, if a program compiles without errors, it will not fail when it is
executed. This goal is hard to achieve and, even today, there are few languages that achieve it
totally.
Compiled PLs can be classified according to whether the compiler can accept program components
or only entire programs. An Algol 60 program is a block and must be compiled as a block. Standard
Pascal programs cannot be split up, but recent dialects of Pascal provide program components.
The need to compile programs in parts was recognized at an early stage: even FORTRAN was
implemented in this way. The danger of separate compilation is that there may be inconsistencies
between the components that the compiler cannot detect. We can identify various levels of checking
that have evolved.
A FORTRAN compiler provides no checking between components. When the compiled com-
ponents are linked, the linker will report subroutines that have not been defined but it will not
detect discrepancies in the number of type of arguments. The result of such a discrepancy is,
at best, run-time failure.
C and C++ rely on the programmer to provide header files containing declarations and imple-
mentation files containing definitions. The compiler checks that declarations and definitions
are compatible.
Overloaded functions in C++ present a problem because one name may denote several func-
tions. A key design decision in C++, however, was to use the standard linker (Stroustrup
1994, page 34). The solution is “name mangling” — the C++ compiler alters the names of
functions by encoding their argument types in such a way that each function has a unique
name.
Modula-2 programs consist of interface modules and implementation modules. When the com-
piler compiles an implementation module, it reads all of the relevant interfaces and performs
full checking. In practice, the interface modules are themselves compiled for efficiency, but this
is not logically necessary.
Eiffel programs consist of classes that are compiled separately. The compiler automatically
derives an interface from the class declaration and uses the generated interfaces of other classes
to perform full checking. Other OOPLs that use this method include Blue, Dee, and Java.
8.1.2 Interpreting
An interpreter accepts source language and run-time input data and executes the program di-
rectly. It is possible to interpret without performing any translation at all, but this approach tends
to be inefficient. Consequently, most interpreters do a certain amount of translation before exe-
cuting the code. For example, the source program might be converted into an efficient internal
representation, such as an abstract syntax tree, which is then “executed”.
Interpreting is slower than executing compiled code, typically by a factor of 10 or more. Since no
time is spent in compiling, however, interpreted languages can provide immediate response. For
this reason, prototyping environments often provide an interpreted language. Early BASIC and
LISP systems relied on interpretation, but more recent interactive systems provide an option to
compile and may even provide compilation only.
Most interpreters check correctness of programs during execution, although some interpreters may
report obvious (e.g., syntactic) errors as the program is read. Language such as LISP and Smalltalk
are often said to be untyped, because programs do not contain type declarations, but this is
8 IMPLEMENTATION 68
incorrect. The type checking performed by both of these languages is actually more thorough than
that performed by C and Pascal compilers; the difference is that errors are not detected until the
offending statements are actually executed. For safety-critical applications, this may be too late.
8.1.3 Mixed Implementation Strategies
Some programming environments, particularly those for LISP, provide both interpretation and
compilation. In fact, some LISP environments allow source code and compiled code to be freely
mixed.
Byte Codes. Another mixed strategy consists of using a compiler to generate byte codes and an
interpreter to execute the byte codes. The “byte codes”, as the name implies, are simply streams
of bytes that represent the program: a machine language for an “abstract machine”. One of the
first programming systems to be based on byte codes was the Pascal “P” compiler.
The advantage of byte code programs is that they can, in principle, be run on any machine. Thus
byte codes provide a convenient way of implementing “portable” languages.
The Pascal “P” compiler provided a simple method for porting Pascal to a new kind of machine.
The “Pascal P package” consisted of the P-code compiler written in P-code. A Pascal implementor
had to perform the following steps:
1. Write a P-code interpreter. Since P-code is quite simple, this is not a very arduous job.
2. Use the P-code interpreter to interpret the P-code compiler. This step yields a P-code program
that can be used to translate Pascal programs to P-code. At this stage, the implementor has
a working Pascal system, but it is inefficient because it depends on the P-code interpreter.
3. Modify the compiler source so that the compiler generates machine code for the new machine.
This is a somewhat tedious task, but it is simplified by the fact that the compiler is written
in Pascal.
4. Use the compiler created in step 2 to compile the modified compiler. The result of this step
is a P-code program that translates Pascal to machine code.
5. Use the result of step 4 to compile the modified compiler. The result is a machine code
program that translates Pascal to machine code — in other words, a Pascal compiler for the
new machine.
Needless to say, all of these steps must be carried out with great care. It is important to ensure
that each step is completed correctly before beginning the next.
With the exercise of due caution, the process described above (called bootstrapping) can be
simplified. For example, the first version of the compiler, created in step 2 does not have to compile
the entire Pascal language, but only those parts that are needed by the compiler itself. The complete
sequence of steps can be used to generate a Pascal compiler that can compile itself, but may be
incomplete in other respects. When that compiler is available, it can be extended to compile the
full language.
Java uses byte codes to obtain portability in a different way. Java was designed to be used as an
internet language. Any program that is to be distributed over the internet must be capable of
8 IMPLEMENTATION 69
running on all the servers and clients of the network. If the program is written in a conventional
language, such as C, there must be a compiled version for every platform (a platform consists of
a machine and operating system). If the program is written in Java, it is necessary only to provide
a Java byte code interpreter for each platform.
Just In Time. “Just in time” (JIT) compilation is a recent strategy that is used for Java and a
few research languages. The idea is that the program is interpreted, or perhaps compiled rapidly
without optimization. As each statement is executed, efficient code is generated for it. This
approach is based on the following assumptions:
in a typical run, much of the code of a program will not be executed;
if a statement has been executed once, it is likely to be executed again.
JIT provides fast response, because the program can be run immediately, and efficient execution,
because the second and subsequent cycles of a loop are executed from efficiently compiled code.
Thus JIT combines some of the advantages of interpretation and compilation.
Interactive Systems A PL can be designed for writing large programs that run autonomously
or for interacting with the user. The categories overlap: PLs that can be used interactively, such
as BASIC, LISP, SML, and Smalltalk, can also be used to develop large programs. The converse
is not true: an interactive environment for C++ would not be very useful.
An interactive PL is usually interpreted, but interpretation is not the only possible means of
implementation. PLs that start out with interpreters often acquire compilers at a later stage —
BASIC, LISP, and a number of other interactive PLs followed this pattern of development.
A PL that is suitable for interactive use if programs can be described in small chunks. FPLs are often
supported interactively because a programmer can build up a program as a collection of function
definitions, where most functions are fairly small (e.g., they fit on a screen). Block structured
languages, and modular languages, are less suitable for this kind of program development.
8.1.4 Consequences for Language Design
Any PL can be compiled or interpreted. A PL intended for interpretation, however, is usually
implemented interactively. This implies that the user must be able to enter short sequences of code
that can be executed immediately in the current context. Many FPLs are implemented in this
way (often with a compiler); the user can define new functions and invoke any function that has
previously been defined.
8.2 Garbage Collection
There is a sharp distinction: either a PL is implemented with garbage collection (GC) or it is
not. The implementor does not really have a choice. An implementation of LISP, Smalltalk, or
Java without GC would be useless — programs would exhaust memory in a few minutes at most.
Conversely, it is almost impossible to implement C or C++ with GC, because programmers can
perform arithmetic on pointers.
The imperative PL community has been consistently reluctant to incorporate GC: there is no
widely-used imperative PL that provides GC. The functional PL community has been equally
8 IMPLEMENTATION 70
consistent, but in the opposite direction. The first FPL, LISP, provides GC, and so do all of its
successors.
The OOP community is divided on the issue of GC, but most OOPLs provide it: Simula, Smalltalk,
CLU, Eiffel, and Java. The exception, of course, is C++, for reasons that have been clearly
explained (Stroustrup 1994, page 219).
I deliberately designed C++ not to rely on [garbage collection]. I feared the very
significant space and time overheads I had experienced with garbage collectors. I feared
the added complexity of implementation and porting that a garbage collector would
impose. Also, garbage collection would make C++ unsuitable for many of the low-level
tasks for which it was intended. I like the idea of garbage collection as a mechanism
that simplifies design and eliminates a source of errors. However, I am fully convinced
that had garbage collection been an integral part of C++ originally, C++ would have
been stillborn.
It is interesting to study Stroustrup’s arguments in detail. In his view, the “fundamental reasons”
that garbage collection is desirable are (Stroustrup 1994, page 220):
1. Garbage collection is easiest for the user. In particular, it simplifies the building and use of
some libraries.
2. Garbage collection is more reliable than user-supplied memory management schemes for some
applications.
The emphasis is added: Stroustrup makes it clear that he would have viewed GC in a different
light if it provided advantages for all applications.
Stroustrup provides more arguments against GC than in favour of it (Stroustrup 1994, page 220):
1. Garbage collection causes run-time and space overheads that are not affordable for many
current C++ applications running on current hardware.
2. Many garbage collection techniques imply service interruptions that are not acceptable for
important classes of applications, such as hard real-time applications, device drivers, control
applications, human interface code on slow hardware, and operating system kernels.
3. Some applications do not have the hardware resources of a traditional general-purpose com-
puter.
4. Some garbage collection schemes require banning several basic C facilities such as pointer
arithmetic, unchecked arrays, and unchecked function arguments as used by printf().
5. Some garbage collection schemes impose constraints on object layout or object creation that
complicates interfacing with other languages.
It is hard to argue with Stroustrup’s conclusion (Stroustrup 1994, page 220):
I know that there are more reasons for and against, but no further reasons are needed.
These are sufficient arguments against the view that every application would be better
done with garbage collection. Similarly, these are sufficient arguments against the view
that no application would be better done with garbage collection. (Stroustrup 1994,
page 220) [Emphasis in the original.]
8 IMPLEMENTATION 71
Stroustrup’s arguments do not preclude GC as an option for C++ and, in fact, Stroustrup advo-
cates this. But it remains true that it is difficult to add GC to C++ and the best that can be done
is probably “conservative” GC. In the meantime, most C++ programmers spend large amounts of
time figuring out when to call destructors and debugging the consequences of their wrong decisions.
Conservative GC depends on the fact that it is possible to guess with a reasonable degree of
accuracy whether a particular machine word is a pointer (Boehm and Weiser 1988). In typical
modern processors, a pointer is a 4-byte quantity, aligned on a word boundary, and its value is a
legal address. By scanning memory and noting words with these properties, the GC can identify
regions of memory that might be in use. The problem is that there will be occasionally be words
that look like pointers but actually are not: this results in about 10% of garbage being retained.
The converse, and more serious problem, of identifying live data as garbage cannot occur: hence
the term “conservative”.
The implementation of Eiffel provided by Meyer’s own company, ISE, has a garbage collector that
can be turned on and off. Eiffel, however, is a public-domain language that can be implemented
by anyone who chooses to do so — there are in fact a small number of companies other than ISE
that provide Eiffel. Implementors are encouraged, but not required to provide GC. Meyer (1992,
page 335) recommends that an Eiffel garbage collector should have the following properties.
It should be efficient, with a low overhead on execution time.
It should be incremental, working in small, frequent bursts of activity rather than waiting for
memory to fill up.
It should be tunable. For example, programmers should be able to switch off GC in critical
sections and to request a full clean-up when it is safe to do so.
The concern about the efficiency of GC is the result of the poor performance of early, mark-sweep
collectors. Modern garbage collectors have much lower overheads and are “tunable” in Meyer’s
sense. Larose and Feeley (1999), for example, describe a garbage collector for a Scheme compiler.
Programs written in Erlang, translated into Scheme, and compiled with this compiler are used in
ATM switches. (Erlang is a proprietary functional language developed by Ericsson.)
GC has divided the programming community into two camps: those who use PLS with GC and
consider it indispensable, and those who use PLs without GC and consider it unnecessary. Expe-
rience with C++ is beginning to affect the polarization, as the difficulties and dangers of explicit
memory management in complex OO systems becomes apparent. Several commercial products
that offer “conservative” GC are now available and their existence suggests that developers will
increasingly respect the contribution of GC.
9 Abstraction
Abstraction is one of the most important mental tools in Computer Science. The biggest problems
that we face in Computer Science are concerned with complexity; abstraction helps us to manage
complexity. Abstraction is particularly important in the study of PLs because a PL is a two-fold
abstraction.
A PL must provide an abstract view of the underlying machine. The values that we use in pro-
gramming — integers, floats, booleans, arrays, and so on — are abstracted from the raw bits of
computer memory. The control structures that we use — assignments, conditionals, loops, and so
on — are abstracted from the basic machine instructions. The first task of a PL is to hide the
low-level details of the machine and present a manageable interface, preferably an interface that
does not depend on the particular machine that is being used.
A PL must also provide ways for the programmer to abstract information about the world. Most
programs are connected to the world in one way or another, and some programs are little more than
simulations of some aspect of the world. For example, an accounting program is, at some level, a
simulation of tasks that used to be performed by clerks and accountants. The second task of a
PL is to provide as much help as possible to the programmer who is creating a simplified model of
the complex world in a computer program.
In the evolution of PLs, the first need came before the second. Early PLs emphasize abstraction
from the machine: they provide assignments, loops, and arrays. Programs are seen as lists of
instructions for the computer to execute. Later PLs emphasize abstraction from the world: they
provide objects and processes. Programs are seen as descriptions of the world that happen to be
executable.
The idea of abstracting from the world is not new, however. The design of Algol 60 began in
the late fifties and, even at that time, the explicit goal of the designers was a “problem oriented
language”.
Example 27: Sets and Bits. Here is an early example that contrasts the problem-oriented and
machine-oriented approaches to PL design.
Pascal provides the problem-oriented abstraction set. We can declare types whose values are sets;
we can define literal constants and variables of these types; and we can write expressions using set
operations, as shown in Listing 44. In contrast, C provides bit-wise operations on integer data, as
shown in Listing 45.
These features of Pascal and C have almost identical implementations. In each case, the elements
Listing 44: Sets in Pascal
type SmallNum = set of [1..10];
var s, t: SmallNum;
var n: integer;
begin
s := [1, 3, 5, 7, 9];
t := s + [2, 4, 6, 8];
if (s <= t) . . . .
if (n in s) . . . .
end
9 ABSTRACTION 73
Listing 45: Bit operations in C
int n = 0x10101010101;
int mask = 0x10000;
if (n & mask) . . . .
of a set are encoded as positions within a machine word; the presence or absence of an element
is represented by a 1-bit or a 0-bit, respectively; and the operations for and-ing and or-ing bits
included in most machine languages are used to manipulate the words.
The appearance of the program, however, is quite different. The Pascal programmer can think
at the level of sets, whereas the C programmer is forced to think at the level of words and bits.
Neither approach is necessarily better than the other: Pascal was designed for teaching introductory
programming and C was designed for systems programmers. The trend, however, is away from
machine abstractions such as bit strings and towards problem domain abstractions such as sets. 2
9.1 Abstraction as a Technical Term
“Abstraction” is a word with quite general meaning. In Computer Science in general, and in PL
in particular, it is often given a special sense. An abstraction mechanism provides a way of
naming and parameterizing a program entity.
9.1.1 Procedures.
The earliest abstraction mechanism was the procedure, which exists in rudimentary form even in
assembly language. Procedural abstraction enables us to give a name to a statement, or group of
statements, and to use the name elsewhere in the program to trigger the execution of the statements.
Parameters enable us to customize the execution according to the particular requirements of the
caller.
9.1.2 Functions.
The next abstraction mechanism, which also appeared at an early stage was the function. Func-
tional abstraction enables us to give a name to an expression, and to use the name to trigger
evaluation of the expression.
In many PLs, procedures and functions are closely related. Typically, they have similar syntax and
similar rules of construction. The reason for this is that an abstraction mechanism that works only
for simple expressions is not very useful. In practice, we need to abstract form arbitrarily complex
programs whose main purpose is to yield a single value.
The difference between procedures and functions is most evident at the call site, where a procedure
call appears in a statement context and a function call appears in an expression context.
FORTRAN provides procedures (called “subroutines”) and functions. Interestingly, COBOL does
not provide procedure or function abstraction, although the PERFORM verb provides a rather re-
stricted and unsafe way of executing statements remotely.
LISP provides function abstraction. The effect of procedures is obtained by writing functions with
side-effects.
9 ABSTRACTION 74
Algol 60, Algol 68, and C take the view that everything is an expression. (The idea seems to be
that, since any computation leaves something in the accumulator, the programmer might as well
be allowed to use it.) Thus statements have a value in these languages. It is not surprising that
this viewpoint minimizes the difference between procedures and functions. In Algol 68 and C, a
procedure is simple a function that returns a value of type void. Since this value is unique, it
requires log 1 = 0 bits of storage and can be optimized away by the compiler.
9.1.3 Data Types.
Although Algol 68 provided a kind of data type abstraction, Pascal was more systematic and
more influential. Pascal provides primitive types, such as integer, real, and boolean, and type
expressions (C denotes an integer constant and T denotes a type):
C . . C
(C, C, . . . ., C)
array [T] of T
record v: T, . . . .end
set of T
file of T
Type expressions can be named and the names can be used in variable declarations or as components
of other types. Pascal, however, does not provide a parameter mechanism for types.
9.1.4 Classes.
Simula introduced an abstraction mechanism for classes. Although this was an important and
profound step, with hindsight we can see that two simple ideas were needed: giving a name to an
Algol block, and freeing the data component of the block from the tyranny of stack discipline.
9.2 Computational Models
There are various ways of describing a PL. We can write an informal description in natural language
(e.g., the Pascal User Manual and Report (Jensen and Wirth 1976)), a formal description in natural
language (e.g., the Algol report (Naur et al. 1960)), or a document in a formal notation (e.g., the
Revised Report on Algol 68 (van Wijngaarden et al. 1975)). Alternatively, we can provide a formal
semantics for the language, using the axiomatic, denotational, or operational approaches.
There is, however, an abstraction that is useful for describing a PL in general terms, without the
details of every construct, and that is the computational model (also sometimes called the se-
mantic model ). The computational model (CM) is an abstraction of the operational semantics of
the PL and it describes the effects of various operations without describing the actual implemen-
tation.
Programmers who use a PL acquire intuitive knowledge of its CM. When a program behaves in an
unexpected way, the implementation has failed to respect the CM.
Example 28: Passing parameters. Suppose that a PL specifies that arguments are passed by
value. This means that the programs in Listing 46 and Listing 47 are equivalent. The statement
T a = E means “the variable a has type T and initial value E” and the statement x ← a means
“the value of a is assigned (by copying) to x”.
9 ABSTRACTION 75
Listing 46: Passing a parameter
void f (T x);
¦
S;
¦
T a = E;
f(a);
Listing 47: Revealing the parameter passing mechanism
T a = E;
¦
T x;
x ← a;
S;
¦
A compiler could implement this program by copying the value of the argument, as if executing
the assignment x ← a. Alternatively, it could pass the address of the argument a to the function
but not allow the statement S to change the value of a. Both implementations respect the CM. 2
Example 29: Parameters in FORTRAN. If a FORTRAN subroutine changes the value of
one of its formal parameters (called “dummy variables” in FORTRAN parlance) the value of the
corresponding actual argument at the call site also changes. For example, if we define the subroutine
subroutine p (count)
integer count
. . . .
count = count + 1
return
end
then, after executing the sequence
integer total
total = 0
call p(total)
the value of total is 1. The most common way of achieving this result is to pass the address of the
argument to the subroutine. This enables the subroutine to both access the value of the argument
and to alter it.
Unfortunately, most FORTRAN compilers use the same mechanism for passing constant arguments.
The effect of executing
call p(0)
is to change all instances of 0 (the constant “zero”) in the program to 1 (the constant “one”)! The
resulting bugs can be quite hard to detect for a programmer who is not familiar with FORTRAN’s
idiosyncrasies.
The programmer has a mental CM for FORTRAN which predicts that, although variable arguments
may be changed by a subroutine, constant arguments will not be. The problem arises because
9 ABSTRACTION 76
typical FORTRAN compilers do not respect this CM. 2
A simple CM does not imply easy implementation. Often, the opposite is true. For example, C is
easy to compile, but has a rather complex CM.
Example 30: Array Indexing. In the CM of C, a[i] ≡ ∗(a + i). To understand this, we must
know that an array can be represented by a pointer to its first element and that we can access
elements of the array by adding the index (multiplied by an appropriate but implicit factor) to this
pointer.
In Pascal’s CM, an array is a mapping. The declaration
var A : array [1..N] of real;
introduces A as a mapping:
A : ¦ 1, . . . , N ¦ → 1.
A compiler can implement arrays in any suitable way that respects this mapping. 2
Example 31: Primitives in OOPLs. There are two ways in which an OOPL can treat primitive
entities such as booleans, characters, and integers.
Primitive values can have a special status that distinguishes them from objects. A language
that uses this policy is likely to be efficient, because the compiler can process primitives without
the overhead of treating them as full-fledged objects. On the other hand, it may be confusing
for the user to deal with two different kinds of variable — primitive values and objects.
Primitive values can be given the same status as objects. This simplifies the programmer’s
task, because all variables behave like objects, but a naive implementation will probably be
inefficient.
A solution for this dilemma is to define a CM for the language in which all variables are objects.
An implementor is then free to implement primitive values efficiently provided that the behaviour
predicted by the CM is obtained at all times.
In Smalltalk, every variable is an object. Early implementations of Smalltalk were inefficient,
because all variables were actually implemented as objects. Java provides primitives with efficient
implementations but, to support various OO features, also has classes for the primitive types. 2
Example 32: λ-Calculus as a Computational Model. FPLs are based on the theory of partial
recursive functions. They attempt to use this theory as a CM. The advantage of this point of view
is that program text resembles mathematics and, to a certain extent, programs can be manipulated
as mathematical objects.
The disadvantage is that mathematics and computation are not the same. Some operations that
are intuitively simple, such as maintaining the balance of a bank account subject to deposits and
withdrawals, are not easily described in classical mathematics. The underlying difficulty is that
many computations depend on a concept of mutable state that does not exist in mathematics.
FPLs have an important property called referential transparency. An expression is referentially
transparent if its only attribute is its value. The practical consequence of referential transparency
is that we can freely substitute equal expressions.
For example, if we are dealing with numbers, we can replace E + E by 2 E; the replacement
would save time if the evaluation of E requires a significant amount of work. However, if E was not
9 ABSTRACTION 77
referentially transparent — perhaps because its evaluation requires reading from an input stream or
the generation of random numbers — the replacement would change the meaning of the program.
2
Example 33: Literals in OOP. How should an OOPL treat literal constants, such as 7? The
following discussion is based on (K¨olling 1999, pages 71–74).
There are two possible ways of interpreting the symbol “7”: we could interpret it as an object
constructor, constructing the object 7; or as a constant reference to an object that already exists.
Dee (Grogono 1991a) uses a variant of the first alternative: literals are constructors. This introduces
several problems. For example, what does the comparison 7 = 7 mean? Are there two 7-objects or
just one? The CM of Dee says that the first occurrence of the literal “7” constructs a new object
and subsequent occurrences return a reference to this (unique) object.
Smalltalk uses the second approach. Literals are constant references to objects. These objects,
however, “just magically exist in the Smalltalk universe”. Smalltalk does not explain where they
come from, or when and how they are created.
Blue avoids these problems by introducing the new concept of a manifest class. Manifest classes
are defined by enumeration. The enumeration may be finite, as for class Boolean with members
true and false. Infinite enumerations, as for class Integer, are allowed, although we cannot see
the complete declaration.
The advantage of the Blue approach, according to K¨olling (1999, page 72), is that:
. . . . the distinction is made at the logical level. The object model explicitly recognizes
these two different types of classes, and differences between numbers and complex ob-
jects can be understood independently of implementation concerns. They cease
to be anomalies or special cases at a technical level. This reduces the dangers of mis-
understandings on the side of the programmer. [Emphasis added.]
2
Exercise 38. Do you think that K¨ olling’s arguments for introducing a new concept (manifest
classes) are justified? 2
Summary Early CMs:
modelled programs as code acting on data;
structured programs by recursive decomposition of code.
Later CMs:
modelled programs as packages of code and data;
structured programs by recursive decomposition of packages of code and data.
The CM should:
help programmers to reason about programs;
help programmers to read and write programs;
constrain but not determine the implementation.
10 Names and Binding
Names are a central feature of all programming languages. In the earliest programs, numbers were
used for all purposes, including machine addresses. Replacing numbers by symbolic names was one
of the first major improvements to program notation (Mutch and Gill 1954).
10.1 Free and Bound Names
The use of names in programming is very similar to the use of names in mathematics. We say that
“x occurs free” in an expression such as x
2
+2x +5. We do not know anything about the value of
this expression because we do not know the value of x. On the other hand, we say that “n occurs
bound” in the expression
5

n=0
(2n + 1). (1)
More precisely, the binding occurrence of n is n = 0 and the n in the expression (2n + 1) is a
reference to, or use of , to this binding.
There are two things to note about (1). First, it has a definite value, 36, because n is bound to a
value (actually, the set of values ¦ 0, 1, . . . , 5 ¦). Second, the particular name that we use does not
change the value of the expression. If we systematically change n to k, we obtain the expression

5
k=0
(2k + 1), which has the same value as (1).
Similarly, the expression


0
e
−x
dx,
which contains a binding occurence of x (in dx) and a use of x (in e
−x
), has a value that does not
depend on the particular name x.
The expression

e
−x
dx,
is interesting because it binds x but does not have a numerical value; the convention is that it
denotes a function, −e
−x
. The conventional notation for functions, however, is ambiguous. It is
clear that −e
−x
is a function of x because, by convention, e denotes a constant. But what about
−e
−ax
: is it a function of a or a function of x? There are several ways of resolving this ambiguity.
We can write
x → −e
−ax
,
read “x maps to −e
−ax
”. Or we can use the notation of the λ-calculus:
λx. −e
−ax
.
In predicate calculus, predicates may contain free names, as in:
n mod 2 = 0 ⇒ n
2
mod 2 = 0. (2)
Names are bound by the quantifiers ∀ (for all) and ∃ (there exists). We say that the formula
∀n. n mod 2 = 0 ⇒ n
2
mod 2 = 0
10 NAMES AND BINDING 79
is closed because it contains no free variables. In this case, the formula is also true because (2) is
true for all values of n. Strictly, we should specify the range of values that n is allowed to assume.
We could do this implicitly: for example, it is very likely that (2) refers to integers. Alternatively,
we could define the range of values explicitly, as in
∀n ∈ Z . n mod 2 = 0 ⇒ n
2
mod 2 = 0.
Precisely analogous situations occur in programming. In the function
int f(int n)
¦
return k +n;
¦
k occurs free and n occurs bound. Note that we cannot tell the value of n from the definition of
the function but we know that n will be given a value when the function is called.
In most PLs, a program with free variables will not compile. A C compiler, for example, will
accept the function f defined above only if it is compiled in a scope that contains a declaration of
k. Some early PLs, such as FORTRAN and PL/I, provided implicit declarations for variables that
the programmer did not declare; this is now understood to be error-prone and is not a feature of
recent PLs.
10.2 Attributes
In mathematics, a variable normally has only one attribute: its value. In (1), n is bound to the
values 0, 1, . . . , 5. Sometimes, we specify the domain from which these values are chosen, as in
n ∈ Z.
In programming, a name may have several attributes, and they may be bound at different times.
For example, in the sequence
int n;
n = 6;
the first line binds the type int to n and the second line binds the value 6 to n. The first binding
occurs when the program is compiled. (The compiler records the fact that the type of n is int;
neither this fact nor the name n appears explicitly in the compiled code.) The second binding
occurs when the program is executed.
This example shows that there are two aspects of binding that we must consider in PLs: the
attribute that is bound, and the time at which the binding occurs. The attributes that may be
bound to a name include: type, address, and value. The times at which the bindings occur include:
compile time, link time, load time, block entry time, and statement execution time.
Definition. A binding is static if it occurs during before the program is executed: during compi-
lation or linking. A binding is dynamic if it occurs while the program is running: during loading,
block entry, or statement execution.
Example 34: Binding. Consider the program shown in Listing 48. The address of k is bound
when the program starts; its value is bound by the scanf call. The address and value of n are
bound only when the function f is called; if f is not called (because k ≤ 0), then n is never bound.
2
10 NAMES AND BINDING 80
Listing 48: Binding
void f()
¦
int n=7;
printf("%d", n);
¦
void main ()
¦
int k;
scanf("%d", &k);
if (k>0)
f();
¦
10.3 Early and Late Binding
An anonymous contributor to the Encyclopedia of Computer Science wrote:
Broadly speaking, the history of software development is the history of ever-later binding
time.
As a rough rule of thumb:
Early binding ⇒ efficiency;
Late binding ⇒ flexibility.
Example 35: Variable Addressing. In FORTRAN, addresses are bound to variable names at
compile time. The result is that, in the compiled code, variables are addressed directly, without
any indexing or other address calculations. (In reality, the process is somewhat more complicated.
The compiler assigns an address relative to a compilation unit. When the program is linked, the
address of the unit within the program is added to this address. When the program is loaded, the
address of the program is added to the address. The important point is that, by the time execution
begins, the “absolute” address of the variable is known.)
FORTRAN is efficient, because absolute addressing is used. It is inflexible, because all addresses
are assigned at load time. This leads to wasted space, because all local variables occupy space
whether or not they are being used, and also prevents the use of direct or indirect recursion.
In languages of the Algol family (Algol 60, Algol 68, C, Pascal, etc.), local variables are allocated on
the run-time stack. When a function is called, a stack frame (called, in this context, an activation
record or AR) is created for it and space for its parameters and local variables is allocated in the
AR. The variable must be addressed by adding an offset (computed by the compiler) to the address
of the AR, which is not known until the function is called.
Algol-style is slightly less efficient than FORTRAN because addresses must be allocated at block-
entry time and indexed addressing is required. It is more flexible than FORTRAN because inactive
functions do not use up space and recursion works.
Languages that provide dynamic allocation, such as Pascal and C and most of their successors, have
yet another way of binding an address to a variable. In these languages, a statement such as new(p)
10 NAMES AND BINDING 81
allocates space on the “heap” and stores the address of that space in the pointer p. Accessing the
variable requires indirect addressing, which is slightly slower then indexed addressing, but greater
flexibility is obtained because dynamic variables do not have to obey stack discipline (last in, first
out). 2
Example 36: Function Addressing. When the compiler encounters a function definition, it
binds an address to the function name. (As above, several steps must be completed before the
absolute address of the function is determined, but this is not relevant to the present discussion.)
When the compiler encounters a function invocation, it generates a call to the address that it has
assigned to the function.
This statement is true of all PLs developed before OOP was introduced. OOPLs provide “virtual”
functions. A virtual function name may refer to several functions. The actual function referred to
in a particular invocation is not in general known until the call is executed.
Thus in non-OO PLs, functions are statically bound, with the result that calls are efficiently
executed but no decisions can be made at run-time. In OOPLs, functions are dynamically bound.
Calls take longer to execute, but there is greater flexibility because the decision as to which function
to execute is made at run-time.
The overhead of a dynamically-bound function call depends on the language. In Smalltalk, the
overhead can be significant, because the CM requires a search. In practice, the search can be
avoided in up to 95% of calls by using a cache. In C++, the compiler generates “virtual function
tables” and dynamic binding requires only indirect addressing. Note, however, that this provides
yet another example of the principle: Smalltalk binds later than C++, runs more slowly, but
provides greater flexibility. 2
10.4 What Can Be Named?
The question “what can be named?” and its converse “what can be denoted?” are important
questions to ask about a PL.
Definition. An entity can be named if the PL provides a definitional mechanism that associates
a name with an instance of the entity. An entity can be denoted if the PL provides ways of
expressing instances of the entity as expressions.
Example 37: Functions. In C, we can name functions but we cannot denote them. The definition
int f(int x)
¦
B
¦
introduces a function with name f, parameter x, and body B. Thus functions in C can be named.
There is no way that we can write a function without a name in C. Thus functions in C cannot be
denoted.
The corresponding definition in Scheme would be:
(defun f (lambda (x)
E))
10 NAMES AND BINDING 82
This definition can be split into two parts: the name of the function being defined (f) and the
function itself ((lambda (x) E)). The notation is analogous to that of the λ-calculus:
f = λx. E
FPLs allow expressions analogous to λx. E to be used as functions. LISP, as mentioned in Sec-
tion 5.1, is not one of these languages. However, Scheme is, and so are SML and other FPLs.
2
Example 38: Types. In early versions of C, types could be denoted but not named. For example,
we could write
int *p[10];
but we could not give a name to the type of p (“array of 10 pointers to int”). Later versions of C
introduced the typedef statement, making types nameable:
typedef int *API[10];
API p;
2
10.5 What is a Variable Name?
We have seen that most PLs choose between two interpretations of a variable name. In a PL
with value semantics, variable names denote memory locations. Assigning to a variable changes
the contents of the location named by the variable. In a PL with reference semantics, variable
names denote objects in memory. Assigning to a variable, if permitted by the language, changes
the denotation of the name to a different object.
Reference semantics is sometimes called “pointer semantics”. This is reasonable in the sense that
the implementation of reference semantics requires the storage of addresses — that is, pointers.
It is misleading in that providing pointers is not the same as providing reference semantics. The
distinction is particularly clear in Hoare’s work on PLs. Hoare (1974) has this to say about the
introduction of pointers into PLs.
Many language designers have preferred to extend [minor, localized faults in Algol 60
and other PLs] throughout the whole language by introducing the concept of reference,
pointer, or indirect address into the language as an assignable item of data. This
immediately gives rise in a high-level language to one of the most notorious confusions
of machine code, namely that between an address and its contents. Some languages
attempt to solve this by even more confusing automatic coercion rules. Worse still, an
indirect assignment through a pointer, just as in machine code, can update any store
location whatsoever, and the damage is no longer confined to the variable explicitly
names as the target of assignment. For example, in Algol 68, the assignment
x := y
always changes x, but the assignment
p := y + 1
may, if p is a reference variable, change any other variable (of appropriate type) in the
whole machine. One variable it can never change is p! . . . . References are like jumps,
10 NAMES AND BINDING 83
leading wildly from one part of a data structure to another. Their introduction into
high-level languages has been a step backward from which we may never recover.
One year later, Hoare (1975) provided his solution to the problem of references in high-level PLs:
In this paper, we will consider a class of data structures for which the amount of
storage can actually vary during the lifetime of the data, and we will show that it can
be satisfactorily accommodated in a high-level language using solely high-level problem-
oriented concepts, and without the introduction of references.
The implementation that Hoare proposes in this paper is a reference semantics with types. Explicit
types make it possible to achieve
. . . . a significant improvement on the efficiency of compiled LISP, perhaps even a
factor of two in space-time cost for suitable applications. (Hoare 1975)
All FPLs and most OOPLs (the notable exception, of course, being C++) use reference semantics.
There are good reasons for this choice, but the reasons are not the same for each paradigm.
In a FPL, all (or at least most) values are immutable. If X and Y are have the same value,
the program cannot tell whether X and Y are distinct objects that happen to be equal, or
pointers to the same object. It follows that value semantics, which requires copying, would be
wasteful because there is no point in making copies of immutable objects.
(LISP provides two tests for equality. (eq x y) is true if x and y are pointers to the same
object. (equal x y) is true if the objects x and y have the same extensional value. These
two functions are provided partly for efficiency and partly to cover up semantic deficiencies of
the implementation. Some other languages provide similar choices for comparison.)
One of the important aspects of OOP is object identity. If a program object X corresponds
to a unique entity in the world, such as a person, it should be unique in the program too. This
is most naturally achieved with a reference semantics.
The use of reference semantics in OOP is discussed at greater length in (Grogono and Chalin 1994).
10.6 Polymorphism
The word “polymorphism” is derived from Greek and means, literally, “many shapes”. In PLs,
“polymorphism” is used to describe a situation in which one name can refer to several different
entities. The most common application is to functions. There are several kinds of polymorphism;
the terms “ad hoc polymorphism” and “parametric polymorphism” are due to Christopher Strachey.
10.6.1 Ad Hoc Polymorphism
In the code
int m, n;
float x, y;
printf("%d %f", m+n, x +y);
10 NAMES AND BINDING 84
the symbol “+” is used in two different ways. In the expression m + n, it stands for the function
that adds two integers. In the expression x +y, it stands for the function that adds two floats.
In general, ad hoc polymorphism refers to the use of a single function name to refer to two or more
distinct functions. Typically the compiler uses the types of the arguments of the function to decide
which function to call. Ad hoc polymorphism is also called “overloading”.
Almost all PLs provide ad hoc polymorphism for built-in operators such as “+”, “−”, “*”, etc.
Ada, C++, and other recent languages also allow programmers to overload functions. (Strictly,
we should say “overload function names” but the usage “overloaded functions” is common.) In
general, all that the programmer has to do is write several definitions, using the same function
name, but ensuring that the either the number or the type of the arguments are different.
Example 39: Overloaded Functions. The following code declares three distinct functions in
C++.
int max (int x, int y);
int max (int x, int y, int z);
float max (float x, float y);
2
10.6.2 Parametric Polymorphism
Suppose that a language provides the type list as a parameterized type. That is, we can make
declarations such as these:
list(int)
list(float)
Suppose also that we have two functions: sum computes the sum of the components of a given
list, and len computes the number of components in a given list. There is an important difference
between these two functions. In order to compute the sum of a list, we must be able to choose an
appropriate “add” function, and this implies that we must know the type of the components. On
the other hand, there seems to be no need to know the type of the components if all we need to do
is count them.
A function such as len, which counts the components of a list but does not care about their type,
has parametric polymorphism.
Example 40: Lists in SML. In SML, functions can be defined by cases, “[]” denotes the empty
list, and “::” denotes list construction. We write definitions without type declarations and SML
infers the types. Here are functions that sum the components of a list and count the components
of a list, respectively.:
sum [] = 0
| sum (x::xs) = x + sum(xs)
len [] = 0
| len(x::xs) = 1 + len(xs)
SML infers the type of sum to be list(int) → int: since the sum of the empty list is (integer)
0, the type of the operator “+” must be int int → int, and all of the components must be
integers.
10 NAMES AND BINDING 85
For the function len, SML can infer nothing about the type of the components from the function
definition, and it assigns the type list(α) → int to the function. α is a type variable, acting as a
type parameter. When len is applied to an actual list, α will implicitly assume the type of the list
components. 2
10.6.3 Object Polymorphism
In OOPLs, there may be many different objects that provide a function called, say, f. However,
the effect of invoking f may depend on the object. The details of this kind of polymorphism,
which are discussed in Section 6, depend on the particular OOPL. This kind of polymorphism is a
fundamental, and very important, aspect of OOP.
10.7 Assignment
Consider the assignment x := E. Whatever the PL, the semantics of this statement will be
something like:
evaluate the expression E;
store the value obtained in x.
The assignment is unproblematic if x and E have the same type. But what happens if they have
different types? There are several possibilities.
The statement is considered to be an error. This will occur in a PL that provides static type
checking but does not provide coercion. For example, Pascal provides only a few coercions
(subrange to integer, integer to real, etc.) and rejects other type differences.
The compiler will generate code to convert the value of expression E to the type of x. This
approach was taken to extremes in COBOL and PL/I. It exists in C and C++, but C++ is
stricter than C.
The value of E will be assigned to x anyway. This is the approach taken by PLs that use
dynamic type checking. Types are associated with objects rather than with names.
10.8 Scope and Extent
The two most important properties of a variable name are scope and extent.
10.8.1 Scope
The scope of a name is the region of the program text in which a name may be used. In C++, for
example, the scope of a local variable starts at the declaration of the variable and ends at the end
of the block in which the declaration appears, as shown in Listing 49. Scope is a static property
of a name that is determined by the semantics of the PL and the text of the program. Examples
of other scope rules follow.
FORTRAN. Local variables are declared at the start of subroutines and at the start of the main
program. Their scope starts at the declarations and end at the end of the program unit (that
10 NAMES AND BINDING 86
Listing 49: Local scope in C++
¦
// x not accessible.
t x;
// x accessible
. . . .
¦
// x still accessible in inner block
. . . .
¦
// x still accessible
¦
// x not accessible
Listing 50: FORTRAN COMMON blocks
subroutine first
integer i
real a(100)
integer b(250)
common /myvars/ a, b
. . . .
return
end
subroutine second
real x(100), y(100)
integer k(250)
common /myvars/ x, k, y
. . . .
return
end
is, subroutine or main program) within which the declaration appears. Subroutine names
have global scope. It is also possible to make variables accessible in selected subroutines
by means of COMMON statements, as shown in Listing 50. This method of “scope control” is
insecure because the compiler does not attempt to check consistency between program units.
Algol 60. Local variables are declared at the beginning of a block. Scopes are nested: a declara-
tion of a name in an inner block hides a declaration of the same name in an outer block, as
shown in Listing 51.
The fine control of scope provided by Algol 60 was retained in Algol 68 but simplified in other
PLs of the same generation.
Pascal. Control structures and nested functions are nested but declarations are allowed only at
the start of the program or the start of a function declaration. In early Pascal, the order of
declarations was fixed: constants, types, variables, and functions were declared in that order.
Later dialects of Pascal sensibly relaxed this ordering.
Pascal also has a rather curious scoping feature: within the statement S of the statement
10 NAMES AND BINDING 87
Listing 51: Nested scopes in Algol 60
begin
real x; integer k;
begin
real x;
x := 3.0
end;
x := 6.0;
end
with r do S, a field f of the record r may be written as f rather than as r.f.
C. Function declarations cannot be nested and all local variables must appear before executable
statements in a block. The complete rules of C scoping, however, are complicated by the fact
that C has five overloading classes (Harbison and Steele 1987):
preprocessor macro names;
statement labels;
structure, union, and enumeration tags;
component names;
other names.
Consequently, the following declarations do not conflict:
¦
char str[200];
struct str ¦int m, n; ¦ x;
. . . .
¦
Inheritance. In OOPLs, inheritance is, in part, a scoping mechanism. When a child class C
inherits a parent class P, some or all of the attributes of P are made visible in C.
C++. There are a number of additional scope control mechanisms in C++. Class attributes may
be declared private (visible only with the class), protected (visible within the class and
derived classes), and public (visible outside the class). Similarly, a class may be derived as
private, protected, or public. A function or a class may be declared as a friend of a class,
giving it access to the private attributes of the class. Finally, C++ follows C in providing
directives such as static and extern to modify scope.
Global Scope. The name is visible throughout the program. Global scope is useful for pervasive
entities, such as library functions and fundamental constants (π = 3.1415926) but is best
avoided for application variables.
FORTRAN does not have global variables, although programmers simulate them by over
using COMMON declarations. Subroutine names in FORTRAN are global.
Names declared at the beginning of the outermost block of Algol 60 and Pascal programs
have global scope. (There may be “holes” in these global scopes if the program contains local
declarations of the same names.)
10 NAMES AND BINDING 88
Listing 52: Declaration before use
void main ()
¦
const int i = 6;
¦
int j = i;
const int i = 7;
cout << j << endl;
¦
¦
Listing 53: Qualified names
class Widget
¦
public:
void f();
¦;
Widget w;
f(); // Error: f is not in scope
w.f(); // OK
The largest default scope in C is “file scope”. Global scope can be obtained using the storage
class extern.
Local Scope. In block-structured languages, names declared in a block are local to the block.
There is a question as to whether the scope starts at the point of definition or is the entire
block. (In other words, does the PL require “declaration before use”?) C++ uses the “declare
before use” rule and the program in Listing 52 prints 6.
In Algol 60 and C++, local scopes can be as small as the programmer needs. Any statement
context can be instantiated by a block that contains local variable declarations. In other
languages, such as Pascal, local declarations can be used only in certain places. Although a
few people do not like the fine control offered by Algol 60 and C++, it seems best to provide
the programmer with as much freedom as possible and to keep scopes as small as possible.
Qualified Scope. The components of a structure, such as a Pascal record or a C struct, have
names. These names are usually hidden, but can be made visible by the name of the object.
Listing 53 provides an example in C++. The construct w. opens a scope in which the public
attributes of the object w are visible.
The dot notation also appears in many OOPLs, where is it used to select attributes and
functions of an object. For an attribute, the syntax is the same: o.a denotes attribute a of
object o. If the attribute is a function, a parameter list follows: o.f(x) denotes the invocation
of function f with argument x in object o.
Import and Export. In modular languages, such as Modula-2, a name or group of names can be
brought into a scope with an import clause. The module that provides the definitions must
have a corresponding export clause.
10 NAMES AND BINDING 89
Typically, if module A exports name X and module B imports name X from A, then X may be
used in module B as if it was declared there.
Namespaces. The mechanisms above are inadequate for very large programs developed by large
teams. Problems arise when a project uses several libraries that may have conflicting names.
Namespaces, provided by PLs such as C++ and Common LISP, provide a higher level of
name management than the regular language features.
In summary:
Nested scopes are convenient in small regions, such as functions. The advantage of nested
scopes for large structures, such as classes or modules, is doubtful.
Nesting is a form of scope management. For large structures, explicit control by name qualifi-
cation may be better than nesting.
Qualified names work well at the level of classes and modules, when the source of names is
obvious.
The import mechanism has the problem that the source of a name is not obvious where it
appears: users must scan possibly remote import declarations.
Qualified names are inadequate for very large programs.
Library designers can reduce the potential for name conflicts by using distinctive prefixes. For
example, all names supplied by the commercial graphics library FastGraph are have fg_ as a
prefix.
Namespaces provide a better solution than prefixes.
Scope management is important because the programmer has no “work arounds” if the scoping
mechanisms provided by the PL are inadequate. This is because PLs typically hide the scoping
mechanisms.
If a program is compiled, names will normally not be accessible at run-time unless they are included
for a specific purpose such as debugging. In fact, one way to view compiling is as a process that
converts names to numbers.
Interpreters generally have a repository that contains the value of each name currently accessible
to the program, but programmers may have limited access to this repository.
10.8.2 Are nested scopes useful?
As scope control mechanisms became more complicated, some people began to question to need for
nested scopes (Clarke, Wilden, and Wolf 1980; Hanson 1981).
On a small scale, for example in statement and functions, nesting works fairly well. It is,
however, the cause of occasional errors that could be eliminated by requiring all names in a
statement or function to be unique.
On a large scale, for example in classes and modules, nesting is less effective because there is
more text and a larger number of names. It is probably better to provide special mechanisms
to provide the scope control that is needed rather than to rely on simple nesting.
10 NAMES AND BINDING 90
C++ allows classes to be nested (this seems inconsistent, given that functions cannot be nested).
The effect is that the nested class can be accessed only by the enclosing class. An alternative
mechanism would be a declaration that states explicitly that class A can be accessed only by class
B. This mechanism would have the advantage that it would also be able to describe constraints
such as “class A can be accessed only by classes B, C, and D”.
10.8.3 Extent
The extent, also called lifetime, of a name is the period of time during program execution during
which the object corresponding to the name exists. Understanding the relation between scope and
extent is an important part of understanding a PL.
Global names usually exist for the entire lifetime of the execution: they have global extent.
In FORTRAN, local variables also exist for the lifetime of the execution. Programmers assume
that, on entry to a subroutine, its local variables will not have changed since the last invocation of
the subroutine.
In Algol 60 and subsequent stack-based languages, local variables are instantiated whenever control
enters a block and they are destroyed (at least in principle) when control leaves the block. It is an
error to create an object on the stack and to pass a reference to that object to an enclosing scope.
Some PLs attempt to detect this error (e.g., Algol 68), some try to prevent it from occurring (e.g.,
Pascal), and others leave it as a problem for the programmer (e.g., C and C++).
In PLs that use a reference model, objects usually have unlimited extent, whether or not their
original names are accessible. Examples include Simula, Smalltalk, Eiffel, CLU, and all FPLs. The
advantage of the reference model is that the problems of disappearing objects (dangling pointers)
and inaccessible objects (memory leaks) do not occur. The disadvantage is that GC and the
accompanying overhead are more or less indispensable.
The separation of extent from scope was a key step in the evolution of post-Algol PLs.
11 Structure
The earliest programs had little structure. Although a FORTRAN program has a structure — it
consists of a main program and subroutines — the main program and the subroutines themselves
are simply lists of statements.
11.1 Block Structure
Algol 60 was the first major PL to provide recursive, hierarchical structure. It is probably significant
that Algol 60 was also the first language to be defined, syntactically at least, with a context-
free grammar. It is straightforward to define recursive structures using context-free grammars —
specifically, a grammar written in Backus-Naur Form (BNF) for Algol 60. The basis of Algol 60
syntax can be written in extended BNF as follows:
PROG → BLOCK
BLOCK → "begin" ¦ DECL ¦ ¦ STMT ¦ "end"
STMT → BLOCK [
DECL → FUNCDECL [
FUNCDECL → HEAD BLOCK
With blocks come nested scopes. Earlier languages had local scope (for example, FORTRAN
subroutines have local variables) but scopes were continuous (no “holes”) and not nested. It was
not possible for one declaration to override another declaration of the same name. In Algol 60,
however, an inner declaration overrides an outer declaration. The outer block in Listing 54 declares
an integer k, which is first set to 6 and then incremented. The inner block declares another integer
k which is set to 4 and then disappears without being used at the end of the block.
See Section 10.8.1 for further discussion of nesting.
11.2 Modules
By the early 70s, people realized that the “monolithic” structure of Algol-like programs was too
restricted for large and complex programs. Furthermore, the “separate compilation” model of
FORTRAN — and later C — was seen to be unsafe.
The new model that was introduced by languages such as Mesa and Modula divided a large program
into modules.
Listing 54: Nested Declarations
begin
integer k;
k := 6;
begin
integer k;
k := 1;
end;
k := k + 1;
end;
11 STRUCTURE 92
A module is a meaningful unit (rather than a collection of possibly unrelated declarations)
that may introduce constants, types, variables, and functions (called collectively features).
A module may import some or all of its features.
In typical modular languages, modules can export types, functions, and variables.
Example 41: Stack Module. One module of a program might declare a stack module:
module Stack
¦
export initialize, push, pop, . . . .
. . . .
¦
Elsewhere in the program, we could use the stack module:
import Stack;
initialize();
push(67);
. . . .
2
This form of module introduces a single instance: there is only one stack, and it is shared by all
parts of the program that import it. In contrast, a stack template introduces a type from which
we can create as many instances as we need.
Example 42: Stack Template. The main difference between the stack module and the stack
template is that the template exports a type.
module Stack
¦
export type STACK, initialize, push, pop, . . . .
. . . .
¦
In other parts of the program, we can use the type STACK to create stacks.
import Stack;
STACK myStack;
initialize(myStack);
push(myStack, 67);
. . . .
STACK yourStack;
. . . .
2
The fact that we can declare many stacks is somewhat offset by the increased complexity of the
notation: the name of the stack instance must appear in every function call. Some modular
languages provide an alternative syntax in which the name of the instance appears before the
function name, as if the module was a record. The last few lines of the example above would be
written as:
import Stack;
STACK myStack;
11 STRUCTURE 93
myStack.initialize();
myStack.push(67);
. . . .
11.2.1 Encapsulation
Parnas (1972) wrote a paper that made a number of important points.
A large program will be implemented as a set of modules.
Each programmer, or programming team, will be the owners of some modules and users of
other modules.
It is desirable that a programmer should be able to change the implementation of a module
without affecting (or even informing) other programmers.
This implies that a module should have an interface that is relatively stable and an imple-
mentation that changes as often as necessary. Only the owner of a module has access to its
implementation; users do not have such access.
Parnas introduced these ideas as the “principle of information hiding”. Today, it is more usual to
refer to the goals as encapsulation.
In order to use the module correctly without access to its implementation, users require a spec-
ification written in an appropriate language. The specification answer the question “What does
this module do?” and the implementation answers the question “How does this module work?”
Most people today accept Parnas’s principle, even if they do not apply it well. It is therefore
important to appreciate how radical it was at the time of its introduction.
[Parnas] has proposed a still more radical solution. His thesis is that the programmer
is most effective if shielded from, rather than exposed to, the details of construction of
system parts other than his own. This presupposes that all interfaces are completely
and precisely defined. While that is definitely sound design, dependence upon its per-
fect accomplishment is a recipe for disaster. A good information system both exposes
interface errors and stimulates their correction. (Brooks 1975, page 78)
Brooks wrote this in the first edition of The Mythical Man Month in 1975. Twenty years later, he
had changed his mind.
Parnas was right, and I was wrong. I am now convinced that information hiding, today
often embodied in object-oriented programming, is the only was of raising the level of
software design. (Brooks 1995, page 272)
Parnas’s paper was published in 1972, only shortly after Wirth’s (1971) paper on program de-
velopment by stepwise refinement. Yet Parnas’s approach is significantly different from Wirth’s.
Whereas Wirth assumes that a program can be constructed by filling in details, perhaps with occa-
sional backtracking to correct an error, Parnas sees programming as an iterative process in which
revisions and alterations are part of the normal course of events. This is a more “modern” view
and certainly a view that reflects the actual construction of large and complex software systems.
11 STRUCTURE 94
11.3 Control Structures
Early PLs, such as FORTRAN, depended on three control structures:
sequence;
transfer (goto);
call/return.
These structures are essentially those provided by assembly language. The first contribution of PLs
was to provide names for variables and infix operators for building expressions.
The “modern” control structures first appeared in Algol 60. The most significant contribution
of Algol 60 was the block: a program unit that could contain data, functions, and statements.
Algol 60 also contributed the familiar if-then-else statement and a rather complex loop statement.
However, Algol 60 also provided goto statements and most programmers working in the sixties
assumed that goto was essential.
The storm of controversy raised by Dijkstra’s (1968) letter condemning the goto statement indicates
the extent to which programmers were wedded to the goto statement. Even Knuth (1974) entered
the fray with arguments supporting the goto statement in certain circumstances, although his
paper is well-balanced overall. The basic ideas that Dijkstra proposed were as follows.
There should be one flow into, and one flow out of, each control structure.
All programming needs can be met by three structures satisfying the above property: the
sequence; the loop with preceding test (while-do); and the conditional (if-then-else).
Dijkstra’s proposals had previously been justified in a formal sense by Bohm and Jacopini (1966).
This paper establishes that any program written with goto statements can be rewritten as an
equivalent program that uses sequence, conditional, and loop structures only; it may be necessary
to introduce Boolean variables. Although the result is interesting, Dijkstra’s main point was not
to transform old, goto-ridden programs but to write new programs using simple control structures
only.
Despite the controversy, Dijkstra’s arguments had the desired effect. In languages designed after
1968, the role of goto was down-played. Both C and Pascal have goto statements but they are
rarely used in well-written programs. C, with break, continue, and return, has even less need
for goto than Pascal. Ada has a goto statement because it was part of the US DoD requirements
but, again, it is rarely needed.
The use of control structures rather than goto statements has several advantages.
It is easier to read and maintain programs. Maintenance errors are less common.
Precise reasoning (for example, the use of formal semantics) is simplified when goto statements
are absent.
Certain optimizations become feasible because the compiler can obtain more precise informa-
tion in the absence of goto statements.
11.3.1 Loop Structures.
The control structure that has elicited the most discussion is the loop. The basic loop has a single
test that precedes the body:
11 STRUCTURE 95
Listing 55: Reading in Pascal
var n, sum : int;
sum := 0;
read(n);
while n ≥ 0 do
begin
sum := sum + n;
read(n);
end
Listing 56: Reading in C
int sum = 0;
while (true)
¦
int n;
cin >> n;
if (n < 0)
break;
sum += n;
¦
while E do S
It is occasionally useful to perform the test after the body: Pascal provides repeat/until and C
provides do/while.
This is not quite enough, however, because there are situations in which it is useful to exit from
a loop from within the body. Consider, for example, the problem of reading and adding numbers,
terminating when a negative number is read without including the negative number in the sum.
Listing 55 shows the code in Pascal. In C and C++, we can use break to avoid the repeated code,
as shown in Listing 56.
Some recent languages, recognizing this problem, provide only one form of loop statement consisting
of an unconditional repeat and a conditional exit that can be used anywhere in the body of the
loop.
11.3.2 Procedures and Functions
Some languages, such as Ada and Pascal, distinguish the terms procedure and function. Both
names refer to “subroutines” — program components that perform a specific task when invoked
from another component of the program. A procedure is a subroutine that has some effect on the
program data but does not return a result. A function is a subroutine that returns a result; a
function may have some effect on program data, called a “side effect”, but this is often considered
undesirable.
Languages that make a distinction between procedures and functions usually also make a distinction
between “actions” and “data”. For example, at the beginning of the first Pascal text (Jensen and
Wirth 1976), we find the following statement:
11 STRUCTURE 96
An algorithm or computer program consists of two essential parts, a description of
actions which are to be performed, and a description of the data, which are manip-
ulated by the actions. Actions are described be so-called statements, and data are
described by so-called declarations and definitions.
In other languages, such as Algol and C, the distinction between “actions” and “data” is less
emphasized. In these languages, every “statement” has a value as well as an effect. Consistently,
the distinction between “procedure” and “function” also receives less emphasis.
C, for example, does not have keywords corresponding to procedure and function. There is a
single syntax for declaring and defining all functions and a convention that, if a function does not
return a result, it is given the return type void.
We can view the progression here as a separation of concerns. The “concerns” are: whether a
subroutine returns a value; and whether it has side-effects. Ada and Pascal combine the concerns
but, for practical reasons, allow “functions with side-effects”. In C, there are two concerns: “having
a value” and “having an effect” and they are essentially independent.
Example 43: Returning multiple results. Blue (K¨olling 1999) has a uniform notation for
returning either one or more results. For example, we can define a routine with this heading:
findElem (index: Integer) -> (found: Boolean, elem: Element) is . . . .
The parameter index is passed to the routine findElem, and the routine returns two values: found
to indicate whether something was found, and elem as the object found. (If the object is not found,
elem is set to the special value nil.)
Adding multiple results introduces the problem of how to use the results. Blue also provides
multi-assignments: we can write
success, thing := findElem("myKey")
Multi-assignments, provided they are implemented properly, provide other advantages. For example
we can write the standard “swap sequence”
t := a;
a := b;
b := t;
in the more concise and readable form
a, b := b, a
2
Exercise 39. Describe a “proper” implementation of the multi-assignment statement. Can you
think of any other applications of multi-assignment? 2
Exercise 40. Using Example 43 and other examples, discuss the introduction of new features into
PLs. 2
11.3.3 Exceptions.
The basic control structures are fine for most applications provided that nothing goes wrong.
Although in principle we can do everything with conditions and loops, there are situations in which
these constructs are inadequate.
11 STRUCTURE 97
Example 44: Matrix Inversion. Suppose that we are writing a function that inverts a matrix. In
almost all cases, the given matrix is non-singular and the inversion proceeds normally. Occasionally,
however, a singular matrix is passed to the function and, at some point in the calculation, a division
by zero will occur. What choices do we have?
We could test the matrix for singularity before starting to invert it. Unfortunately, the test
involves computing the determinant of the matrix, which is almost as much work as inverting
it. This is wasteful, because we know that most of the matrices that we will receive are
non-singular.
We could test every divisor before performing a division. This is wasteful if the matrix is
unlikely to be singular. Moreover, the divisions probably occur inside nested loops: each level
of loop will require Boolean variables and exit conditions that are triggered by a zero divisor,
adding overhead.
Rely on the hardware to signal an exception when division by zero occurs. The exception
can be caught by a handler that can be installed at any convenient point in the calling
environment.
2
PL/I (Section 4.5) was the first major language to provide exception handling. C provided prim-
itives (setjmp/longjmp) that made it possible to implement exceptin handling. For further de-
scriptions of exception handling in particular languages, see Section 4.
12 Issues in OOP
OOP is the programming paradigm that currently dominates industrial software development. In
this section, we discuss various issues that arise in OOP.
12.1 Algorithms + Data Structures = Programs
The distinction between code and data was made at an early stage. It is visible in FORTRAN and
reinforced in Algol 60. Algol provided the recursive block structure for code but almost no facilities
for data structuring. Algol 68 and Pascal provided recursive data structures but maintained the
separation between code and data.
LISP brought algorithms (in the form of functions) and data structures together, but:
the mutability of data was downplayed;
subsequent FPLs reverted to the Algol model, separating code and data.
Simula started the move back towards the von Neumann Architecture at a higher level of abstraction
than machine code: the computer was recursively divided into smaller computers, each with its
own code and stack. This was the feature of Simula that attracted Alan Kay and led to Smalltalk
(Kay 1996).
Many OOPLs since Smalltalk have withdrawn from its radical ideas. C++ was originally called
“C with classes” (Stroustrup 1994) and modern C++ remains an Algol-like systems programming
language that supports OOP. Ada has shown even more reluctance to move in the direction of
OOP, although Ada 9X has a number of OO features.
12.2 Values and Objects
Some data behave like mathematical objects and other data behave like representations of physical
objects (MacLennan 1983).
Consider the sets ¦ 1, 2, 3 ¦ and ¦ 2, 3, 1 ¦. Although these sets have different representations (the
ordering of the members is different), they have the same value because in set theory the only
important property of a set is the members that it contains: “two sets are equal if and only if they
contain the same members”.
Consider two objects representing people:
[name="Peter", age=55]
[name="Peter", age=55]
Although these objects have the same value, they might refer to different people who have the same
name and age. The consequences of assuming that these two objects denote the same person could
be serious: in fact, innocent people have been arrested and jailed because they had the misfortune
to have the same name and social security number as a criminal.
In the following comparison of values and objects, statements about values on the left side of the
page are balanced by statements about objects on the right side of the page.
Values
Objects
12 ISSUES IN OOP 99
Integers have values. For example, the integer 6 is a value.
Objects possess values as attributes. For example, a counter might
have 6 as its current value.
Values are abstract. The value 7 is the common property shared by
all sets with cardinality 7.
Objects are concrete. An object is a particular collection of sub-
objects and values. A counter has one attribute: the value of the
count.
Values are immutable (i.e., do not change).
Objects are usually, but not necessarily, mutable (i.e., may change).
It does not make sense to change a value. If we change the value 3,
it is no longer 3.
It is meaningful, and often useful, to change the value of an object.
For example, we can increment a counter.
Values need representations. We need representations in order to
compute with values. The representations 7, VII, sept, sju, and a
particular combination of bits in the memory of a computer are dif-
ferent representations of the same abstract value.
Objects need representations. An object has subobjects and values
as attributes.
It does not make sense to talk about the identity of a value. Suppose
we evaluate 2 +3, obtaining 5, and then 7 −2, again obtaining 5. Is
it the same 5 that we obtain from the second calculation?
Identity is an important attribute of objects. Even objects with
the same attributes may have their own, unique identities: consider
identical twins.
We can copy a representation of a value, but copying a value is
meaningless.
Copying an object certainly makes sense. Sometimes, it may even
be useful, as when we copy objects from memory to disk, for exam-
ple. However, multiple copies of an object with a supposedly unique
identity can cause problems, known as “integrity violations” in the
database community.
We consider different representations of the same value to be equal.
An object is equal to itself. Whether two distinct objects with equal
attributes are equal depends on the application. A person who is
arrested because his name and social insurance number is the same
as those of a wanted criminal may not feel “equal to” the criminal.
Aliasing is not a problem for values. It is immaterial to the program-
mer, and should not even be detectable, whether two instances of a
value are stored in the same place or in different places.
All references to a particular object should refer to the same object.
This is sometimes called “aliasing”, and is viewed as harmful, but it
is in fact desirable for objects with identity.
Functional and logical PLs usually provide values.
Object oriented PLs should provide objects.
12 ISSUES IN OOP 100
Programs that use values only have the property of referential trans-
parency.
Programs that provide objects do not provide referential trans-
parency, but may have other desirable properties such as encapsula-
tion.
Small values can be held in machine words. Large values are best
represented by references (pointers to the data structure representing
the value.
Very small objects may be held in machine words. Most objects
should be represented by references (pointers to the data structure
holding the object.
The assignment operator for values should be a reference assignment.
There is no need to copy values, because they do not change.
The assignment operator for objects should be a reference assign-
ment. Objects should not normally be copied, because copying en-
dangers their integrity.
The distinction between values and objects is not as clear as these comparisons suggest. When we
look at programming problems in more deatil, doubts begin to arise.
Exercise 41. Should sets be values? What about sets with mutable components? Does the model
handle objects with many to one abstraction functions? What should a PL do about values and
objects? 2
Conclusions:
The CM must provide values, may provide objects.
What is “small” and what is “large”? This is an implementation issue: the compiler must
decide.
What is “primitive” and what is “user defined”? The PL should minimize the distinction as
much as possible.
Strings should behave like values. Since they have unbounded size, many PLs treat them as
objects.
Copying and comparing are semantic issues. Compilers can provide default operations and
“building bricks”, but they cannot provide fully appropriate implementations.
12.3 Classes versus Prototypes
The most widely-used OOPLs — C++, Smalltalk, and Eiffel — are class-based. Classes provide a
visible program structure that seems to be reassuring to designers of complex software systems.
Prototype languages are a distinct but active minority. The relation between classes and prototypes
is somewhat analogous to the relation between procedural (FORTRAN and Algol) and functional
(LISP) languages in the 60s.
Prototypes provide more flexibility and are better suited to interactive environments than classes.
Although large systems have been built using prototype languages, these languages seem to be
more often used for exploratory programming.
12 ISSUES IN OOP 101
12.4 Types versus Objects
In most class-based PLs, functions are associated with objects. This has the effect of making
binary operations asymmetric. For example, x = y is interpreted as x.equal(y) or, approximately,
“send the message equal with argument y to the object x”. It is not clear whether, with this
interpretation, y = x means the same as x = y. The problem is complicated further by inheritance:
if class C is a subclass of class P, can we compare an instance of C to an instance of P, and is this
comparison commutative?
Some of the problems can be avoided by associating functions with types rather than with objects.
This is the approach taken by CLU and some of the “functional” OOPLs. An expression such as
x = y is interpreted in the usual mathematical sense as equal(x,y). However, even this approach
has problems if x and y do not have the same type.
12.5 Pure versus Hybrid Languages
Smalltalk, Eiffel, and Java are pure OOPLs: they can describe only systems of objects and pro-
grammers are forced to express everything in terms of objects.
C++ is a hybrid PL in that it supports both procedural and object styles. Once the decision was
made to extend C rather than starting afresh (Stroustrup 1994, page 43), it was inevitable that
C++ could be a hybrid language. In fact, its precursor, “C with classes”, did not even claim to be
object oriented.
A hybrid language can be dangerous for inexperienced programmers because it encourages a hybrid
programming style. OO design is performed perfunctorily and design problems are solved by
reverting to the more general, but lower level, procedural style. (This is analogous to the early
days of “high level” programming when programmers would revert to assembler language to express
constructs that were not easy or possible to express at a high level.)
For experienced programmers, and especially those trained in OO techniques, a hybrid language is
perhaps better than a pure OOPL. These programmers will use OO techniques most of the time and
will only resort to procedural techniques when these are clearly superior to the best OO solution.
As OOPLs evolve, these occasions should become rarer.
Perhaps “pure or hybrid” is the wrong question. A better question might be: suppose a PL
provides OOP capabilities. Does it need to provide anything else? If so, what? One answer is: FP
capabilities. The multi-paradigm language LEDA (Budd 1995) demonstrates that it is possible to
provide functional, logic, and object programming in a single language. However, LEDA provides
these in a rather ad hoc way. It more tightly-integrated design would be preferable, but is harder
to accomplish.
12.6 Closures versus Classes
The most powerful programming paradigms developed so far are those that do not separate code
and data but instead provide “code and data” units of arbitrary size. This can be accomplished
by high order functions and mutable state, as in Scheme (Section 5.2) or by classes. Although
each method has advantages for certain applications, the class approach seems to be better in most
practical situations.
12 ISSUES IN OOP 102
12.7 Inheritance
Inheritance is one of the key features of OOP and at the same time one of the most troublesome.
Conceptually, inheritance can be defined in a number of ways and has a number of different uses.
In practice, most (but not all!) OOPLs provide a single mechanism for inheritance and leave it to
the programmer to decide how to use the mechanism. Moreover, at the implementation level,
the varieties of inheritance all look much the same — a fact that discourages PL designers from
providing multiple mechanisms.
One of the clearest examples of the division is Meyer’s (1988) “marriage of convenience” in which
the class ArrayStack inherits from Array and Stack. The class ArrayStack behaves like a stack
— it has functions such as push, pop, and so on — and is represented as an array. There are other
ways of obtaining this effect — notably, the class ArrayStack could have an array object as an
attribute — but Meyer maintains that inheritance is the most appropriate technique, at least in
Eiffel.
Whether or not we agree with Meyer, it is clear that there two different relations are involved. The
relation ArrayStack ∼ Stack is not the same as the relation ArrayStack ∼ Array. Hence the
question: should an OOPL distinguish between these relations or not?
Based on the “marriage of convenience” the answer would appear to be “yes” — two distinct ends
are achieved and the means by which they are achieved should be separated. A closer examination,
however, shows that the answer is by no means so clear-cut. There are many practical programming
situations in which code in a parent class can be reused in a child class even when interface
consistency is the primary purpose of inheritance.
12.8 A Critique of C++
C++ is both the most widely-used OOPL and the most heavily criticized. Further criticism might
appear to be unnecessary. The purpose of this section is to show how C++ fails to fulfill its role
as the preferred OOPL.
The first part of the following discussion is based on a paper by LaLonde and Pugh (1995) in which
they discuss C++ from the point of view of a programmer familiar with the principles of OOP,
exemplified by a language such as Smalltalk, but who is not familiar with the details of C++.
We begin by writing a specification for a simple BankAccount class with an owner name, a balance,
and functions for making deposits and withdrawals: see Listing 57.
Data members are prefixed with “p” to distinguish them from parameters with similar names.
The instance variable pTrans is a pointer to an array containing the transactions that have
taken place for this account. Functions that operate on this array have been omitted.
We can create instances of BankAccount on either the stack or the heap:
BankAccount account1("John"); // on the stack
BankAccount *account2 = new BankAccount("Jane"); // on the heap
The first account, account1, will be deleted automatically at the end of the scope containing the
declaration. The second account, account2, will be deleted only when the program executes a
delete operation. In both cases, the destructor will be invoked.
The notation for accessing functions depends on whether the variable refers to the object directly
or is a pointer to the object.
12 ISSUES IN OOP 103
account1.balance()
account2→balance()
A member function can access the private parts of another instance of the same class, as shown
in Listing 58. This comes as a surprise to Smalltalk programmers because, in Smalltalk, an object
can access only its own components.
The next step is to define the member functions of the class BankAccount: see Listing 59.
Listing 60 shows a simple test of the class BankAccount. This test introduces two bugs.
The array account1.pTrans is lost because it is over-written by account2.pTrans.
At the end of the test, account2.pTrans will be deleted twice, once when the destructor for
account1 is called, and again when the destructor for account2 is called.
Although most introductions to C++ focus on stack objects, it is more interesting to consider heap
objects: Listing 61.
The code in Listing 61 — creating three special accounts — is rather specialized. Listing 62
generalizes it so that we can enter the account owner’s names interactively.
The problem with this code is that all of the bank accounts have the same owner: that of the last
name entered. This is because each account contains a pointer to the unique buffer. We can fix
this by allocating a new buffer for each account, as in Listing 63.
This version works, but is poorly designed. Deleting the owner string should be the responsibility
of the object, not the client. The destructor for BankAccount should delete the owner string. After
making this change, we can remove the destructor for owner in the code above: Listing 64.
Unfortunately, this change introduces another problem. Suppose we use the loop to create two
accounts and then create the third account with this statement:
accounts[2] = new BankAccount("Tina");
Listing 57: Declaring a Bank Account
class BankAccount
¦
public:
BankAccount(char * newOwner = "");
∼BankAcocunt();
void owner(char *newOwner);
char *owner();
double balance();
void credit(double amount);
void debit(double amount);
void transfer(BankAccount *other, double amount);
private:
char *pOwner;
double pBalance;
Transaction *pTrans[MAXTRANS];
¦;
12 ISSUES IN OOP 104
Listing 58: Accessing Private Parts
void BankAccount::transfer(BankAccount *other, double amount)
¦
pBalance += amount;
other→pBalance -= amount;
¦
Listing 59: Member Functions for the Bank Account
BankAccount::BankAccount(char *newOwner)
¦
pOwner = newOwner;
pBalance = 0.0;
¦
BankAccount::∼BankAccount()
¦
// Delete individual transactions
delete [] pTrans; // Delete the array of transactions
¦
void BankAccount owner(char *newOwner)
¦
pOwner = newOwner;
¦
char *BankAccount owner()
¦
return pOwner;
¦
. . . .
Listing 60: Testing the Bank Account
void test
¦
BankAccount account1("Anne");
BankAccount account2("Bill");
account1 = acount2;
¦
Listing 61: Using the Heap
BankAccount *accounts[] = new BankAccount * [3];
accounts[0] = new BankAccount("Anne");
accounts[1] = new BankAccount("Bill");
accounts[2] = new BankAccount("Chris");
// Account operations omitted.
// Delete everything.
for (int i = 0; i < 3; i++)
delete accounts[i];
delete accounts;
12 ISSUES IN OOP 105
Listing 62: Entering a Name
BankAccount *accounts[] = new BankAccount * [3];
char * buffer = new char[100];
for (int i = 0; i < 3; i++)
¦
cout << "Please enter your name: ";
cin.getline(buffer, 100);
accounts[i] = new BankAccount(buffer);
¦
// Account operations omitted.
// Delete everything.
for (int i = 0; i < 3; i++)
delete accounts[i];
delete accounts;
delete buffer;
Listing 63: Adding buffers for names
// char * buffer = new char[100]; (deleted)
for (int i = 0; i < 3; i++)
¦
cout << "Please enter your name: ";
char * buffer = new char[100];
cin.getline(buffer, 100);
accounts[i] = new BankAccount(buffer);
¦
// Account operations omitted.
// Delete everything.
for (int i = 0; i < 3; i++)
¦
delete accounts[i]→owner();
delete accounts[i];
¦
delete accounts;
delete buffer;
Listing 64: Correcting the Destructor
BankAccount::∼BankAccount()
¦
delete pOwner;
// Delete individual transactions
delete [] pTrans; // Delete the array of transactions
¦
12 ISSUES IN OOP 106
Listing 65: Correcting the Constructor
BankAccount::BankAccount(char *newOwner)
¦
char *pOwner = new char (strlen(newOwner) + 1);
strcpy(pOwner, newOwner);
¦
Listing 66: Correcting the Owner Function
void BankAccount owner(char *newOwner)
¦
delete pOwner;
pOwner = new char(strlen(newOwner) + 1);
strcpy(pOwner, newOwner);
¦
The account destructor fails because "Tina" was not allocated using new. To correct this problem,
we must modify the constructor for BankAccount. The rule we must follow is that data must be
allocated with the constructor and deallocated with the destructor, or controlled entirely outside
the object. Listing 65 shows the new constructor.
The next problem occurs when we try to use the overloaded function owner() to change the name
of an account owner.
accounts[2]→owner("Fred");
Once again, we have introduced two bugs:
The original owner of accounts[2] will be lost.
When the destructor is invoked for accounts[2], it will attempt to delete "Fred", which was
not allocated by new. To correct this problem, we must rewrite the member function owner(),
as shown in Listing 66.
We now have bank accounts that work quite well, provided that they are allocated on the heap. If
we try to mix heap objects and stack objects, however, we again encounter difficulties: Listing 67.
The error occurs because transfer expects the address of an account rather than an actual account.
We correct it by introducing the reference operator, &.
account1→transfer(&account3, 10.0);
We could make things easier for the programmer who is using accounts by declaring an overloaded
version of transfer() as shown below. Note that, in the version of Listing 68, we must use the
Listing 67: Stack and Heap Allocation
BankAccount *account1 = new BankAccount("Anne");
BankAccount *account2 = new BankAccount("Bill");
BankAccount account3("Chris");
account1→transfer(account2, 10.0); // OK
account1→transfer(account3, 10.0); // Error!
12 ISSUES IN OOP 107
Listing 68: Revising the Transfer Function
void BankAccount::transfer(BankAccount &other, double amount)
¦
pBalance += amount;
other.pBalance -= amount;
¦
Listing 69: Copying
BankAccount test(BankAccount account)
¦
return account;
¦
BankAccount myAccount;
myAccount = test(account2);
operator “.” rather than “→”. This is because other behaves like an object, although in fact an
address has been passed.
The underlying problem here is that references (&) work best with stack objects and pointers (*)
work best with heap objects. It is awkward to mix stack and heap allocation in C++ because two
sets of functions are needed.
If stack objects are used without references, the compiler is forced to make copies. To implement
the code shown in Listing 69, C++ uses the (default) copy constructor for BankAccount twice: first
to make a copy of account2 to pass to test() and, second, to make another copy of account2
that will become myAccount. At the end of the scope, these two copies must be deleted.
The destructors will fail because the default copy constructor makes a shallow copy — it does not
copy the pTrans fields of the accounts. The solution is to write our own copy constructor and
assignment overload for class BankAccount, as in Listing 70. The function pDuplicate() makes
a deep copy of an account the function; it must make copies of all of the components of a back
account object and destroy all components of the old object. The function pDelete has the same
effect as the destructor. It is recommended practice in C++ to write these functions for any class
that contains pointers.
LaLonde and Pugh continue with a discussion of infix operators for user-defined classes. If the
objects are small — complex numbers, for example — it is reasonable to store the objects on
the stack and to use call by value. C++ is well-suited to this approach: storage management is
automatic and the only overhead is the copying of values during function call and return.
If the objects are large, however, there are problems. Suppose that we want to provide the standard
algebraic operations (+, −, ∗) for 4 4 matrices. (This would be useful for graphics programming,
for example.) Since a matrix occupies 448 = 128 bytes, copying a matrix is relatively expensive
and the stack approach will be inefficient. But if we write functions that work with pointers to
matrices, it is difficult to manage allocation and deallocation. Even a simple function call such as
project(A + B);
will create a heap object corresponding to A + B but provides no opportunity to delete this object.
(The function cannot delete it, because it cannot tell whether its argument is a temporary.) The
same problem arises with expressions such as
12 ISSUES IN OOP 108
Listing 70: Copy Constructors
BankAccount::BankAccount(BankAccount &account)
¦
pDuplicate(account);
¦
BankAccount & BankAccount operator = (BankAccount &rhs)
¦
if (this == &rhs)
return this;
pDelete();
pDuplicate(rhs);
return *this;
¦
Listing 71: Using extended assignment operators
A = C;
A *= D;
A += B;
A = B + C * D;
It is possible to implement the extended assignment operators, such as +=, without losing objects.
But this approach reduces us to a kind of assembly language style of programming, as shown in
Listing 71.
These observations by LaLonde and Pugh seem rather hostile towards C++. They are making a
comparison between C++ and Smalltalk based only on ease of programming. The comparison is
one-sided because they do not discuss factors that might make C++ a better choice than Smalltalk
in some circumstances, such as when efficiency is important. Nevertheless, the discussion makes an
important point: the “stack model” (with value semantics) is inferior to the “heap model” (with
reference semantics) for many OOP applications. It is significant that most language designers have
chosen the heap model for OOP (Simula, Smalltalk, CLU, Eiffel, Sather, Dee, Java, Blue, amongst
others) and that C++ is in the minority on this issue.
Another basis for criticizing C++ is that is has become, perhaps not intentionally, a hacker’s
language. A sign of good language design is that the features of the language are used most of
the time to solve the problems that they were intended to solve. A sign of a hacker’s language is
that language “gurus” introduce “hacks” that solve problems by using features in bizarre ways for
which they were not originally intended.
Input and output in C++ is based on “streams”. A typical output statement looks something like
this:
cout << "The answer is " << answer << ’.’ << endl;
The operator << requires a stream reference as its left operand and an object as its right operand.
Since it returns a stream reference (usually its left operand), it can be used as an infix operator
in compound expressions such as the one shown. The notation seems clear and concise and, at
first glance, appears to be an elegant way of introducing output and input (with the operator >>)
capabilities.
12 ISSUES IN OOP 109
Listing 72: A Manipulator Class
class ManipulatorForInts
¦
friend ostream & operator << (ostream & const ManipulatorForInts &);
public:
ManipulatorForInts (int (ios::*)(int), int);
. . . .
private:
int (ios::*memberfunc)(int);
int value;
¦
Obviously, << is heavily overloaded. There must be a separate function for each class for which
instances can be used as the right operand. (<< is also overloaded with respect to its left operand,
because there are different kinds of output streams.) In the example above, the first three right
operands are a string, a double, and a character.
The first problem with streams is that, although they are superficially object oriented (a stream
is an object), they do not work well with inheritance. Overloading provides static polymorphism
which is incompatible with dynamic polymorphism (recall Section 10.6). It is possible to write
code that uses dynamic binding but only by providing auxiliary functions.
The final operand, endl, writes end-of-line to the stream and flushes it. It is a global function with
signature
ios & endl (ios & s)
A programmer who needs additional “manipulators” of this kind has no alternative but to add
them to the global name space.
Things get more complicated when formatting is added to streams. For example, we could change
the example above to:
cout << "The answer is " << setprecision(8) << answer << ’.’ << endl;
The first problem with this is that it is verbose. (The verbosity is not really evident in such a small
example, but it is very obvious when streams are used, for example, to format a table of heteroge-
neous data.) The second, and more serious problem, is the implementation of setprecision. The
way this is done is (roughly) as follows (Teale 1993, page 171). First, a class for manipulators with
integer arguments is declared, as in Listing 72, and the inserter function is defined:
ostream & operator << (ostream & os, const ManipulatorForInts & m)
¦
(os.*memberfunc)(m.value);
return os;
¦
Second, the function that we need can be defined:
ManipulatorForInts setprecision (int n)
¦
return ManipulatorForInts (& ios::precision, n);
¦
12 ISSUES IN OOP 110
Listing 73: File handles as Booleans
ifstream infile ("stats.dat");
if (infile) . . . .
if (!infile) . . . .
It is apparent that a programmer must be quite proficient in C++ to understand these definitions,
let alone design similar functions. To make matters worse, the actual definitions are not as shown
here, because that would require class declarations for many different types, but are implemented
using templates.
There are many other tricks in the implementation of streams. For example, we can use file handles
as if they had boolean values, as in Listing 73. It seems that there is a boolean value, infile, that
we can negate, obtaining !infile. In fact, infile can be used as a conditional because there is a
function that converts infile to (void *), with the value NULL indicating that the file is not open,
and !infile can be used as a conditional because the operator ! is overloaded for class ifstream
to return an int which is 0 if the file is open.
These are symptoms of an even deeper malaise in C++ than the problems pointed out by authors of
otherwise excellent critiques such as (Joyner 1992; Sakkinen 1992). Most experienced programmers
can get used to the well-known idiosyncrasies of C++, but few realize that frequently-used and
apparently harmless constructs are implemented by subtle and devious tricks. Programs that look
simple may actually conceal subtle traps.
13 Conclusion
Values and Objects. Mathematically oriented views of programming favour values. Simulation
oriented views favour objects. Both views are useful for particular applications. A PL that
provides both in a consistent and concise way might be simple, expressive, and powerful.
The “logical variable” (a variable that is first unbound, then bound, and later may be unbound
during backtracking) is a third kind of entity, after values and objects. It might be fruitful
to design a PL with objects, logical variables, unification, and backtracking. Such a language
would combine the advantages of OOP and logic programming.
Making Progress. It is not hard to design a large and complex PL by throwing in numerous
features. The hard part of design is to find simple, powerful abstractions — to achieve more
with less. In this respect, PL design resembles mathematics. The significant advances in
mathematics are often simplifications that occur when structures that once seemed distinct
are united in a common abstraction. Similar simplifications have occurred in the evolution
of PLs: for example, Simula (Section 6.1) and Scheme (Section 5.2). But programs are not
mathematical objects. A rigorously mathematical approach can lead all too rapidly to the
“Turing tar pit”.
Practice and Theory. The evolution of PLs shows that, most of the time, practice leads theory.
Designers and implementors introduce new ideas, then theoreticians attempt to what they
did and how they could have done it better. There are a number of PLs that have been based
on purely theoretical principles but few, if any, are in widespread use.
Theory-based PLs are important because they provide useful insights. Ideally, they serve
as testing environments for ideas that may eventually be incorporated into new mainstream
PLs. Unfortunately, it is often the case that they show retroactively how something should
have been done when it is already too late to improve it.
Multiparadigm Programming. PLs have evolved into several strands: procedural program-
ming, now more or less subsumed by object oriented programming; functional programming;
logic programming and its successor, constraint programming. Each paradigm performs well
on a particular class of applications. Since people are always searching for “universal” solu-
tions, it is inevitable that some will try to build a “universal” PL by combining paradigms.
Such attempts will be successful to the extent that they achieve overall simplification. It is
not clear that any future universal language will be accepted by the programming community;
it seems more likely that specialized languages will dominate in the future.
A Abbreviations and Glossary
Actual parameter. A value passed to a function.
ADT. Abstract data type. A data type described in terms of the operations that can be performed
on the data.
AR. Activation record. The run-time data structure corresponding to an Algol 60 block. Sec-
tion 4.3.
Argument. A value passed to a function; synonym of actual parameter.
Bind. Associate a property with a name.
Block. In Algol 60, a syntactic unit containing declarations of variables and functions, followed by
code. Successors of Algol 60 define blocks in similar ways. In Smalltalk, a block is a closure
consisting of code, an environment with bindings for local variables, and possibly parameters.
BNF. Backus-Naur Form (originally Backus Normal Form). A notation for describing a context-
free grammar, introduced by John Backus for describing Algol 60. Section 3.4.2.
Call by need. The argument of a function is not evaluated until its value is needed, and then
only once. See lazy evaluation.
CBN. Call by name. A parameter passing method in which actual parameters are evaluated when
they are needed by the called function. Section 4.3
CBV. Call by value. A parameter passing method in which the actual parameter is evaluated
before the function is called.
Closure. A data structure consisting of one (or more, but usually one) function and its lexical
environment. Section 5.2.
CM. Computational Model. Section 9.2
Compile. Translate source code (program text) into code for a physical (or possibly abstract)
machine.
CS. Computer Science.
Delegation. An object that accepts a request and then forwards the request to another object is
said to “delegate” the request.
Dummy parameter. Formal parameter (FORTRAN usage).
Dynamic. Used to describe something that happens during execution, as opposed to static.
Dynamic Binding. A binding that occurs during execution.
Dynamic Scoping. The value of a non-local variable is the most recent value that has been
assigned to it during the execution of the program. Cf. Lexical Scoping. Section 5.1.
Dynamic typing. Performing type checking “on the fly”, while the program is running.
A ABBREVIATIONS AND GLOSSARY 113
Eager evaluation. The arguments of a function are evaluated at the time that it is called, whether
or not their values are needed.
Early binding. Binding a property to a name at an early stage, usually during compilation.
Exception handling. A PL feature that permits a computation to be abandoned; control is
transferred to a handler in a possibly non-local scope.
Extent. The time during execution during which a variable is active. It is a dynamic property, as
opposed to scope.
Formal parameter. A variable name that appears in a function heading; the variable will receive
a value when the function is called. “Parameter” without qualification usually means “formal
parameter”.
FP(L). Functional Programming (Language). Section 5.
Garbage collection. Recycling of unused memory when performed automatically by the imple-
mentatin rather than coded by the programmer. (The term “garbage collection” is widely
used but inaccurate. The “garbage” is thrown away: it is the useful data that is collected!)
GC. Garbage collection.
Global scope. A name that is accessible throughout the (static) program text has global scope.
Heap. A region for storing variables in which no particular order of allocation or deallocation is
defined.
High order function. A function that either accepts a function as an argument, or returns a
function as a value, or both.
Higher order function. Same as high order function.
Inheritance. In OOPLs, when an object (or class) obtains some of its features from another object
(or class), it is said to inherit those features.
Interpret. Execute a program one statement at a time, without translating it into machine code.
Lambda calculus. A notation for describing functions, using the Greek letter λ, introduced by
Church.
Late binding. A binding (that is, attachment of a property to a name) that is performed at a later
time than would normally be expected. For example, procedural languages bind functions to
names during compilation, but OOPLs “late bind” function names during execution.
Lazy evaluation. If the implementation uses lazy evaluation, or call by need, a function does not
evaluate an argument until the value of the argument is actually required for the computation.
When the argument has been evaluated, its value is stored and it is not evaluated again during
the current invocation of the function.
Lexical Scoping. The value of a non-local variables is determined in the static context as deter-
mined by the text of the program. Cf. Dynamic Scoping. Section 5.1.
Local scope. A name that is accessible in only a part of the program text has local scope.
A ABBREVIATIONS AND GLOSSARY 114
OOP(L). Object Oriented Programming (Language). Section 6.
Orthogonal. Two language features are orthogonal if they can be combined without losing any
of their important properties. Section 4.6.
Overloading. Using the same name to denote more than one entity (the entities are usually
functions).
Own variable. A local variable in an Algol 60 program that has local scope (it can be accessed
only within the procedure in which it is declared) but global extent (it is created when the
procedure is first called and persists until the program termiantes). Section 4.3.
Parameter. Literally “unknown” or “unmeasurable” (from Greek). Used in PLs for the objects
passed to functions.
Partial function. A function that is defined over only a part of its domain.

x is partial over
the domain of reals because it has no real value if x < 0.
PL. Programming Language.
Polymorphism. Using one name to denote several distinct objects. (Literally “many shapes”).
Recursion. A process or object that is defined partly in terms of itself without circularity.
Reference semantics. Variable names denote objects. Used by all functional and logic languages,
and most OOPLs.
RE. Regular Expression. Section 3.4.
Scope. The region of text in which a variable is accessible. It is a static property, as opposed to
extent.
Semantic Model. An alternative term for Computational Model (CM). Section 9.2.
Semantics. A system that assigns meaning to programs.
Stack. A region for storing variables in which the most recently allocated unit is the first one to
be deallocated (“last-in, first out”, LIFO). The name suggests a stack of plates.
Static. Used to describe something that happens during compilation (or possible during linking
but, anyway, before the program is executed), as opposed to dynamic.
Static Binding. A value that is bound before the program is executed. Cf. Dynamic Binding.
Static typing. Type checking performed during compilation.
Strong typing. Detect and report all type errors, as opposed to weak typing.
Template. A syntactic construct from which many distinct objects can be generated. A template
is different from a declaration that constructs only a single object. (The word “template”
has a special sense in C++, but the usage is more or less compatible with our definition.)
Thunk. A function with no parameters used to implement the call by name mechanism of Algol
60 and a few other languages.
A ABBREVIATIONS AND GLOSSARY 115
Total function. A function that is defined for all values of its arguments in its domain. e
x
is total
over the domain of reals.
Value semantics. Variable names denote locations. Most imperative languages use value seman-
tics.
Weak typing. Detect and report some type errors, but allow some possible type errors to remain
in the program.
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CONTENTS

ii

Contents
1 Introduction 1.1 1.2 How important are programming languages? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Features of the Course . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 1 2 3 7 7 7 8 8 9

2 Anomalies 3 Theoretical Issues 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 Syntactic and Lexical Issues . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Semantics . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Type Theory . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Regular Languages . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3.4.1 3.4.2 3.4.3 3.4.4 Tokens . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Context Free Grammars . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 Control Structures and Data Structures . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 Discussion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11 12

4 The Procedural Paradigm 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 4.6 4.7 4.8 4.9

Early Days . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 FORTRAN . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14 Algol 60 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15 COBOL . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19 PL/I . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19 Algol 68 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21 Pascal . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21 Modula–2 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22 C . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23

4.10 Ada . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23 5 The Functional Paradigm 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 25

LISP . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25 Scheme . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29 SASL . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32 SML . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32 Other Functional Languages . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35

CONTENTS 6 The Object Oriented Paradigm 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 6.5

iii 36

Simula . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36 Smalltalk . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38 CLU . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 39 C++ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 43 Eiffel . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 43 6.5.1 6.5.2 6.5.3 Programming by Contract . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 44 Repeated Inheritance . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 46 Exception Handling . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 47 Portability . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 48 Interfaces . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 48 Exception Handling . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 49 Concurrency . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 51

6.6

Java . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 47 6.6.1 6.6.2 6.6.3 6.6.4

6.7 6.8 6.9

Kevo . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 51 Other OOPLs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 52 Evaluation of OOP . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 53 54

7 Backtracking Languages 7.1 7.2 7.3

Prolog . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 54 Alma-0 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 60 Other Backtracking Languages . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 65 66

8 Implementation 8.1 8.1.1 8.1.2 8.1.3 8.1.4 8.2

Compiling and Interpreting . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 66 Compiling . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 66 Interpreting . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 67 Mixed Implementation Strategies . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 68 Consequences for Language Design . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 69

Garbage Collection . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 69 72

9 Abstraction 9.1 9.1.1 9.1.2 9.1.3 9.1.4 9.2

Abstraction as a Technical Term . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 73 Procedures. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 73 Functions. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 73 Data Types. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 74 Classes. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 74

Computational Models . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 74

. . . . 100 12. . . . . . . . . .1 Free and Bound Names . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 94 11. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .7 Assignment . . . . . . . .2 Parametric Polymorphism . . . . . . . . .5 Pure versus Hybrid Languages . . . . . . . . . . . 79 10. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 98 12.3 Extent . . . .8 A Critique of C++ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2 Attributes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .3 Control Structures . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2 Modules . . . 85 10. .CONTENTS 10 Names and Binding iv 78 10. .2 Procedures and Functions . . . . . . 89 10. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 90 11 Structure 91 11. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 96 12 Issues in OOP 98 12. . . . . . . . . . . . . 95 11. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .5 What is a Variable Name? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1 Loop Structures. . 81 10. . . . . . . . . .2 Are nested scopes useful? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .3 Classes versus Prototypes . . . . . . 83 10. . 85 10. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1 Algorithms + Data Structures = Programs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .3. . . 78 10. . . . . .1 Encapsulation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .6 Closures versus Classes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .8. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2. . . . . .6. . . . . . . . . .6. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 85 10. .2 Values and Objects . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .3. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .7 Inheritance . . . 83 10. . . . . . . 94 11. . . . . .1 Scope . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 98 12.3. . . .6 Polymorphism . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 84 10. . . . . . . . . . 82 10. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .6. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 101 12. . . . 101 12. . . . . . . . 80 10. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .4 Types versus Objects . . 85 10. . . . . . 91 11. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 102 13 Conclusion A Abbreviations and Glossary 111 112 . . . . 101 12. . . . . . .8 Scope and Extent . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .8. . . . . 102 12. . . . . . . .3 Object Polymorphism . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1 Ad Hoc Polymorphism . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 91 11. . . . . . . . . . . . . .3 Exceptions. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 93 11. .1 Block Structure . . . . . . . . . .3 Early and Late Binding . . . . . .4 What Can Be Named? . . . . .8. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

. . . . . . . . . . . . . 57 . . . . . . . . 11 The list structure (A (B C)) . jim) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .LIST OF FIGURES References v 116 List of Figures 1 2 3 4 5 REs and Control Structures . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 56 Effect of cuts . . . . . . . . 10 REs and Data Structures . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26 Proof of ancestor(pam. .

it should help us to find useful answers to questions such as these. but this is not a history course. PLs for the World Wide Web: Java. and to predict how they might develop in the future. The assumption behind this reasoning is that the choice of PL affects only the coding phase of the project. these figures suggest that the PL might have a significant effect on total development time. . Maintenance. because coding occupies only a small fraction of the total time required for project development. Brooks (1987) and others have argued that. Developers realize that an application requires a format for expressing input data. . The “obvious” PLs are the major implementation languages: Ada. . . The format increases in complexity until it becomes a miniature programming language. . however. such as concurrency. is widely acknowledged to be a major component of software development. PLs no longer seem so central to Computer Science (CS). macro languages. The following scenario has occurred often in the history of programming. . . . In order to understand why programming languages (PLs) are as they are today.1 How important are programming languages? As the focus of practitioners and researchers has moved from programming to large-scale software development.. Javascript.1 Introduction What is this course about? “Evolution” sounds like history. input for complex applications.. if coding requires 15% of total project time. we could deduce that reducing coding time to zero would reduce the total project time by only 15%. Since the choice of PL can influence the ease of maintenance. “Hidden” languages: spreadsheets. Perl. . developments in programming languages cannot lead to dramatic increases in software productivity. Scripting PLs: Javascript. . . A useful epigram for the course is the following remark by Dennis Ritchie: C and Pascal are the same language. Another factor that we should consider in studying PLs is their ubiquity: PLs are everywhere. it is too late for them to redesign the format. .. For example. even if they had principles that they could use to . The treatment is fairly abstract. We not discuss details of syntax. We can summarize the goal of the course as follows: if it is successful. Estimates of maintenance time range from “at last 50%” (Lientz and Swanson 1980) to “between 65% and 75%” (McKee 1984) of the total time. but the main focus of the course is on contemporary and evolving PLs. By the time that the developers realize this. We consider early languages. we need to know something about how they evolved. C++. What is a good programming language? How should we choose an appropriate language for a particular task? How should we approach the problem of designing a programming language? Some important topics. COBOL. and we try to avoid unproductive “language wars”. Tcl/Tk. are omitted due to time constraints. FORTRAN. 1. .

however. . We do not dwell on fine lexical or syntactic distinctions. These criticisms do not imply that the designers were stupid or incompetent. the notation develops into a programming language with many of the bad features of old. if you are interested in a particular aspect of the course. .1 INTRODUCTION 2 help them. we have chosen to study PLs whose designers had deep insights and made profound contributions. Some of the exercises may appear in revised form in the examination at the end of the course. the solution to an exercise can be found (implicitly!) elsewhere in these notes. Exercises are provided mainly to provoke thought. although safe and provably correct methods of programming concurrent processes were developed by himself and Hoare in the mid-seventies. they are discussed briefly. you should be able to find out more about it by reading the indicated material. The time devoted to a PL depends on its relative importance in the evolution of PLs rather than the extent to which it was used or is used. .2 Features of the Course We will review a number of PLs during the course. sometimes with unfortunate consequences. Many references are provided. Java does not make use of these methods and is insecure. . For example. we can recognize the mistakes and omissions of language designers and criticize their PLs accordingly. . We can echo Perlis (1978. Consequently. semantic details. we are better prepared to understand and appreciate its solution later. a rounded work of art . If we spend time to think about a problem. . . Rarely has a construction so useful and elegant emerged as the output of a committee of 13 meeting for about 8 days . There is an unfortunate tendency in Computer Science to re-invent language features without carefully studying previous work. 1. On the contrary. but the coverage is very uneven. their importance is often under-estimated. However. pages 88–91) in saying: [Algol 60] was more racehorse than camel . The intention is not that you read them all but rather that. we attempt to focus on the deep and influential ideas that have developed with PLs. C and C++ are both widely-used languages but. long-since rejected programming languages. Algol deserves our affection and appreciation. the designers could hardly be expected to foresee the understanding that would come only with another twenty or thirty years of experience. We conclude that PLs are important. and yet [Algol 60] was a noble begin but never intended to be a satisfactory end. . Instead. . . or legalistic issues. Brinch Hansen (1999) points out that. The approach of the course is conceptual rather than technical. In many cases. since they did not contribute profound ideas. Given the state of the art at the time when they designed the PLs. With hindsight.

we can use a function call in place of E but not in place of v. Suggest ways of declaring arrays of the kinds mentioned in Example 4. or sparse arrays? 2 Exercise 5. Is this equivalent to having types as parameters? 2 Example 3: Data Structures and Files. Why can’t we access a column by writing a[. we cannot write a statement such as top(stack) = 6. 2 Exercise 4. the size of an array is fixed at compile-time. there is not a great deal of difference between a data structure and a file. We access a component of a by writing a[i. We can access a row of the array by writing a[i]. but a function cannot return an array. Most languages do not allow types to be passed as parameters. . C++ provides templates. for example. to write a procedure such as void sort (type t. .j]? It is easy to declare rectangular arrays in most PLs. or programs that look as if they shouldn’t work but do. Most PLs provide an assignment statement of the form v := E in which v is a variable and E is an expression. The expression E yields a value. scores). Yet PLs treat data structures and files in completely different ways. such as Algol 60. 2 Example 4: Arrays.f. The variable v is not necessarily a simple name: it may be an expression such as a[i] or r. 2 Exercise 2. Can you see any problems that might be encountered in implementing a function like top? 2 Example 2: Parameters and Results. the size of an array is not fixed until run-time. In PLs such as C and Pascal. What other changes would you have to make to the language? 2 Exercise 3. PLs are fussy about the kinds of objects that can be passed as parameters to a function or returned as results by a function. Explain why most PLs treat data structures and files differently. banded. arrays can be passed by value or by reference to a function. to replace the top element of a stack. where we have to write a[i][j]). symmetric. t a[]) {.} and then call sort(float. In Pascal. What difference does this make to the implementor of the PL and the programmers who use it? Suppose that we have a two-dimensional array a. It would be useful.j] (except in C. In some PLs. and a function cannot return an array. Suppose you added types as parameters to a language. such as a disk. an array can be passed to a function. In any case. Explain why the asymmetry mentioned in Example 1 exists. Conceptually. For example. even ones that are older than C and Pascal. One way is to look at some anomalies: programs that look as if they ought to work but don’t.2 Anomalies There are many ways of motivating the study of PLs. Why is there usually no provision for triangular. The important difference is the more or less accidental feature that data structures usually live in memory and files usually live in some kind of external storage medium. In C. 2 Exercise 1. Example 1: Assignments. it yields an address into which the value of E is stored. . 2 . but only by reference. In other PLs.

return buffer. sprintf(buffer. although experienced C programmers have ways of avoiding the problem. amount / 100.%d". when we see the expression Ax + Bx we are strongly tempted to write it in the form (A + B)x. char *)? 2 Example 7: Factoring. For example. What is wrong with the function money in Example 6? Why is it difficult for a C function to return a string (i. whereas others. amount % 100).e. such as Pascal. add6(4)). it remains a defect of both C and C++.” True or false? (Note that you can represent the function itself by a pointer to its first instruction. In algebra.) 2 . which should print “10”: int add6 (int) = addk(6). char *money (int amount) { char buffer[16]. 2 Example 6: Memory Management. "%d. but it cannot contain function declarations. 2 Exercise 7. “It would be fairly easy to change C so that a function could return a function. Suppose that we were allowed to nest functions in C. Some PLs. 2 Exercise 8.2 ANOMALIES 4 Example 5: Data Structures and Functions. do not. A record looks rather like a small program: it contains data declarations. The idea is that addk returns a function that “adds k to its argument”. we are accustomed to factoring expressions. allow nested functions. We would use it as in the following program. printf("%d". and we defined the function shown in Listing 1. Suggest some applications for records with both data and function components. 2 Exercise 6. as z = (A + B) * x. Sometimes this is possible in PLs: we can certainly rewrite z = A * x + B * x. Most C/C++ programmers learn quite quickly that it is not a good idea to write functions like this one. Both languages also provide a data aggregation — record in Pascal and struct in C. } Writing C functions that return strings is awkward and. 2 Example 8: Returning Functions. Pascal and C programs contain declarations for functions and data. Very few PLs recognize the even shorter form: y = (if (x > PI) then sin else cos)(x).. Most PLs allow us to write something like this: if (x > PI) y = sin(x) else y = cos(x) Only a few PLs allow the shorter form: y = if (x > PI) then sin(x) else cos(x). such as C.

Example 8 is just one of several oddities about the way programs handle functions. It would be convenient if we could encode logical assertions such as ∀i . For instance: Add(2. ∃i . It is less well-known that we can eliminate the recursion as well: see Listing 2. The function Add(x. Why are statements like this permitted in C (with appropriate syntax) but not in Pascal? 2 Example 10: Functions that work in more than one way. 0 < i < N ⇒ a[i − 1] < a[i] in the form all (int i = 1. 0 ≤ i < N ∧ a[i] = k .z) attempts to satisfy the constraint x + y = z.3. 2 Exercise 9. i++) a[i-a] < a[i] and in the form exists (int i = 0. } 5 Example 9: Functions as Values. 2 Example 11: Logic computation.2 ANOMALIES Listing 1: Returning a function typedef int intint(int). i++) a[i] == k 2 Example 12: Implicit Looping. } return f.5) assigns 2 to i. Some PLs do not permit this sequence: if (x > PI) f = sin else f = cos.3.n) assigns 5 to n. i < N. intint addk (int k) { int f (int n) { return n + k. f(x). It is a well-known fact that we can rewrite programs that use loops as programs that use recursive functions.y. i < N. Add(i.

they would no longer compile. fac) = 3 × 2 × fac(1. fac) = 3 × fac(2. Can you complete the definition of TYPE in Example 2? 2 The point of these examples is to show that PLs affect the way we think. . } printf("%d". Many programmers have struggled for years writing programs that require explicit deallocation of memory. TYPE fac (int n. . Memory “leaks” are one of the most common forms of error in large programs and they can do serious damage. . functions like this actually worked. or they may believe (because they have been told) that garbage collection has an unacceptably high overhead. When type-checking was improved. else return n * f(n-1. 6 This program computes factorials using neither loops nor recursion: fac(3. (One of the Apollo missions almost failed because of a memory leak that was corrected shortly before memory was exhausted. It would not occur to most programmers to write programs in the style of the preceding sections because most PLs do not permit these constructions. Garbage collection provides an example. fac)). 2 Exercise 10.2 ANOMALIES Listing 2: The Factorial Function typedef TYPE . . however. fac) = 3×2×1 = 6 In early versions of Pascal. TYPE f) { if (n <= 1) return 1. when the rocket was already in lunar orbit. f). fac(3. Working with low-level PLs leads to the belief that “this is all that computers can do”.) These programmers may be unaware of the existence of PLs that provide garbage collection.

Give examples to demonstrate the difficulties that the C++ preprocessor causes in a program development environment. 3. Unfortunately. There is a hierarchy of languages (the “Chomsky hierarchy”) and. operational. is not context-free. The preprocessor is another obstacle that affects program development environments in both C and C++. It might appear. then. can be described by a regular language. The most complete description was completed by Milne (1976) after Strachey’s death. Consequently. For example. Exercise 11. however. theory is not a major concern of the course. Denotational semantics is an effective language for communication between the designer and implementors of a PL but is not usually of great interest to a programmer who uses the PL. was designed according to these principles. In this section. In other words. noting that PL features that were easy to implement were often hard to describe and vice versa. Ashcroft and Wadge published an interesting paper (1982). The first two levels of the hierarchy are the most familiar to programmers: regular languages and finite state automata. The grammar of C++. formal machines that can “recognize” the corresponding languages and perform other tasks.3 Theoretical Issues As stated in Section 1. programs can be split into lexemes by a finite state automaton and parsed by a push-down automaton. They are not competitive but rather complementary. They suggested that denotational semantics should be used prescriptively rather then descriptively . a PL designer should start with a simple denotational semantics and then figure out how to implement the language — or perhaps leave that task to implementors altogether. or lexemes. Denotational semantics developed as a descriptive technique and was extended to handle increasingly arcane features. Denotational semantics is a powerful descriptive tool: it provides techniques for mapping almost any PL feature into a high order mathematical function. The basic ideas of denotational semantics are due to Landin (1965) and Strachey (1966). This makes the construction of a C++ parser unnecessarily difficult and accounts for the slow development of C++ programming tools. there are exceptions. axiomatic. on the other hand. Lucid. An axiomatic semantics. such as jumps into blocks. including: algebraic. denotational. and their tokens. is not very useful to an implementor but may be very useful to a programmer who wishes to prove the correctness of a program. and a particular semantic system may be more or less appropriate for a particular task. that the problem of PL design at this level is “solved”. Typical PLs have context-free (or almost context-free) grammars. There are many applications of semantics.1 Syntactic and Lexical Issues There is a large body of knowledge concerning formal languages. and others. 2 3. a denotational semantics is a mapping from program constructs to abstract mathematical entities that represent the “meaning” of the constructs. Their own language.2 Semantics There are many kinds of semantics. we briefly review the contributions that theory has made to the development of PLs and discuss the importance and relevance of these contributions. associated with each level of the hierarchy. . for example. and context-free languages and push-down automata.

Exercise 12. although the number of loopholes in the type system may be small. It is not clear. } The declaration introduces a function called f that takes an argument. however.3 Type Theory There is a large body of knowledge on type theory. A description of a new PL in the academic literature is usually accompanied by a denotational semantics for the main features of the PL.4 Regular Languages Regular languages are based on a simple set of operations: sequence. If L is indeed statically typed: A compiler for L can check the type correctness of all programs. y of type T . Type theories for modern PLs. Here is a function declaration. B. 2 3. and returns a result. dynamic binding. that semantic techniques have had a significant impact on mainstream language design. A program that is type-correct may nevertheless fail in various ways. x of type S. with objects. given a value of type S. will return a value of type T . In general: Most PLs are not statically typed in the sense defined above. consequently. are very complex. A type-correct program may give incorrect answers. If there is a type theory associated with the language. inheritance. 3. A program that is type-correct will not fail because of a type error when it is executed. Type checking does not usually detect errors such as division by zero. performs calculations indicated as B. choice.) A program can be type-correct and yet give completely incorrect answers.3 THEORETICAL ISSUES 8 To some extent. it is interesting to look briefly at regular languages and to see how the concepts can be applied. genericity. and repetition. we should be able to prove a theorem of the following form: If x has type S then the evaluation of f (x) yields a value of type T . T f (S x) { B. Give an example of an expression or statement in Pascal or C that contains a type error that the compiler cannot detect. The theory of program correctness is more difficult and has attracted less attention. Since these operations occur in many contexts in the study of PLs. We can summarize it concisely as follows. Type theory leads to attractive and interesting mathematics and. . The reasoning used in the proof is based on the syntactic form of the function body. we say that L is statically typed . most type checking systems assume that functions are total : a function with type S → T . and other features. Some commonly used functions are partial : for example x/y ≡ divide(x. (In general. the suggestions of Ashcroft and Wadge have been followed (although not necessarily as a result of their paper). If we can do this for all legal programs in a language L.y) is undefined for y = 0. tends to be overvalued by the theoretical Computer Science community. classes. overloading. return y. although it is arguably more important.

3. . 1 }.} in Pascal or / ∗ . For example. We then introduce a variety of regular expressions. . ∗ / . Some compilers allow “nested comments”. This set is called a “regular language”. . ∗ / in C. aa. If r is RE with language R. we begin with an alphabet.. . .1 Tokens We can use regular languages to describe the tokens (or lexemes) of most PLs. 1. Exercise 13. then (rs) is RE and denotes the set RS (where RS = { rs | r ∈ R ∧ s ∈ S } ). If r and s are RE with languages R and S respectively. . . 2.. . What consequences does this have for the lexical analyzer (scanner)? 2 A + B + ··· + Z a + b + ··· + z U C + LC 0 + 1 + ··· + 9 LETTER ( LETTER + DIGIT )∗ DIGIT+ DIGIT+ . . but in this section it stands for “regular expression”. including the empty string. For each symbol x ∈ Σ. . For example. constructed from the symbols of Σ is written Σ∗ . The expression an represents the string aa . We can use a program such as lex to construct a lexical analyzer (scanner) from a regular expression that defines the tokens of a PL. aaa. then (r + s) is RE and denotes the set R ∪ S. Σ. x is RE and denotes the set { x }. xn | n ≥ 0 ∧ xi ∈ R } ). We add two further notations that serve solely as abbreviations.3 THEORETICAL ISSUES 9 In the formal study of regular languages. which we will refer to as RE here. If r and s are RE with languages R and S respectively.   is RE and denotes the empty set. . we might have Σ = { 0. }. (The abbreviation RE is also used to stand for “recursively enumerable”. . (the string containing no symbols) is RE and denotes the set { }. . . / ∗ . 6. . . . which is a finite set of symbols. 2. {. .) Each form of RE is defined by the set of strings in Σ∗ that it generates. 5. g 1. For example: UC LC LETTER DIGIT IDENTIFIER INTCONST FLOATCONST = = = = = = = . The expression a+ is an abbreviation for the RE aa∗ that denotes the set { a.} . The set of all finite strings. {.4. DIGIT∗ . 3. . a containing n occurrences of the symbol a.. then r∗ is RE and denotes the set R∗ (where R∗ = { x1 x2 . 4.

most of the extended forms can be described simply: the sequence of symbols on the right of the connector is replaced by a regular expression. or production. Exercise 15. A grammar rule. and a sequence of terminal and non-terminal symbols.3 THEORETICAL ISSUES RE x rs r∗ r+s Control Structure statement statement. In grammars. Also. BNF provides no mechanism for repetition. a connector (usually ::= or →). we must use recursion instead. for example. The syntax for the assignment..4.4. 2 3. the symbol | rather than + is used to denote choice.2 Context Free Grammars 10 Context free grammars for PLs are usually written in BNF (Backus-Naur Form). The following example illustrates both of these limitations. The extension enables us to express choice and repetition within a single rule. Similarly. might be defined: ASSIGNMENT → VARIABLE “ := ” EXPRESSION Basic BNF provides no mechanism for choice: we must provide one rule for each possibility. SEQUENCE → EMPTY SEQUENCE → STATEMENT SEQUENCE BNF has been extended in a variety of ways. With a few exceptions. Discuss the difficulty of adding attributes to an EBNF grammar. consists of a non-terminal symbol (the symbol being defined). Figure 2 shows a correspondence between REs and data structures. STATEMENT = ASSIGNMENT | CONDITIONAL | · · · SEQUENCE = ( STATEMENT )∗ Extended BNF (EBNF) provides a more concise way of describing grammars than BNF. Why might Figures 1 and 2 be of interest to a PL designer? 2 . they can be constructed from EBNF grammars.3 Control Structures and Data Structures Figure 1 shows a correspondence between REs and the control structures of Algol-like languages. Just as parsers can be constructed from BNF grammars. Exercise 14. statement while expression do statement if condition then statement else statement Figure 1: REs and Control Structures 3.

page 163). In particular. In Jackson Structured Design (JSD). . alternation. struct { int n. Context Free Languages (CFLs). float y. The limitations of REs are also interesting. we obtain the benefits of recursion. int a[] union { int n.3 THEORETICAL ISSUES RE x rs rn r∗ r+s Data Structure int n.4 Discussion These analogies suggest that the mechanisms for constructing REs — concatenation. The corresponding control structure is the procedure and the corresponding data structures are recursive structures such as lists and trees (Wirth 1976.4. the relation between the standard control structures and the standard data structures can be helpful in programming. the data structures appropriate for the application are selected first and then the program is constructed with the corresponding control structures. When we move to the next level of the Chomsky hierarchy. } int a[n]. } 11 Figure 2: REs and Data Structures 3. for example. and repetition — are somehow fundamental. float y.

changes can take place at electronic speeds. ideas that enter the mainstream and ideas that end up in a backwater. One of the first additions to programming notation was the use of symbolic names rather than numbers to represent addresses. The history of PLs. Thus the stored-program concept led to the development of programming “languages”. a number appearing in the calculation might be labelled ‘a3’. we can identify several strands in the evolution of PLs. Instead of writing Location 100 101 102 103 104 105 the programmer would write Order A A T H C T 104 2 104 24 50 104 . a computer can translate a program from one notation to another. for example. without having to specify just where the number is located in the machine. a very different situation from earlier computers that were programmed by plugging wires into panels. 4. With the benefit of hindsight. (Mutch and Gill 1954) The key point in this quotation is the phrase “instead of by its address in the store”. The second. Thus. In particular. under program control. In fact. Williams and Campbell-Kelly 1989. even ideas that are submerged for a while and later surface in an unexpected place. These strands are commonly called “paradigms” and. consequence is that computers can process programs themselves.4 The Procedural Paradigm The introduction of the von Neumann architecture was a crucial step in the development of electronic computers. and ultimately more far-reaching. like the history of any technology. Bergin and Gibson 1996). in this course. Sources for this section include (Wexelblat 1981. The first programs used numbers to refer to machine addresses. The programmer could then write simply ‘A a3’ to denote the operation of adding this number into the accumulator. The first consequence of this idea is that changing and modifying the stored program is simple and efficient. we survey the paradigms separately although their development was interleaved. instead of by its address in the store.1 Early Days The first PLs evolved from machine code. is complex. Briefly. it enables the programmer to refer to any word in a programme by means of a label or tag attached to it arbitrarily by the programmer. There are advances and setbacks. The basic idea is that instructions can be encoded as data and stored in the memory of the computer.

However. thus reducing the total size of the library. which we have called OPEN and CLOSED. This establishes the principle that a variable name stands for a memory location. . parameters which are fixed throughout the solution of a problem and arise solely from the use of the library. . 4. parameterization. i. a principle that influenced the subsequent development of PLs and is now known — perhaps inappropriately — as value semantics. parameters which vary during the solution of the problem. . genericity. without detailed coding and punching. Library subroutines are known to be correct. . . . it is also undesirable to allow the size of the resulting library to increase unduly. although it is desirable to have subroutines available to cover all possible requirements. and making it much easier to locate errors. encapsulation. This quotation introduces a theme that has continued with variations to the present day. as the following quotation shows. being subroutines instead of individual orders. reuse. as conventions are standardized and the units of a routine are much larger. We may divide the parameters associated with subroutines into two classes. EXTERNAL parameters. The following advantages arise from the use of such a library: 1. . Find in it the origins of concern for: correctness. 2. It simplifies the task of preparing problems for the machine. maintenance. . INTERNAL parameters. a subroutine can be made more versatile by the use of parameters associated with it. The importance and subroutines and subroutine libraries was recognized before high-level programming languages had been developed.e.e. . i. Subroutines may be divided into two types. An open subroutine is one which is included in the routine as it stands whereas a closed subroutine is placed in an arbitrary position in the store and can be called into use by any part of the main routine. Another difficulty arises from the fact that. (Wheeler 1951) Exercise 16. thus greatly reducing the overall chance of error in a complete routine.4 THE PROCEDURAL PARADIGM A A T H C T a3 2 a3 24 50 a3 13 a3) systematically replacing the address 104 by the symbol a3. 3. Library subroutines may be used directly. It enables routines to be more readily understood by other users.

Backus (1978) criticized FORTRAN and similar languages as “lacking useful mathematical properties”. knowing that acceptance depended on the high performance of compiled programs. however. along with single. Variable names stand for memory addresses that are determined when the program is loaded. (Backus 1957) It is interesting to note that. such as Pascal and C. The solution. non-technical sense) or recipes rather than “commands”. The major achievements of FORTRAN are: . FORTRAN has value semantics.and multi-dimensioned arrays of primitive values. Although FORTRAN did not eliminate programming. 4. which transferred control but also stored a “link” to which control would be returned after executing a subroutine.4 THE PROCEDURAL PARADIGM space/time trade-offs. The data structures of these early languages were usually rather simple: typically primitive values (integers and floats) were provided. was very similar to the solution he advocated in 1957 — programming must become more like mathematics: “we should be focusing on the form and content of the overall result”. it was a major step towards the elimination of assembly language coding.2 FORTRAN FORTRAN was introduced in 1957 at IBM by a team led by John Backus. and the “jump and store link” command. the commands of a procedural program are executed sequentially. The style of programming that this viewpoint developed became known as the “imperative” or “procedural” programming paradigm. (Quoted in (Sammet 1969).) This suggests that the IBM team’s goal was to eliminate programming! The following quotation seems to confirm this: If it were possible for the 704 to code problems for itself and produce as good programs as human coders (but without the errors). which transferred control to another part of the program. The earliest mechanisms were the “jump” command. are often called “statements”. 20 years later. The designers focused on efficient implementation rather than elegant language design. it was clear that large benefits could be achieved. The “Preliminary Report” describes the goal of the FORTRAN project: The IBM Mathematical Formula Translation System or briefly. By default. we use the term “procedural” rather than “imperative” because programs resemble “procedures” (in the English. the individual steps of procedural PLs. will comprise a large set of programs to enable the IBM 704 to accept a concise formulation of a problem in terms of a mathematical notation and to produce automatically a high-speed 704 program for the solution of the problem. Confusingly. although in logic a “statement” is a sentence that is either true or false. FORTRAN. In these notes. Procedural PLs provide various ways of escaping from the sequence. 2 14 Machine code is a sequence of “orders” or “instructions” that the computer is expected to execute. He saw the assignment statement as a source of inefficiency: “the von Neumann bottleneck”.

all designed for the IBM 704. Since there are no compound statements. which allows variables with different names and types to share a region of memory. with COBOL.3 Algol 60 During the late fifties. demonstration that high-level programming. IBM dominated. Limited control structures. Perlis 1978) was designed by an international committee. How would you interpret this statement if you were: writing a FORTRAN program? writing a FORTRAN compiler? 2 4. There is no concept of nesting in FORTRAN. DO. is feasible. but the compiler does not check for consistent usage of these regions. The control structures of FORTRAN are IF. The principal limitations of FORTRAN are: Flat. with automatic translation to machine code. In other words. high-quality compilers were written and the language was not widely used (although it was used . FORTRAN. One program component might use a region of memory to store an array of integers. The committee included both John Backus (chief designer of FORTRAN) and John McCarthy (designer of LISP). This enables different parts of a program to share regions of memory. but the compiler does not check for consistency between components). The FORTRAN 1966 Standard stated that a FORTRAN implementation may allow recursion but is not required to do so. FORTRAN allocates all data. FORTRAN borrows the concept of COMMON storage from assembly language program. and another might assume that the same region contains reals. 1960. Recursion is forbidden because only one instance of a subroutine can be active at one time. No recursion. FORTRAN programs are rather similar to assembly language programs: the main difference is that a typical line of FORTRAN describes evaluating an expression and storing its value in memory whereas a typical line of assembly language specifies a machine instruction (or a small group of instructions in the case of a macro).4 THE PROCEDURAL PARADIGM 15 efficient compilation. Variables are either global or local to subroutines. Exercise 17. uniform structure. separate compilation (programs can be presented to the compiler as separate subroutines. most of the development of PLs was coming from industry. statically. To conserve precious memory. including the parameters and local variables of subroutines. Unsafe memory allocation. A program consists of a sequence of subroutines and a main program. FORTRAN also provides the EQUIVALENCE statement. Naur 1978. labels provide the only indication that a sequence of statements form a group. The goal was a “universal programming language”. partly to provide a PL that was independent of any particular company and its computers. In one sense. Algol 60 (Naur et al. and FLPL (FORTRAN List Processing Language). and GOTO. Algol was a failure: few complete.

. The default method of passing parameters in Algol was “call by name” and it was described by a rather complicated “copy rule”. A program is a block . Block structure and stacked ARs have been incorporated into almost every language since Algol. In the Algol block shown in Listing 3.. Dynamic Arrays. the appropriate amount of space is allocated on the stack and the components of the “dope vector” are initialized. one kind of statement is a block. in particular. procedure average (n). A variable or function name declared in a block can be accessed only within the block: thus Algol introduced nested scopes. The run-time entity corresponding to a block is called an activation record (AR). x := 2. this in turn means that ARs can be allocated on a stack . Algol was a huge success: it became the standard language for describing algorithms. The usual implementation strategy . Algol programs are recursively structured. Call By Name. end. The compiler statically allocates space for a pointer and an integer (collectively called a “dope vector”) on the stack. real y. The major innovations of Algol are discussed below. The essence of the copy rule is that the program behaves as if the text of the formal parameter in the function is replaced by the text of the actual parameter. . end 16 more in Europe than in North America). begin integer x.14159. At run-time. end. There are various kinds of statement. x := 1. begin real array a[1:n]. The syntax of Algol ensures that blocks are fully nested. In another sense. A block consists of declarations and statements. y := 3. the ACM required submissions to the algorithm collection to be written in Algol. The complications arise because it may be necessary to rename some of the variables during the textual substitution. when the size of the array is known. the two assignments to x refer to two different variables. The following code works fine in Algol 60. The designers of Algol realized that it was relatively simple to allow the size of an array to be determined at run-time. Block Structure. Despite the simplicity of the implementation. The AR is created on entry to the block and destroyed after the statements of the block have been executed. integer n..4 THE PROCEDURAL PARADIGM Listing 3: An Algol Block begin integer x. For the better part of 30 years. The recursive structure of programs means that large programs can be constructed from small programs. successor PLs such as C and Pascal dropped this useful feature.

The statement sum(3. (This is in contrast with call by value. and the third is the loop body. Call by name evaluates the actual parameter exactly as often as it is accessed. for i := 1 until n do s := s + val. Call by name provides control structure abstraction. s := 0. begin n := n + 1 end Listing 5: A General Sum Function integer procedure sum (max. a[i]) computes a[1]+a[2]+a[3]. If the procedure count is defined as in Listing 4.0/x will not be evaluated. the Algol committee had several valid reasons for introducing it.) For example. where the parameter is usually evaluated exactly once. the second is the loop index. The effect is that the variable has local scope (it can be accessed only by the statements within the procedure) but global extent (its lifetime is the execution of the entire program). on entry to the procedure.0/x). the expression 1. each occurrence of the formal parameter inside the function was translated into a call to this function. the statement count(widgets) has the same effect as the statement begin widgets := widgets + 1 end The other parameter passing mechanism provided by Algol. val. Own Variables. does not allow a procedure to alter the value of its actual parameters in the calling environment: the parameter behaves like an initialized local variable. begin integer s. The mechanism seems strange today because few modern languages use it. i. it is safe to call try(x > 0.4 THE PROCEDURAL PARADIGM Listing 4: Call by name procedure count (n). sum := s end 17 was to translate the actual parameter into a procedure with no arguments (called a “thunk”). if x ≤ 0. integer n. i. The first parameter specifies the number of iterations. val). integer max. Call by name enables procedures to alter their actual parameters. because. i. . 1. However. A variable in an Algol procedure can be declared own. The procedure in Listing 5 provides a form of abstraction of a for loop. if we declare the procedure try as in Listing 6. call by value.

Applying this idea consistently throughout the language would have led to high order functions and paved the way to functional programming. however. Yet Algol 60 does not provide records. A variable name stands for a memory addresses that is determined when the block containing the variable declaration is entered at run-time. has a value semantics. anything that jeopardized it was not acceptable. begin try := if b then x else 0. The local data of an AR is destroyed after the statements of the AR have been executed. like FORTRAN. in effect. But the concept was important: it is the separation of scope and extent that ultimately leads to objects. for various reasons including the difficulty of reliably initializing them (see Example 19). such as PL/I and Algol 68. If the data was retained rather than destroyed. x). An Algol block consists of declarations followed by statements. Why does i appear in the parameter list of Sum? 2 Exercise 19. The actual parameter in an Algol call. since they believed that the stack discipline obtained with nested blocks was crucial for efficiency. is actually a parameterless procedure. a record. Discuss the initialization of own variables. assuming the default calling mechanism. we can see that Algol made important contributions but also missed some very interesting opportunities. begin D1 S1 D2 S2 end A natural interpretation would be that S1 and S2 are executed concurrently . Algol 60 was simple and powerful. real x. In the following block. we take a brief look at COBOL. Algol would be a language with modules. An Algol block without statements is. With hindsight. . Before discussing these. boolean b. Suppose that declarations and statements could be interleaved in a block. The Algol committee knew what they were doing.0 end Exercise 18. 2 18 Algol 60 and most of its successors. In particular. but not quite powerful enough. They knew that incorporating the “missed opportunities” described above would have led to significant implementation problems. as mentioned above. D denotes a sequence of declarations and S denotes a sequence of statements. The call by name mechanism was a first step towards the important idea that functions can be treated as values. The dominant trend after Algol was towards languages of increasing complexity.4 THE PROCEDURAL PARADIGM Listing 6: Using call by name real procedure try (b. Own variables were in fact rather problematic in Algol.

Can you explain why? 2 4. binary form) and the second provides a format for reporting salaries as amounts in dollars. When COBOL was introduced. The problem of type conversion had not arisen previously because only a small number of types were provided by the PL. the dominant languages were Algol. COBOL introduced many new types. SALREP PICTURE $$$. The continuing desire for a “universal language” that would be applicable to a wide variety of problem domains led IBM to propose a new programming language (originally called NPL but changed. COBOL. Example 13: Automatic conversion in COBOL. In most PLs of the time.$$9. without having to learn the entire language. . The data division of a COBOL program contained descriptions of the data to be processed. COBOL introduced “data processing”.4 THE PROCEDURAL PARADIGM 19 4. The choice made by the designers of COBOL was radical: type conversion should be automatic. it remains true that FORTRAN is widely used for “number crunching” and COBOL is widely used for data processing. USAGE IS COMPUTATIONAL. a single statement translated into a small number of machine instructions. Despite significant advances in the design and implementation of PLs. Insiders at the time referred to the new language as “CobAlgoltran”. after objections from the UK’s National Physical Laboratory. but not necessarily. a single statement could generate a large amount of machine code. If X and Y have different types. The Procedure Division would probably contain a statement like MOVE SALARY TO SALREP. The design principles of PL/I (Radin 1978) included: the language should contain the features necessary for all kinds of programming. the COBOL compiler will attempt to find a conversion from one type to the other. The Data Division of a COBOL program might contain these declarations: 77 77 SALARY PICTURE 99999. immediately before the first significant digit). including MOVE X to Y. where data meant large numbers of characters. “programming” was more or less synonymous with “numerical computation”. Another important innovation of COBOL was a new approach to data types. which implicitly requires the conversion from binary to character form. in the sense that data could have various degrees of precision. (Only one dollar symbol will be printed. to PL/I) that would combine the best features of these three languages. The assignment statement in COBOL has several forms. a programmer could learn a subset of the language. 2 Exercise 20. with appropriate formatting. In COBOL.4 COBOL COBOL (Sammett 1978) introduced structured data and implicit type conversion.99 The first indicates that SALARY is to be stored in a form suitable for computation (probably. suitable for a particular application. and different representations as text.5 PL/I During the early 60s. FORTRAN.

if the handler contains a GOTO statement. however. Statements of the following form are allowed anywhere in the program: ON condition BEGIN. obtaining ’578’. 3. Concatenate the strings ’57’ and ’8’. Types.) becomes TRUE. If the condition (which might be OVERFLOW. could not be named. 4. might be paraphrased as: “Do everything possible to compile this statement. automatic. as far as possible. control is transferred to whichever ON statement for that condition was most recently executed. PL/I provided a simple. Convert the string ’578’ to the integer 578. Some of these were later incorporated into C. again because it is outside the learned subset. More probably.4 THE PROCEDURAL PARADIGM 20 An important lesson of PL/I is that these design goals are doomed to failure. PL/I extends the automatic type conversion facilities of COBOL to an extreme degree. to the target of that statement. avoid issuing any diagnostic message that would tell the programmer what is happening”. 2 .. The compiler’s policy. With luck. A programmer who has learned a “subset” of PL/I is likely. END. 2. Discuss potential problems of the PL/I exception handling mechanism. on encountering an assignment x = E. Add 17 to 578. Convert the integer 595 to the string ’595’. Since we can execute the statement allocate x as often as necessary. and not very safe. Convert the integer 8 to the string ’8’. control returns to the statement that raised the exception or. like all programmers. . or controlled. based.. PL/I provides a wide range of programmer-defined types. etc. PRINTER OUT OF PAPER. An object associated with a based variable x requires explicit allocation and is placed on the heap rather than the stack. Every variable has a storage class: static. After the statements between BEGIN and END (the handler) have been executed. For example. but their existence encouraged others to produce better designs. They were not all well-designed. 5. the expression (Gelernter and Jagannathan 1990) (’57’ || 8) + 17 is evaluated as follows: 1. obtaining 595. to make a mistake. PL/I did introduce some important new features into PLs.. form of exception handling. the compiler will not detect the error and the program will behave in a way that is inexplicable to the programmer. based variables provide a form of template. the compiler will detect the error and provide a diagnostic message that is incomprehensible to the programmer because it refers to a part of the language outside the learned subset. Exercise 21.

the expressions x. constants. . coercion. Pascal demonstrated that a PL could be simple yet powerful. This single keyword introduces call by reference. Dijkstra. Lindsey 1996) is much more complex. 1975. y. and other languages that were becoming popular in the late 60s. z). This implies that. The main design principle of Algol 68 was orthogonality : the language was to be defined using a number of basic concepts that could be combined in arbitrary ways. Exercise 22. “use the address rather than the value”. it does not necessarily follow that orthogonality is always a good thing. . 1975). The important features introduced by Algol 68 include the following. Algol 68 was not widely used. Wirth made extensive use of the ideas of Dijkstra and Hoare (later published as (Dahl. especially Hoare’s ideas of data structuring. and Hoare 1972)).). set. In a collateral clause of the form (x. pointers.) and some of which have not (mode. weak context. however. The important contributions of Pascal included the following. and functions. This gives the implementor freedom to use any order of evaluation and hence. there must be forms of expression that yield appropriate values. and z can be evaluated in any order. for all these entities. . narrowing. Even the priority of these operators can be altered. dynamic data structures. although it was popular for a while in various parts of Europe. y. and other features to the language. . its successor Algol 68 (van Wijngaarden et al. voiding. and early. perhaps. Thus data types in Pascal form a recursive hierarchy just as blocks do in Algol 60.) and mechanisms for building structured types (array. record. The operator ref stands for “reference” and means. Collateral clauses provide a good. . Like Algol 60. Operator overloading: programmers can provide new definitions for standard operators such as “+”. In this example. The ideas that Algol 68 introduced. the Algol 68 report does not specify the order of evaluation of the expressions in a collateral clause. for an assignment x := E. The language was described in a formal notation that specified the complete syntax and semantics of the language (van Wijngaarden et al. . . or concurrently. real. . have been widely imitated. To what extent can it be checked by the compiler? 2 4. . .. bool. to optimize. roughly. file.7 Pascal Pascal was designed by Wirth (1996) as a reaction to the complexity of Algol 68. . Although it is true that lack of orthogonality can be a nuisance in PLs. example of the idea that a PL specification should intentionally leave some implementation details undefined. y. For example. z). . Algol 68 has a rule that requires. PL/I. Explain the motivation for this rule. Algol 68 has a very uniform notation for declarations and other entities.). the argument list is a collateral clause. The type system of Pascal was based on primitives (integer. . It appears in C in the form of the operators “*” and “&”. . Algol 68 uses the same syntax (mode name = expression) for types. . some of which have become part of the culture (cast. The fact that the Report was very hard to understand may have contributed to the slow acceptance of the language. the lifetime of the variable x must be less than or equal to the lifetime of the object obtained by evaluating E. .4 THE PROCEDURAL PARADIGM 21 4. A large vocabulary of PL terms. In a function call f (x. variables.6 Algol 68 Whereas Algol 60 is a simple and expressive language.

The implementation contains the “secret” information about the module. For example. All other type conversions are explicit (even when no action is required) and the compiler checks type correctness. (Wirth’s first design. The important contribution of Modula–2 was. data type declarations. 2 Exercise 24. removes Pascal’s weaknesses. supersets were developed and. Pascal missed important opportunities.) Modula–2 provides a limited escape from this dilemma: a programmer can define an “opaque” type with a hidden representation. Its most important innovations were probably the combination of simplicity. these became incompatible. . Pascal was designed to match Wirth’s (1971) ideas of program development by stepwise refinement. which inherits Pascal’s strengths and. was never completed. The monolithic structure that this idea imposes on programs is a drawback of Pascal because it prevents independent compilation of components. It is well-known that the biggest loop-hole in Pascal’s type structure was the variant record. The record type was a useful innovation (although very similar to the Algol 68 struct) but allowed data only. Programmers are expected to start with a complete but skeletal “program” and flesh it out in a series of refinement steps. This implies that the size must be deducible from the interface which implies. the compiler must know the size of the object in order to declare an instance of it. The important features of Modula–2 are: Modules with separated interface and implementation descriptions (based on Mesa). Like Algol 60. Nevertheless. Pascal had a strong influence on many later languages. in turn. Modula–2 was the product of a sabbatical year in California. This design has the unfortunate consequence that some information that should be secret must be put into the interface. where Wirth worked with the designers of Mesa. (The same problem appears again in C++. each of which makes certain decisions and adds new details. Because of the perceived missing features. Exercise 23.4 THE PROCEDURAL PARADIGM 22 Pascal provides no implicit type conversions other than subrange to integer and integer to real. the introduction of modules. to some extent. In this case. List some of the “missing features” of Pascal.) A module in Modula–2 has an interface and an implementation. How serious do you think this problem was? 2 4. and static type checking. inevitably. Allowing functions in a record declaration would have paved the way to modular and even object oriented programming. of course. Pascal was a failure because it was too simple. The first version of “Standard Pascal” was almost useless as a practical programming language and the Revised Standard described a usable language but appeared only after most people had lost interest in Pascal. the interface contains only a pointer to the instance and the representation can be placed in the implementation module. Modula. Pascal is a kind of “fill in the blanks” language in which all programs have a similar structure. that the interface must contain the representation of the object. Coroutines. The interface provides information about the use of the module to both the programmer and the compiler. determined by the relatively strict syntax. another early modular language.8 Modula–2 Wirth (1982) followed Pascal with Modula–2.

It is designed to be easy to compile and to produce efficient object code.9 C C is a very pragmatic PL. the template generic max: integer. The enormous success of C is partly accidental.. This is both the strength and weakness of C. strings. and task types. For example. and packages and tasks (not representable in the language). arrays are defined in terms of pointers and pointer arithmetic. The compiler is assumed to be rather unsophisticated (a reasonable assumption for a compiler running on a PDP/11 in the late sixties) and in need of hints such as register.10 Ada Ada (Whitaker 1996) represents the last major effort in procedural language design. became popular. C is a low-level language by comparison with the other PLs discussed in this section. It is a large and complex language that combines then-known programming features with little attempt at consolidation. 4. C is based on a small number of primitive concepts.. might be instantiated by a declaration such as . It is not clear why four distinct mechanisms are required (Gelernter and Jagannathan 1990). type element is private. If present. The syntactic differences suggest that the designers did not look for similarities between these constructs. the spread of UNIX inevitably led to the spread of C. A procedure definition looks like this: procedure procname ( parameters ) is body A record type looks like this: type recordtype ( parameters ) is body The parameters of a record type are optional. package Stack is . or boolean operations. For example. record types. but this aspect of the language proved hard to implement. The corresponding objects are: blocks and records (representable in the language). Ritchie (Ritchie 1996) designed it for a particular task — systems programming — for which it has been widely used. but C does not provide real support for arrays. after Bell released it to universities. UNIX. they have a different form than the parameters of procedures. generic packages. The number of concepts is small. C is notable for its concise syntax. Some syntactic features are inherited from Algol 68 (for example. Ada provides templates for procedures.4 THE PROCEDURAL PARADIGM 23 4. It was the first widely-used language to provide full support for concurrency. postfix and prefix ++ and --). with good reason. Since UNIX depended heavily on C. += and other assignment operators) and others are unique to C and C++ (for example. A generic package looks like this: generic ( parameters ) package packagename is package description The parameters can be types or values. with interactions checked by the compiler..

4 THE PROCEDURAL PARADIGM package intStack is new Stack(20. 2 . a task template looks like this (no parameters are allowed): task type templatename is task description 24 Of course. But it is disturbing that the language designers apparently did not consider passible relationships between these four kinds of declaration. but uncovering deep semantic similarities might have a significant impact on the language as a whole. Changing the syntax would be a minor improvement. integer) Finally. programmers hardly notice syntactic differences of this kind: they learn the correct incantation and recite it without thinking. Exercise 25. Propose a uniform style for Ada declarations. just as the identity declaration of Algol 68 suggested new and interesting possibilities.

Turing (1936) introduced an abstract model of “programming”. etc. The important early decisions in the design of LISP were: to provide list processing (which already existed in languages such as Information Processing Language (IPL) and FORTRAN List Processing Language (FLPL)). were shown to have the same power. to use the concept of “function” as widely as possible (cons for list construction. to use a prefix notation (emphasizing the operator rather than the operands of an expression). the results and parameters of functions are n − 1-th order expressions. More precisely: A zeroth order expression contains only variables and constants. in a high order logic. He considered it important that LISP expressions should obey the usual mathematical laws allowing replacement of expressions and: . This point of view has a solid foundation in theory. we must look at the functional programming languages (FPLs) that have actually been implemented. Most functional language support high order functions. In firstorder logic. procedural PLs also provide expressions (“calculate something”). car and cdr for extracting list components. to avoid the need for explicit erasure of unused list structures. To decide that. A high order expression is an n-th order expression with n ≥ 2. The key insight of functional programming (FP) is that everything can be done with expressions: the commands are unnecessary. A first order expression may also contain function invocations. McCarthy (1960) wanted a language with a solid mathematical foundation and decided that recursive function theory was more appropriate for this purpose than the then-popular Turing machine model. quantifiers can bind predicates. cond for conditional. a high order function is a function that takes another function as a parameter or returns a function. but the results and parameters of functions are variables and constants (that is. quantifiers can bind variables only. The two theories were later shown (by Kleene) to be equivalent: each had the same computational power.5 The Functional Paradigm Procedural programming is based on instructions (“do something”) but. zeroth order expressions). 5. inevitably. This important theoretical result shows that FP is not a complete waste of time but it does not tell us whether FP is useful or practical. now known as the Turing machine. The same conventions apply in logic with “function” replaced by “function or predicate”. The following account of the development of LISP is based on McCarthy’s (1978) history. in an n-th order expression. Kleene (1936) and Church (1941) introduced the theory of recursive functions. Roughly. to provide higher order functions and hence a notation for functions (based on Church’s (1941) λ-notation).).1 LISP Functional programming was introduced in 1958 in the form of LISP by John McCarthy. In general. such as Post production systems. Other theories.

y) is written in LISP as (f x y). and such a notation was devised for the purpose of the paper with no thought that it would be used to express LISP programs in practice. C. Soon afterwards. There are two lists. and NIL would themselves be list structures in an actual LISP system. which computes the value of a LISP expression e. this is probably the first instance of a compiler written in the language that it compiled. R. Russel noticed that eval could be used as an interpreter for LISP and hand-coded it. and each terminated with NIL.5 THE FUNCTIONAL PARADIGM s s s s E NIL 26 E E c A c s s E s s E NIL c c B C Figure 3: The list structure (A (B C)) Another way to show that LISP was neater than Turing machines was to write a universal LISP function and show that it is briefer and more comprehensible than the description of a universal Turing machine. A list is a data structure composed of cons-cells (so called because they are constructed by the function cons). The function name always comes first: a + b is written in LISP as (+ a b). Each box represents a cons-cell. There is a function eval (mentioned in the quotation above) that evaluates a stored list expression. There is a simple relationship between the text of an expression and its representation in memory. An atom is a simple object such as a name or a number. each cons-cell has two pointers and each pointer points either to another cons-cell or to an atom. they are abbreviations for “contents of address register” (the top 18 bits of a 36-bit word) and “contents of decrement register” (the bottom 18 bits). . a]. The function cons constructs a list from its head and tail: (cons head tail). thereby producing the first LISP interpreter. All expressions are enclosed in parentheses and can be nested to arbitrary depth. Figure 3 shows the list structure corresponding to the expression (A (B C)). The function application f (x. This was the LISP function eval [e. The diagram is simplified in that the atoms A. Writing eval required inventing a notation for representing LISP functions as LISP data. The value of (car list) is the head of the list and the value of (cdr list) is the tail of the list. B. McCarthy’s graduate student S. It is easy to translate between list expressions and the corresponding data structures. the second argument a being a list of assignments of values to variables. Thus: (car (cons head tail)) → head (cdr (cons head tail)) → tail The names car and cdr originated in IBM 704 hardware. . each with two elements. . Timothy Hart and Michael Levin wrote a LISP compiler in LISP. (McCarthy 1978) After the paper was written. .

a name is a reference to an object. we must wrap it up in a “special form” called function: (f (function (lambda (x) (* x x))) . However. Names. A PL in which variable names are references to objects in memory is said to have reference semantics. or “box”.) Similar complexities arise when a function returns another function as a result. Note that reference semantics is not the same as “pointers” in languages such as Pascal and C. All FPLs and most OOPLs have reference semantics. Consequently. A consequence of the use of names as references to objects is that eventually there will be objects for which there are no references: these objects are “garbage” and must be automatically reclaimed if the interpreter is not to run out of memory. x2 . In LISP. to denote functions. The alternative — requiring the programmer to explicitly deallocate old cells — would add considerable complexity to the task of writing LISP programs. Its principal contributions are listed below. . The two objects have different memory addresses. The next two statements put different values. the decision to include automatic garbage collection (in 1958!) was courageous and influential. LISP was the first in a long line of functional programming (FP) languages. the expression ((lambda (x) (* x x)) 4) yields the value 16. LISP had to resort to programming tricks to make higher order functions work. n := 3. . For example. based on Church’s λ-calculus. the lambda expression itself cannot be evaluated. . assigns a name to a location. A pointer variable stands for a location in memory and therefore has value semantics. the function that squares its argument is written (lambda (x) (* x x)) by analogy to Church’s f = λx . For example. Lambda. Nevertheless. that can contain an integer. if we want to pass the squaring function as an argument to another function. a name denotes a storage location (value semantics). not a location (reference semantics). first 2 then 3. the declaration int n. We can apply a lambda expression to an argument to obtain the value of a function application. n := 2. LISP uses “lambda expressions”. It is interesting to note that the close relationship between code and data in LISP mimics the von Neumann architecture at a higher level of abstraction. into that box.5 THE FUNCTIONAL PARADIGM 27 Consequently. In the LISP sequence (progn (setq x (car structure)) (setq x (cdr structure))) x becomes a reference first to (car structure) and then to (cdr structure). In procedural PLs. . For example. In the Algol sequence int n. it just so happens that the location is used to store the address of another object. it is straightforward to build languages and systems “on top of” LISP and LISP is often used in this way.

5 THE FUNCTIONAL PARADIGM Listing 7: Static and Dynamic Binding int x = 4; // 1 void f () { printf("%d", x); } void main () { int x = 7; // 2 f (); }

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Dynamic Scoping. Dynamic scoping was an “accidental” feature of LISP: it arose as a side-effect of the implementation of the look-up table for variable values used by the interpreter. The C-like program in Listing 7 illustrates the difference between static and dynamic scoping. In C, the variable x in the body of the function f is a use of the global variable x defined in the first line of the program. Since the value of this variable is 4, the program prints 4. (Do not confuse dynamic scoping with dynamic binding!) A LISP interpreter constructs its environment as it interprets. The environment behaves like a stack (last in, first out). The initial environment is empty, which we denote by . After interpreting the LISP equivalent of the line commented with “1”, the environment contains the global binding for x: x = 4 . When the interpreter evaluates the function main, it inserts the local x into the environment, obtaining x = 7, x = 4 . The interpreter then evaluates the call f (); when it encounters x in the body of f , it uses the first value of x in the environment and prints 7. Although dynamic scoping is natural for an interpreter, it is inefficient for a compiler. Interpreters are slow anyway, and the overhead of searching a linear list for a variable value just makes them slightly slower still. A compiler, however, has more efficient ways of accessing variables, and forcing it to maintain a linear list would be unacceptably inefficient. Consequently, early LISP systems had an unfortunate discrepancy: the interpreters used dynamic scoping and the compilers used static scoping. Some programs gave one answer when interpreted and another answer when compiled! Exercise 26. Describe a situation in which dynamic scoping is useful. 2 Interpretation. LISP was the first major language to be interpreted. Originally, the LISP interpreter behaved as a calculator: it evaluated expressions entered by the user, but its internal state did not change. It was not long before a form for defining functions was introduced (originally called define, later changed to defun) to enable users to add their own functions to the list of built-in functions. A LISP program has no real structure. On paper, a program is a list of function definitions; the functions may invoke one another with either direct or indirect recursion. At run-time, a program is the same list of functions, translated into internal form, added to the interpreter. The current dialect of LISP is called Common LISP (Steele et al. 1990). It is a much larger and more complex language than the original LISP and includes many features of Scheme (described below). Common LISP provides static scoping with dynamic scoping as an option.

5 THE FUNCTIONAL PARADIGM Listing 8: Defining car (cond ((eq (car expr) ’car) (car (cadr expr)) ) .... Listing 9: Factorial with functions (define factorial (lambda (n) (if (= n 0) 1 (* n (factorial (- n 1))))))

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Exercise 27. The LISP interpreter, written in LISP, contains expressions such as the one shown in Listing 8. We might paraphrase this as: “if the car of the expression that we are currently evaluating is car, the value of the expression is obtained by taking the car of the cadr (that is, the second term) of the expression”. How much can you learn about a language by reading an interpreter written in the language? What can you not learn? 2

5.2

Scheme

Scheme was designed by Guy L. Steele Jr. and Gerald Jay Sussman (1975). It is very similar to LISP in both syntax and semantics, but it corrects some of the errors of LISP and is both simpler and more consistent. The starting point of Scheme was an attempt by Steele and Sussman to understand Carl Hewitt’s theory of actors as a model of computation. The model was object oriented and influenced by Smalltalk (see Section 6.2). Steele and Sussman implemented the actor model using a small LISP interpreter. The interpreter provided lexical scoping, a lambda operation for creating functions, and an alpha operation for creating actors. For example, the factorial function could be represented either as a function, as in Listing 9, or as an actor, as in Listing 10. Implementing the interpreter brought an odd fact to light: the interpreter’s code for handling alpha was identical to the code for handling lambda! This indicated that closures — the objects created by evaluating lambda — were useful for both high order functional programming and object oriented programming (Steele 1996). LISP ducks the question “what is a function?” It provides lambda notation for functions, but a lambda expression can only be applied to arguments, not evaluated itself. Scheme provides an answer to this question: the value of a function is a closure. Thus in Scheme we can write both (define num 6) which binds the value 6 to the name num and Listing 10: Factorial with actors (define actorial (alpha (n c) (if (= n 0) (c 1) (actorial (- n 1) (alpha (f) (c (* f n)))))))

5 THE FUNCTIONAL PARADIGM Listing 11: Differentiating in Scheme (define derive (lambda (lambda (x) (/ (- (f (+ x dx)) (define square (lambda (define Dsq (derive sq (f dx) (f x)) dx)))) (x) (* x x))) 0.001))

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(define square (lambda (x) (* x x))) which binds the squaring function to the name square. (Scheme actually provides an abbreviated form of this definition, to spare programmers the trouble of writing lambda all the time, but the form shown is accepted by the Scheme compiler and we use it in these notes.) Since the Scheme interpreter accepts a series of definitions, as in LISP, it is important to understand the effect of the following sequence: (define n 4) (define f (lambda () n)) (define n 7) (f) The final expression calls the function f that has just been defined. The value returned is the value of n, but which value, 4 or 7? If this sequence could be written in LISP, the result would be 7, which is the value of n in the environment when (f) is evaluated. Scheme, however, uses static scoping . The closure created by evaluating the definition of f includes all name bindings in effect at the time of definition. Consequently, a Scheme interpreter yields 4 as the value of (f). The answer to the question “what is a function?” is “a function is an expression (the body of the function) and an environment containing the values of all variables accessible at the point of definition”. Closures in Scheme are ordinary values. They can be passed as arguments and returned by functions. (Both are possible in LISP, but awkward because they require special forms.) Example 14: Differentiating. Differentiation is a function that maps functions to functions. Approximately (Abelson and Sussman 1985): D f (x) = f (x + dx) − f (x) dx

We define the Scheme functions shown in Listing 11. After these definitions have been evaluated, Dsq is, effectively, the function f (x) = (x + 0.001)2 − x2 0.001 = 2x + · · ·

We can apply Dsq like this: (->” is the Scheme prompt): -> (Dsq 3) 6.001 2 Scheme avoids the problem of incompatibility between interpretation and compilation by being statically scoped, whether it is interpreted or compiled. The interpreter uses a more elaborate data

functions. in turn. Although Scheme is primarily a functional language. when compared to OOPLs such as Simula and Smalltalk (described in Section 6) is that we can define only one function at a time.balance amount)) balance) ("Insufficient funds")) (define (deposit amount) (set! balance (+ balance amount)) balance) (define (dispatch m) (cond ((eq? m ’withdraw) withdraw) ((eq? m ’deposit) deposit) (else (error "Unrecognized transaction" m)))) dispatch) Listing 13: Using the account -> ((acc ’withdraw) 50) 50 -> ((acc ’withdraw) 100) Insufficient funds -> ((acc ’deposit) 100) 150 31 structure for storing values of local variables to obtain the effect of static scoping. it returns one of the functions withdraw or deposit which. The first step is to create an account. . local. 2 This example demonstrates that with higher order functions and control of state (by side-effects) we can obtain a form of OOP. Listing 13 shows some simple applications of acc. The following dialog shows how banking works in Scheme. Scheme introduced continuations. In particular. The quote sign (’) is required to prevent the evaluation of withdraw or deposit. This function must be used to dispatch messages to other. The limitation of this approach. The function shown in Listing 12 shows how side-effects can be used to define an object with changing state (Abelson and Sussman 1985. The value returned is the new balance. -> (define acc (make-account 100)) The value of acc is a closure consisting of the function dispatch together with an environment in which balance = 100. takes an amount as argument. page 173).) Example 15: Banking in Scheme. side-effects are allowed. (The “!” is a reminder that set! has side-effects. set! changes the value of a variable. The function dispatch takes a single argument which must be withdraw or deposit.5 THE FUNCTIONAL PARADIGM Listing 12: Banking in Scheme (define (make-account balance) (define (withdraw amount) (if (>= balance amount) (sequence (set! balance (. In addition to full support for high order functions.

. . If we consider if as a function. The function second returns the second element of a list. Evaluating an expression only when it is needed. The expression x::xs denotes a list with first element (head) x and remaining elements (tail) xs. we can define it like this: second (x::y::xs) = y Although nums(0) is an “infinite” list. 5. . Combinator reduction implements call by name (the default method for passing parameters in Algol 60) but with an optimization. . we would not be able to write expressions such as if x = 0 then 1 else 1/x In C. If it is needed one or more times. . If it did not. then we see that if must use call by need for its second and third arguments. all of which are implemented with combinator reduction. . . Call by need is the only method of passing arguments in SASL but it occurs as a special case in other languages. it is not evaluated. and Harper 1990. and never more than once. the functions && (AND) and || (OR) are defined as follows: X && Y X || Y ≡ if X then Y else false ≡ if X then true else Y These definitions provide the effect of lazy evaluation and allow us to write expressions such as if (p != NULL && p->f > 0) . . In this example. .Y). Tofte. If the parameter is not needed in the function. Andrew’s Symbolic Language) was introduced by David Turner (1976).4 SML SML (Milner. so that the expression if P then X else Y is a fancy way of writing if(P.5 THE FUNCTIONAL PARADIGM 32 5. it is evaluated exactly once. as soon as the argument of second is in the form 0::1::. Milner and Tofte 1991) was designed as a “metalanguage” (ML) for reasoning about programs as part of the Edinburgh Logic for Computable Functions . evaluating an expression more than once will always give the same result. . as in Algol 60. the required result is known.X. Thus combinator reduction is (in this sense) the most efficient way to pass parameters to functions. Turner subsequently designed KRC (Kent Recursive Calculator) (1981) and Miranda (1985).3 SASL SASL (St. we can find its second element in SASL: second(nums(0)) = second(0::nums(1)) = second(0::1::nums(2)) = 1 This works because SASL evaluates a parameter only when its value is needed for the calculation to proceed. It has an Algollike syntax and is of interest because the compiler translates the source code into a combinator expression which is then processed by graph reduction (Turner 1979). Since SASL expressions do not have side-effects. is called call by need or lazy evaluation. The definition nums(n) = n::nums(n+1) apparently defines an infinite list: nums(0) = 0::nums(1) = 0::1::nums(2) = . The following examples use SASL notation. In SASL.

but even if it wasn’t.fun fac n = if n = 0 then 1 else n * fac(n-1). val it = 81. would fail because SML cannot decide whether the type of x is int or real. it changes the prompt to “=” on the second line. The language survived after the rest of the project was abandoned and became “standard” ML.val quad = sq o sq. . there are two patterns. The distinguishing feature of SML is that it is statically typed in the sense of Section 3. as in the following alternative declaration of the factorial function: . The second. The first.0.0 : real We can pass functions as arguments to other functions. val fac = fn : int -> int . Each case of a declaration by cases includes a pattern. val fac = fn : int -> int .fun (f o g) x = g (f x). we could easily declare it and use it to build the fourth power function.fac 6.5 THE FUNCTIONAL PARADIGM Listing 14: Function composition . and ’c are type names.quad 3. or SML. val it = 720 : int Since SML recognizes that the first line of this declaration is incomplete. val quad = fn : real -> real . and matches only itself. ’b. In the following example. is a constant pattern. val it = 720 : int SML also allows function declaration by cases. is a variable pattern. . \tt n. val o = fn : (’a -> ’b) * (’b -> ’c) -> ’a -> ’c . SML assigns the result to the variable it. which can be used in the next interaction if desired. val sq = fn : real -> real . they indicate that SML has recognized o as a polymorphic function.0.fac 6. and prompts with “-”.sq 17. SML is run interactively. . The symbols ’a.fun fac 0 = 1 = | fac n = n * fac(n-1). The programmer then tests the factorial function with argument 6. Note that the definition fun sq x = x * x. as in Listing 14.0 : real 33 (LCF) project. In the declaration of fac. The function o (intended to resemble the small circle that mathematicians use to denote functional composition) is built-in.infix o. The vertical bar “|” indicates that we are declaring another “case” of the declaration. The function hasfactor defined in Listing 15 returns true if its first argument is a factor of . 0. and matches any value of the appropriate type.fun sq x:real = x * x. val it = 289. the programmer defines the factorial function and SML responds with its type.3 and that most types can be inferred by the compiler.

but this is not the case.3. of a list of integers.n) = if m < n then m :: (m+1 -. .5 THE FUNCTIONAL PARADIGM Listing 15: Finding factors . We note that sum and prod have a similar form.val even = hasfactor 2. Functions like hasfactor take their arguments one at a time. as shown in Listing 16.5.4.2.n) else []. val it = 15 : int . The trick of applying one argument at a time is called “currying”.sum (1 -. It may be helpful to consider the types involved: hasfactor : int -> int -> bool hasfactor 2 : int -> bool hasfactor 2 6 : bool The following brief discussion. It might appear that hasfactor has two arguments. defined as an infix operator. shows how functions can be A o used to build a programmer’s toolkit. val it = true : bool Listing 16: A function with one argument . val sum = fn : int list -> int .1 -.= fun : int * int -> int list . yields a new function. We start with a list generator. Applying the first argument. val even = fn : int -> bool.5] : int list The functions sum and prod in Listing 17 compute the sum and product.prod (1 -.infix --. val it = true : bool 34 its second argument. The declaration of hasfactor introduces two functions.fun prod [] = 1 = | prod (x::xs) = x * prod xs. as in hasfactor 2.fun (m -.5). All functions in SML have exactly one argument. . val -. val it = [1. after the American logician Haskell Curry.fun sum [] = 0 = | sum (x::xs) = x + sum xs. The functions here are for list manipulation. This suggests that we can abstract the Listing 17: Sums and products .fun hasfactor f n = n mod f = 0. val prod = fn : int list -> int .even 6. val it = 120 : int .hasfactor 3 9.5). which is a widely used example but not the only way in which a FPL can be used. . respectively. adapted from (˚ke Wikstr¨m 1987). val hasfactor fn : int -> int -> bool .

The most important language in the first category is still SML. preserving the ordering: . while Haskell appears to be on the way to becoming the dominant FPL for teaching and other applications.fun reduce f u [] = u = | reduce f u (x::xs) = f x (reduce f u xs). and a list. val sum = fn : int list -> list . val sort = fn : int list -> int list where insert is the function that inserts a number into an ordered list. . val reduce = fn : (’a -> ’b -> ’b) -> ’b -> ’a list -> ’b We can also define a sorting function as .5 THE FUNCTIONAL PARADIGM Listing 18: Using reduce . call by value).fun sum xs = reduce add 0 xs. The idea of processing a list by recursion has been captured in the definition of reduce. val prod = fn : int list -> list 35 common features into a function reduce that takes a binary function. the notation introduced by Backus (1978). . val insert = fn : int -> int list -> int list 5. a value for the empty list. Although Backus’s speech (and subsequent publication) turned many people in the direction of functional programming. We can use reduce to obtain one-line definitions of sum and prod.5 Other Functional Languages We have not discussed FP. and those that provide mainly “lazy evaluation”. FPLs have split into two streams: those that provide mainly “eager evaluation” (that is. following SASL. following LISP and Scheme.fun insert x:int [] = x::[] | insert x (y::ys) = if x <= y then x::y::ys else y::insert x ys. as in Listing 18.val sort = reduce insert nil. his ideas for the design of FPLs were not widely adopted.fun prod xs = reduce mul 1 xs. Since 1978.

. The basic concept of Simula 67 was to be “classes of objects”. people. “programming” means “object oriented programming”. as we would say today. . Nevertheless. there is a substantial portion of the software industry that has not adopted OOP. Simula originated in the Norwegian Computing Centre in 1962.1 Simula Many programs are computer simulations of the real world or a conceptual world. bank loans and algebraic expressions. Simula 67 was a general purpose programming language that incorporated the ideas of Simula I but put them into a more general context. Kristen Nygaard proposed a language for simulation to be developed by himself and Ole-Johan Dahl (1978). a process can be represented during program execution by multiple procedures each with its own Algol-style stacks. and so on. (Hoare 1968) Object Oriented Programming (OOP) is the currently dominant programming paradigm. leaving procedure definitions and data declarations. Deleting the procedure definitions and final statement from an Algol block gives a pure data record. The queue mechanism (a list linked by pointers) can be split off from the elements of the queue (objects such as trucks. we often need to construct within the computer a model of that aspect of the real or conceptual world to which the solution of the problem will be applied. if any. . Once recognized. the prefix concept could be used in any context where common features of a collection of classes could be abstracted in a prefixed block or.6 The Object Oriented Paradigm A fundamental feature of our understanding of the world is that we organize our experience as a number of distinct object (tables and chairs. which are central to discrete-event simulations. depending on the system being simulated). When we wish to solve a problem on a computer. Prefixing emerged from the study of queues. the fact that data and operations belong together and that most useful programming constructs contain both.) . buses. . . a superclass. Deleting the final statement from an Algol block. gives an abstract data object. The major innovation was “block prefixing” (Nygaard and Dahl 1978). The main lessons of Simula I were: the distinction between a program text and its execution. benefits it has to offer. For many people today. and there remains widespread misunderstanding about what OOP actually is and what. . Key insights were developed in 1965 following experience with Simula I: the purpose of the language was to model systems. page 489) has provided his own analysis of the role of blocks in Simula. 6. Writing such programs is easier if there is a correspondence between objects in the world and components of the program. a system is a collection of interacting processes. Dahl (1978. .

.6 THE OBJECT ORIENTED PARADIGM Listing 19: A Simula Class class Account (real balance). although this did not become evident for several years. This explains the term “prefixing” — the declaration of the child class is prefixed by the name of its parent. . Coroutines are typically implemented by adding two new statements to the language: suspend and resume. procedure Withdraw (real amount) balance := balance . Inheritance and subclasses introduced a new programming methodology. needed to support coroutines. All of these concepts are subsumed in the Simula class.. prefixing (now known as inheritance) that allows a specialized class to be derived from a general class without unnecessary code duplication. Note that the class is syntactically more like a procedure than a data object: it has an (optional) formal parameter and it must be called with an actual parameter.. with modernized syntax. classes that combine data and a collection of functions that operate on the data.amount. It differs from an ordinary Algol procedure in that its AR remains on the heap after the invocation. On the other hand. but it never achieved the recognition that it deserved. switches control to a scheduler which stores the value of the program counter somewhere and continues the execution of another function. To inherit from Account we write something like: Account class ChequeAccount (real amount). This was partly because there were few Simula compilers and the good compilers were expensive. end. Exercise 28. Listing 19 shows a simple Simula-style class.. MyAccount := new Account(1000). Adding a prefix mechanism to Algol blocks provides an abstraction mechanism (the class hierarchy). begin procedure Deposit (real amount) balance := balance + amount. a garbage collector that frees the programmer from the responsibility of deallocating storage. 37 Adding coroutine constructs to Algol blocks provides quasi-parallel programming capabilities. multiple stacks. Simula provides: coroutines that permit the simulation of concurrent processes. Before we use this class. Simula itself had an uneven history. A suspend statement. executed within a function. A resume statement has the effect of restarting a previously suspended function. we must declare a reference to it and then instantiate it on the heap: ref (Account) myAccount. It was used more in Europe than in North America. the legacy that Simula left is considerable: a new paradigm of programming.

Smalltalk requires metaclasses. In Smalltalk. Sussman and Steele wrote an interpreter for Actors that eventually became Scheme (see Section 5. Every object is an instance of a class (which must be an object). an early attempt at formalizing objects. Objects have their own memory (in terms of objects). using BASIC (!) as the implementation language (Kay 1996. one of Kay’s goals was to do the same for Smalltalk. such as integer and real. Since objects are “active” in the sense that they have methods. 2. It is interesting to note that Kay gave a talk about his ideas at MIT in November 1971. The “block” is an interesting innovation of Smalltalk. Smalltalk is a complete environment. and debug Smalltalk programs without ever leaving the Smalltalk environment. 3. In the Smalltalk statement . Kay (1996) was influenced by LISP. and by Simula. In turn.2). especially by its one-page metacircular interpreter. Principles 1–3 provide an “external” view and remained stable as Smalltalk evolved. and everything is an object. it differs from Simula in several ways: Simula distinguishes primitive types. Since a class object must belong to a class. there are no data primitives. The cross-fertilization between OOPL and FPL that occurred during these early days has. Objects communicate by sending and receiving messages (in terms of objects). The class holds the shared behaviour for its instances (in the form of objects in a program list). exactly one function is executing. page 534). A block is a sequence of statements that can be passed as a parameter to various control structures and behaves rather like an object. Principle 6 reveals Kay’s use of LISP as a model for Smalltalk — McCarthy had described LISP with a one-page meta-circular interpreter. “everything is an object”. Smalltalk was also strongly influenced by Simula. 6. you send a message to it. compile. Principles 4–6 provide an “internal” view and were revised following implementation experience. not continued. execute. To create a new instance of a class. In particular. To [evaluate] a program list. You can edit. However. sadly.2 Smalltalk Smalltalk originated with Alan Kay’s reflections on the future of computers and programming in the late 60s. Everything is an object. classes are objects in Smalltalk. Smalltalk was inspired by Simula and LISP. control is passed to the first object and the remainder is treated as its message. 1. 5. page 533). The first version of Smalltalk was implemented by Dan Ingalls in 1972. not just a compiler.6 THE OBJECT ORIENTED PARADIGM 38 At any one time. What features might a concurrent language provide that are not provided by coroutines? What additional complications are introduced by concurrency? 2 6. the talk inspired Carl Hewitt’s work on his Actor model. Smalltalk effectively eliminates passive data. it was based on six principles (Kay 1996. 4. from class types.

Blocks are closely related to closures (Section 5. Our ability to create single objects and to specify (constant) object “values” is compromised. blocks. Do these definitions imply an infinite regression? If so. This can lead to counter-intuitive interpretations of simple operations. However: . The first practical version of Smalltalk was developed in 1976 at Xerox Palo Alto Research Center (PARC). the message is timesRepeat:. all classes inherit directly or indirectly from the class Object. particularly under Smalltalk’s approach. there are no passive objects to be acted upon. coroutines. but no direct representations for the objects that are instantiated from classes. Discuss the following statements (Gelernter and Jagannathan 1990.] Under this view of things.3 CLU CLU is not usually considered an OOPL because it does not provide any mechanisms for incremental modification. Every entity is an active agent. 2. 1. a little program in itself. 2 Exercise 30. The following loop determines whether "Mika" occurs in the current object (assumed to be a collection): self do: ^false [:item | item = "Mika" ifTrue: [^true]]. The block [:x | E] corresponds to λx . In Smalltalk. A class whose instances are classes is called a metaclass. Algol 60 gives us a representation for procedures. there is an inheritance hierarchy (actually a tree) with the class Object as its root. Exercise 29. how could the infinite regression by avoided? Is there a class that is a member of itself? 2 6. The important features of Smalltalk are: everything is an object. and can be destructive to a natural sense of hierarchy. The component is passed to the block as a parameter.6 THE OBJECT ORIENTED PARADIGM 10 timesRepeat: [Transcript nextPutAll: ’ Hi!’] ’ 39 the receiver is 10. but no direct representation for a procedure activation. garbage collection. page 245). Hi!’] is the Blocks may have parameters. and [Transcript nextPutAll: parameter of the message. Simula and Smalltalk inherit this same limitation: they give us representations for classes. The second occurrence is its use. and therefore is a member of a class. an object has private data and public functions. [Data objects are replaced by program structures.2). The first occurrence of item introduces it as the name of the formal parameter for the block. every object is a member of a class. The class is itself an object. objects collaborate by exchanging “messages”. One technique for iteration in Smalltalk is to use a do: message which executes a block (its parameter) for each component of a collection. E. an object is an instance of a class.

associates operations with objects rather than types. Liskov and Zilles (1974) introduced CLU specifically to support this style of programming. some sets of objects. “generic types” (“templates” in C++). Simula: does not provide encapsulation: clients could directly access the variables.6 THE OBJECT ORIENTED PARADIGM The resulting programming methodology is object-oriented: programs are developed by thinking about the objects they manipulate and then inventing a modular structure based on these objects. (Liskov 1996. page 475) 40 Parnas (1972) introduced the idea of “information hiding”: a program module should have a public interface and a private implementation. a semantic description — that is. does not provide “type generators” or. or not built in to the language: I referred to the types as “abstract” because they are not provided directly by a programming languages but instead must be implemented by the user. pop() has no effect) but would not provide an implementation of these functions. a set of syntactic descriptions of the primitive functions. a sufficiently complete set of relationships that specify how the functions interact with each other. in fact. but a stack ADT respecting Martin’s definition would define the key property of a stack (the sequence push(). Each type of object is implemented by its own program module. 3. as we would say now. of a class. A stack ADT in CLU would have functions called push and pop to modify the stack. handles built-in and user-defined types differently — for example. a set of operations that may be performed on instances of the type. CLU’s computational model is similar to that of LISP: names are references to heap-allocated objects. The reasons given for using a heap include: . as well as the functions. (Martin 1986) The difference is that an ADT in CLU provides a particular implementation of the type (and. 2. An abstract type is abstract in the same way that a procedure is an abstract operation. and the effects of these operations. The word “abstract” in CLU means “user defined”. Although Simula influenced the design of CLU. it was seen as deficient in various ways. (Liskov 1996. An abstract data type (ADT) specifies a type. The stack-only model of Algol 60 was seen as too restrictive for a language supporting data abstractions. instances of user-defined classes are always heap-allocated. The implementation of an ADT provides the actual operations that have the specified effects and also prevents programmers from doing anything else. page 473) This is not a universally accepted definition. Many people use the term ADT in the following sense: An abstract data type is a system consisting of three constituents: 1. the implementation must be unique) whereas Martin’s definition requires only a specification.

member. A header that gives the name of the type being implemented (intset) and the names of the operations provided (create. This simplifies safe initialization. 3. The abstract type intset and the representation type array[int]. auxiliary functions that are not accessible to clients. x) then rep$addh(down(s). Copying. . The meaning of assignment is independent of type. such as intset. There is no need to worry about the semantics of copying an object. The statement x := E means simply that x becomes a reference (implemented as a pointer. garbage collection eliminates memory leaks and dangling pointers. the object continues to exist (there may be other references to it). The components of a cluster. insert. . Reference semantics requires garbage collection. Although garbage collection has a run-time overhead. size. introduced by the keyword rep. Implementations of the functions mentioned in the header and. Listing 20 shows an extract from a cluster that implements a set of integers (Liskov and Guttag 1986. if necessary. x) end end insert member = proc (s: cvt. When the variable goes out of scope. . Variable and object lifetimes are not tied. choose rep = array[int] create = proc () returns (cvt) return (rep$new()) end create insert = proc (s: intset. Stack allocation breaks encapsulation because the size of the object (which should be an implementation “secret”) must be known at the point of declaration. Variable declaration is separated from object creation. CLU provides special functions up. . space is allocated for a pointer. the function . of course) to E. page 63). are: 1.. Associated with the interface is an implementation that defines a representation for the type and provides bodies for the functions. An intset is represented by an array of integers. Furthermore. which converts the representation type to the abstract type. x) ≤ rep$high(s)) end member .. which converts the abstract type to the representation type. insert. referred to as rep. notorious sources of obscure errors. For example. 2. x: int) if ∼member(s.. if needed.6 THE OBJECT ORIENTED PARADIGM Listing 20: A CLU Cluster intset = cluster is create. should be provided by a member function of the class. are distinct. end intset 41 Declarations are easy to implement because. delete. x: int) returns (bool) return (getind(s. A definition of the representation type. for all types.). CLU is designed for programming with ADTs. and down. efficiency was not a primary goal of the CLU project.

notably type parameters). an object is mutable if its type has operations that change the object. CLU provides the keyword cvt as an abbreviation. If it is mutable. Clearly. distinction between the abstract type and the representation type. The important contributions of CLU include: modules (“clusters”). changes made via the reference x will be visible via the reference y. Whether this is desirable depends on your point of view. otherwise it is immutable. conversely. classes. CLU draws a distinction between mutable and immutable objects. For example. safe encapsulation. the fact that it is shared is undetectable by the program. If the object is immutable. After executing x: T = intset$create() y: T y := x the variables x and y refer to the same object. An object is mutable if its value can change during execution. The argument in favour of CLU is that the compiler will detect encapsulation and other errors. Whereas Simula provides tools for the programmer and supports a methodology. cvt converts the new instance of rep to intset before returning. and up) are needed simply to maintain the distinction between abstract and representation types. For both of these cases. In the function create above. the formal parameter s:cvt indicates that the client will provide an intset which will be treated in the function body as a rep. and in the function member. many functions create a value of the representation type but must return a value of the abstract type. All operations on abstract data in CLU contain the type of the operator explicitly. names are references. the distinction between mutable and immutable objects. down. In Simula. pages 19–20). Several keywords (rep. In CLU. cvt. on the operations provided by the type.6 THE OBJECT ORIENTED PARADIGM 42 insert has a parameter s of type intset which is converted to the representation type so that it can be treated as an array. resulting in significant simplification. exception handling. and records — are effectively made equivalent. three concepts — procedures. analysis of copying and comparison of ADTs. using the syntax type$operation. records. in particular. The cost is an increase in complexity. CLU provides the same tools and enforces the methodology. It often happens that the client provides an abstract argument that must immediately be converted to the representation type. integers are immutable but arrays are mutable (Liskov and Guttag 1986. The mutability of an object depends on its type and. just as C programmers use both cc (the C compiler) and lint (the C style checker)? The designers of CLU advocate defensive programming : . and clusters are three different things. But is it the task of a compiler to prevent the programmer doing things that might be completely safe? Or should this role be delegated to a style checker. generic clusters (a cluster may have parameters. procedures. not values.

second.. emphasizes the stack rather than the heap. Eiffel embodies a “certain idea” of software construction: the belief that it is possible to treat this task as a serious engineering enterprise. object names are references. and the specification language Z. Stroustrup decided that the new language would be adopted only if it was compatible with C. Eiffel also provides “expanded types” whose instances are named directly. Sakkinen 1992. Do you agree that defensive programming is a better habit than the alternative suggested by Liskov and Guttag? Can you propose an alternative strategy? 2 6. Ada.6 THE OBJECT ORIENTED PARADIGM Of course. Joyner 1992). however. or to use them only while debugging. 2 6. . CLU. . This is generally an unwise practice. scientifically specified. reusable components. at Cambridge University using Simula convinced him that object orientation was the correct approach but that efficiency was essential for acceptance. and exception handling. . Like some other OOPLs. provides multiple inheritance. C++ is the result of two major design decisions: first. and assertions. and it is tempting not to bother with the checks.e. parameters of functions] are in the permitted subset of the domain takes time. not a “pure” OO language. a language that supports both imperative and OO programming). Stroustrup’s experience of completing a Ph. genericity (in the form of “templates”). C++: is almost a superset of C (that is.5 Eiffel Software Engineering was a key objective in the design of Eiffel. C++ is widely used but has been sharply criticized (Sakkinen 1988. Exercise 32. .e. that it writing each procedure to defend itself against errors. Explain why C++ is the most widely-used OOPL despite its technical flaws. communicating on the basis of clearly defined contracts and organized in systematic multi-criteria classifications.. The task assigned to Stroustrup was to develop a new systems PL that would replace C.4 C++ C++ was developed at Bell Labs by Bjarne Stroustrup (1994). (Meyer 1992) Eiffel borrows from Simula 67. it provides multiple inheritance. whose goal is to yield quality software through the careful production and continuous development of parameterizable.D. . checking whether inputs [i. . (Liskov and Guttag 1986. Alphard. It is better to develop the habit of defensive programming. Algol W. . Defensive programming makes it easier to debug programs. and suppress them during production. It is notable for its strong typing. is a hybrid language (i. there are only a few C constructs that are not accepted by a C++ compiler). page 100) 43 Exercise 31. an unusual exception handling mechanism. does not provide garbage collection. By default. although both stack and heap allocation is provided.

x ensure abs(Result * Result / x . The only reasonable possibility is some kind of exception. procedure variables. -. or to add another parameter to indicate success/failure.0) √ return . In particular. . Testing arguments adds overhead to the program.1 Programming by Contract The problem with writing a function to compute square roots is that it is not clear what to do if the argument provided by the caller is negative. The require/ensure clauses constitute a contract between the function and the caller. is called defensive programming (Section 6. The solution adopted in Listing 21 is to allow for the possibility that the argument might be negative. provides multiple inheritance and repeated inheritance. enumerations.6 THE OBJECT ORIENTED PARADIGM Listing 21: Finding a square root double sqrt (double x) { if (x ≥ 0. break. or continue statements. goto. supports “programming by contract” with assertions.1. 6. . Eiffel: is strictly OO: all functions are defined as methods in classes. or pointer arithmetic. because programmers will rarely call sqrt with a negative argument. . .3). applied throughout a software system. . In words: . or to send a message to the console (there may not be one). This approach. Most of the time spent testing is wasted. provides generic classes.5. it is undesirable to return a funny value such as −999. . is hard to define. // x else ?? } Listing 22: A contract for square roots sqrt (x: real): real is require x ≥ 0. The main features of Eiffel are as follows. Meyer’s solution is to write sqrt as shown in Listing 22. indicated by “??” in Listing 21. has an unusual exception handling mechanism.0 √ Result := . may provide garbage collection. The failure action.999.0) ≤ 1e-6 end 44 Eiffel does not have: global variables. casts. Input/output is defined by libraries rather than being built into the language. subranges.

45 If the actual parameter supplied. Eiffel achieves the subcontract specifications by requiring the programmer to define Rc ≡ Rp ∨ · · · Ec ≡ Ep ∧ · · · . or whatever. is positive. These contracts respect the Eiffel requirements: the contract offered by the subcontractor has a weaker requirement (150 mk is less than 200 mk) but promises more (a dog is more specific than an animal). as shown in Listing 23.) Require and ensure clauses are a useful form of documentation. the contract does not constrain the function in any way at all: it can return -999. the result returned will be approximately √ x. terminate execution.. Thus the contractor can use the subcontractor when a dog is required and make a profit of 50 mk... We must have Rp ⇒ Rc and Ec ⇒ Ep . I will send you an animal”. Programs are not cluttered with tests for conditions that are unlikely to arise. class Child inherit Parent feature f() is require Rc ensure Ec . A pet supplier offers the following contract: “if you send at least 200 mk. (Hoare considers this policy to be analogous to wearing your life jacket during on-shore training but leaving it behind when you go to sea. The caller therefore has a responsibility to ensure that the argument is valid. If the argument supplied is negative.. The require conditions can be checked dynamically during testing and (perhaps) disabled during production runs. x. The following analogy explains this reversal. Functions in a child class must provide a contract at least as strong as that of the corresponding function in the parent class.999 or any other number.6 THE OBJECT ORIENTED PARADIGM Listing 23: Eiffel contracts class Parent feature f() is require Rp ensure Ep end . Note the directions of the implications: the ensure clauses are “covariant” but the require clauses are “contravariant”.. I will send you a dog”. The pet supplier has a subcontractor who offers the following contract: “if you send me at least 150 mk. The advantages of this approach include: Many tests become unnecessary. they appear in Eiffel interfaces..

A class invariant is a predicate over the variables of an instance of the class. Repeated inheritance can be used to solve various problems that appear in OOP.. inherited once but by two paths. However: this does not seem to be done much in practice. it is difficult in some languages to provide collections with more than one iteration sequence. The features of HomeBusiness include: address. In addition to require and ensure clauses. . residenceValue.. businessValue. inherited from value in class House. Eiffel has provision for writing class invariants. complex assertions increase run-time overhead.6 THE OBJECT ORIENTED PARADIGM Listing 24: Repeated inheritance in Eiffel class House feature address: String value: Money end class Residence inherit House rename value as residenceValue end class Business inherit House rename value as businessValue end class HomeBusiness inherit Residence Business . In Eiffel. Eiffel programmers are not obliged to write assertions. it contains one more element”. It must be true when the object is created and after each function of the class has executed. leading to a false sense of confidence in the correctness of the program. it is sometimes difficult to write assertions that make non-trivial claims about the objects. increasing the incentive to disable checking. For example. Typical contracts say things like: “after you have added an element to this collection. it is possible in principle to say things like: “this structure is a heap (in the sense of heap sort)”. end 46 The ∨ ensures that the child’s requirement is weaker than the parent’s requirement. C++ has a similar mechanism. page169). Since assertions may contain function calls. 6.5. a complex assertion might itself contain errors. but it applies to entire classes (via the virtual mechanism) rather than to individual attributes of classes. more than one sequence can be obtained by repeated inheritance of the successor function.2 Repeated Inheritance Listing 24 shows a collection of classes (Meyer 1992. inherited from value in class House. and the ∧ ensures that the child’s commitment is stronger than the parent’s commitment. In practice. but it is considered good Eiffel “style” to include them..

Since any computer that has a Java byte code interpreter can execute Java programs.6 Java Java (Arnold and Gosling 1998) is an OOPL introduced by Sun Microsystems.initially false do if not triedFirst then firstmethod else secondmethod end rescue if not triedFirst then triedFirst := true retry else restoreInvariant -. Why do you think expanded types were introduced? Was the decision to introduce them wise? 2 6. Meyer introduced expanded types. but Java is simpler in many ways than C++. Java is compiled to byte codes that are interpreted. A return from the rescue clause indicate that the function has failed. The portability of Java is exploited in network programming: Java bytes can be transmitted across a network and executed by any processor with an interpreter. a rescue clause may perform some cleaning-up actions and then invoke retry to attempt the calculation again. After Eiffel had been used for a while. An instance of an expanded type is an object that has a name (value semantics). The function in Listing 25 illustrates the idea.3 Exception Handling 47 An Eiffel function must either fulfill its contract or report failure. more conventional. Early versions of Eiffel had a reference semantics (variable names denoted references to objects). . this clause is invoked if an operation within the function reports failure. Expanded types introduce various irregularities into the language.6 THE OBJECT ORIENTED PARADIGM Listing 25: Exceptions in Eiffel tryIt is local triedFirst: Boolean -.report failure end end 6. It is not obvious that there are many circumstances in which it makes sense to “retry” a function. Java is highly portable. Its syntax bears some relationship to that of C++.5. Key features of Java include the following. However. Exercise 33. The mechanism seems harder to use than other. If a function contains a rescue clause. because they do not have the same properties as ordinary types. exception handling mechanisms.

Listing 26 shows a couple of simple examples of interfaces. are not objects in Java. is a compile-time entity whose run-time instances are objects. Consequently. Java provides wrapper classes.1 Portability Compiling to byte codes is an implementation mechanism and. Java provides interfaces with multiple inheritance. of course. Primitive values. such as int. In addition to classes. as such. in which program statements are compiled immediately before execution. Thus an interface has no instances. 6. but introduces only abstract methods and constants. The portability of Java has been a significant factor in the rapid spread of its popularity. For some applications.6. The byte codes are checked by the interpreter and have limited functionality.6. The first interface ensures that instances of a class can be compared. Interfaces provide a way of describing and factoring the behaviour of classes. is not strongly relevant to this course. the class hierarchy is a rooted tree but the interface hierarchy is a directed acyclic graph. A class may implement an interface by providing definitions for each of the methods declared in the interface. Java has a class hierarchy with class Object at the root and provides single inheritance of classes. One interesting technique is “just in time” compilation. However. Java has an exception handling mechanism. Java provides garbage collection. particularly for Web programming. such as simple Web “applets”.) A Java class can inherit from at most one parent class but it may inherit from several interfaces provided. Consequently. the inefficiency is not important. parts of the program that are not needed during a particular run (this may be a significant fraction of a complex program) are not compiled. (The class may also make use of the values of the constants declared in the interface. An interface declaration is similar to a class declaration. we need a way of sorting them as well: this requirement is specified by the second interface. that it implements all of them. for each primitive type. (In fact. Java byte codes do not have the potential to penetrate system security in the way that a binary executable (or even a MS-Word macro) can.2 Interfaces A Java class.6 THE OBJECT ORIENTED PARADIGM 48 Java offers security . Java provides concurrency in the form of threads. all Java classes inherit the function equals from class Object that can be redefined for comparison in a particular class. 6. A variable name in Java is a reference to an object. More efficient implementations are promised. The technique is quite old — Pascal P achieved portability in the same way during the mid-seventies — and has the disadvantage of inefficiency: Java programs are typically an order of magnitude slower than C++ programs with the same functionality. Class Widget is required to implement equalTO and lessThan: class Widget implements Ordered . such as Integer. as usual in OOP.) If we want to store instances of a class in an ordered set.

Listing 27 shows the declaration of an exception for division by zero. The argument of throw is an exception. A try statement may use one or more catch statements to handle exceptions of various types. as shown in Listing 28 Next. The try statement is used to attempt an operation and handle any exceptions that it raises. } Listing 27: Declaring a Java exception class public class DivideByZero extends Exception { DivideByZero() { super("Division by zero").. The next step is to declare another exception for negative square roots. as shown in Listing 30. } 6.. We will call such instances “exceptions”. as shown in Listing 29. .6. // Return True if ‘this’ object precedes ‘other’ object in the ordering. Finally. Instances of a subclass of class Exception are used to convey information about what has gone wrong. The following simple example indicates the way in which exceptions might be used.3 Exception Handling The principal components of exception handling in Java are as follows: There is a class hierarchy rooted at class Exception.6 THE OBJECT ORIENTED PARADIGM Listing 26: Interfaces 49 interface Comparable { Boolean equalTo (Comparable other). // Return True if ‘this’ and ‘other’ objects are equal. we write some code that tries to perform the computation.. The throw statement is used to signal the fact that an exception has occurred. we suppose that either of these problems may occur in a particular computation. } interface Ordered extends Comparable { Boolean lessThan (Ordered other). } } { .

. } Listing 30: Using the exceptions { try { bigCalculation() } catch (DivideByZero) { System.6 THE OBJECT ORIENTED PARADIGM 50 Listing 28: Another Java exception class public class NegativeSquareRoot extends Exception { public float value. . } } Listing 29: Throwing exceptions public void bigCalculation () throws DivideByZero..println("Oops! divided by zero.. NegativeSquareRoot { . . if (. if (..) throw new NegativeSquareRoot(x). ... NegativeSquareRoot(float badValue) { super("Square root with negative argument"). .. . value = badValue.. .").out. } catch (NegativeSquareRoot n) { System.) throw new DivideByZero().. . .out.println("Argument for square root was " + n). } } } .

Exercise 34. The concurrency mechanism is insecure. “game”. Antero Taivalsaari (1993) has given a thorough account of the motivation and design of his language.6. it is based on (Taivalsaari 1993. for this reason. Prototypes provide an alternative to classes.7 Kevo All of the OOPLs previously described in this section are class-based languages. Threads are defined by a class in that standard library. In a class-based language. The modified object need not be self-contained. during execution. The synchronization methods provided by Java (based on the early concepts of semaphores and monitors) are out of date and do not benefit from more recent research in this area. Listing 31 shows the introduction of a window object. The problem with this approach is that there are many classes which people understand intuitively but which are not easily defined in taxonomic terms. Some of its methods will probably be the same as those of the original object. page 172) points out that class-based OOPLs. Brinch Hansen (1999) argues that Java’s concurrency mechanisms are unsafe and that such mechanisms must be defined in the base language and checked by the compiler. family of OOPLs that use prototypes rather than classes.6 THE OBJECT ORIENTED PARADIGM 6. which is itself an object. Identical copies of a prototype — as many as needed — are created by cloning . Although there are several prototype-based OOPLs. declares a new object with no properties. however. The first line.) There is another. instances of these classes are created and become the objects of the system. Byte codes provide portability. Alternatively. smaller. Kevo. etc. each new type of object is introduced by defining a prototype or exemplar . “chair”. because delegation is not the only possible mechanism for inheritance with prototypes. REF Window. classes are run-time objects. prototype-based languages are sometimes called delegation languages. but Smalltalk is nevertheless a class-based language. not provided separately in a library. Common examples include “book”. Java threads have been criticized on (at least) two grounds. pages 187–188). and these methods can be delegated to the original object rather than replicated in the new object. the programmer defines one or more classes and. (In Smalltalk. The second . This example illustrates how new objects are introduced in Kevo. Example 16: Objects in Kevo. starting with Simula. In a prototype-based OOPL. and use the resulting object as a prototype for another collection of identical objects. Delegation thus plays the role of inheritance in a prototypebased language and. Can you suggest any other advantages of using byte codes? 2 6. are based on an Aristotelian view in which the world is seen as a collection of objects with well-defined properties arranged [according] to a hierarchical taxonomy of concepts. Taivalsaari (1993. modify it in some way. we discuss only one of them here. This is misleading.4 Concurrency 51 Java provides concurrency in the form of threads. we can clone a prototype.

drawFrame self. . It declares a new object. ENDADDS. 2 6.drawContents. The properties of rect are obtained from the prototype Rectangle. METHOD drawContents . METHOD refresh self. The properties of contents are left unspecified in this example. with initial value "Anonymous".new → rect VAR contents METHOD drawFrame . . developed in Denmark. Listing 32 shows how to add a title to a window. . .Rectangle.8 Other OOPLs The OOPLs listed below are interesting. title. . Beta is a descendant of Simula. Blue (K¨lling 1999) is a language and environment designed for teaching OOP. but lack of time precludes further discussion of them. Blue. .. . properties are added to the window using the module operation ADDS.new → TitleWindow TitleWindow ADDS VAR title "Anonymous" → title METHOD drawFrame . ENDADDS. Then it adds a new variable. . but the third. It differs in many respects from “mainstream” OOPLs. In the next block of code. refresh. three new methods are added to Window.6 THE OBJECT ORIENTED PARADIGM Listing 31: Object Window REF Window Object. . . Beta. Window receives the basic printing and creation operations defined for Object. The environment is interesting in that users work directly with “objects” rather than program text and generated output. and provides a new method drawFrame that overrides Window.. In Kevo terminology. Finally.. The first two are left undefined here. Listing 32: Object Title Window REF TitleWindow Window. 52 line defines Window as a clone of Object.drawFrame and draws a frame with a title. The window has two components: rect and contents. draws the window frame first and then the contents.new → Window Window ADDS VAR rect Prototypes. The language o was influenced to some extent by Dee (Grogono 1991b). TitleWindow with Window as a prototype.

For example. Section 12 contains a more detailed review of issues in OOP. feature of OOP is that the call graph is created and modified during execution. It has a number of interesting features. Exercise 35. Can you account for the slow acceptance of OOPLs by professional programmers? 2 . given that Self is considerably more flexible than C++. The same identifier can be used in various contexts to name related functions. This is an impressive achievement. The Common LISP Object System is an extension to LISP that provides OOP.9 Evaluation of OOP OOP provides a way of building programs by incremental modification. in which the call graph can be statically inferred from the program text. Considerable effort has been put into efficient implementation. Simula is 33 years old.6 THE OBJECT ORIENTED PARADIGM 53 CLOS. Programs can often be extended by adding new code rather than altering existing code. and some of them conflict. all objects can respond to the message “print yourself”. However. The mechanism for incremental modification without altering existing code is inheritance. including “multi-methods” — the choice of a function is based on the class of all of its arguments rather than its first (possibly implicit) argument. CLOS also provides “before” and “after” methods — code defined in a superclass that is executed before or after the invocation of the function in a class. there may be conflicts between inheritance and encapsulation. However. to the extent that Self programs run at up to half of the speed of equivalent C++ programs. there are several different ways in which inheritance can be defined and used. Class-based OOPLs can be designed so as to support information hiding (encapsulation) — the separation of interface and implementation. Self is the perhaps the best-known prototype language. but rarely noted. This is in contrast to procedural languages. 6. An interesting. Self.

The first logic PL was Prolog. If the query contains a logical variable — an identifier that starts with an upper case letter — Prolog attempts to find a value of the variable that makes the query true. bob). etc. Prolog responds to simple queries about facts that it has been told with “yes” and “no”. denoted by | in number theory. (This means that there is no effective procedure that determines whether a given predicate is true. reports that. then backtracks to find another solution. 2.2) of a logic PL is some form of mathematical logic. pat). . and so on until all the choices have been explored or the user has had enough. parent(tom. and to find as many answers as required. bob). parent(pat. and 6 | 6.1 Prolog The computational model (see Section 9. liz). parent(bob. Listing 33: A Family parent(pam.to indicate that it is ready to accept a query. Prolog is interactive. similarly for the other facts. Propositional calculus is too weak because it does not have variables.7 Backtracking Languages The PLs that we discuss in this section differ in significant ways. 12. This Bob’s parents are Pam and Tom. Predicate calculus is too strong because it is undecidable. parent(tom. but they have an important feature in common: they are designed to solve problems with multiple answers. The approach that has been most successful. 7 } divisors(24) = { 1. Note that. is to produce solutions one at a time. ann). Consider the relation “divides”. 7. 3. Any integer greater than 1 has at least two divisors (itself and 1) and possible others. it prompts with ?. 1 | 6. parent(bob. reports that solution or uses it in some way. All Prolog textbooks start with facts about someone’s family: see Listing 33. The discussion in this section is based on (Bratko 1990). bob) as “Pam is the parent of Bob”. 2. The functional analog of the divides relation is the set-returning function divisors: divisors(6) = { 1. 4. jim). we cannot write Pam. since constants in Prolog start with a lower case letter. In mathematics. The program runs until it finds the first solution. however.) Practical logic PLs are based on a restricted form of predicate calculus that has a decision procedure. introduced by Colmerauer (1973) and Kowalski (1974). as in Listing 34. 6. 6 } divisors(7) = { 1. 2 | 6. We read parent(pam. a many-valued expression can be represented as a relation or as a function returning a set. 3. We can express facts in Prolog as predicates with constant arguments. 3 | 6. Bob. For example. 8. 24 } We could define functions that return sets in a FPL or we could design a language that works directly with relations.

parent(pam. It is clear that different(X. no If it succeeds. P = pat G = bob The comma in this query corresponds to conjunction (“and”): the responses to the query are bindings that make all of the terms valid simultaneously.parent(P. Testing this rule reveals a problem. The rule for “grandparent” is “G is a grandparent of C if G is a parent of P and P is a parent of C”. Y) :. X = ann X = pat We may not expect the second response. Disjunction (“or”) is provided by multiple facts or rules: in the example above. Y) is satisfied by the bindings P = bob. Y). jim). We could write this rule for siblings: sibling(X. Y) :. liz). C). C). this becomes: ?. parent(G. Y). it replies with the binding. Prolog will find them all. yes ?.parent(P.7 BACKTRACKING LANGUAGES Listing 34: Prolog queries ?. parent(P. X = bob 55 If there is more than one binding that satisfies the query. C = ann C = pat Consider the problem of finding Jim’s grandparents. ?.parent(tom. Here we assume that the implementation returns all values without further prompting. In Prolog.parent(P. Bob is the parent of C is true if C is Ann or C is Pat. we would have to require that X and Y have different values: sibling(X. and Y = pat. We can expression the “grandparent” relation by writing a rule and adding it to the collection of facts (which becomes a collection of facts and rules).parent(bob. C) :. X). X). To correct this rule. X). because it would not be feasible to list every true instantiation of it as a fact. (The exact mechanism depends on the implementation. jim). In logic. In Prolog: grandparent(G. P). X = pat. X). Y) must be built into Prolog somehow. parent(P. Siblings are people who have the same parents.) ?. Some implementations require the user to ask for more results. X). Y). .parent(G. But Prolog simply notes that the predicate parent(P. P). different(X. parent(P. ?.sibling(pat.parent(tom. because we do not consider Pat to be a sibling of herself. we can express “G is a grandparent of Jim” in the following form: “there is a person P such that P is a parent of Jim and there is a person G such that G is a parent of P”. parent(P.

ancestor(pam. look in the data base for the fact parent(pam. try the second rule with A = pam and X = jim. bob). yes We can read a Prolog program in two ways. P) and parent(P. parent(bob. pat) parent(pat.Y. X). The goal ancestor(pam. ancestor(A. The goal is now ancestor(pam. 3. The proof is shown in Figure 4. The goal is now ancestor(pam. In the procedure reading. For example. X) :. P). We confirm the definition by testing: ?. 5. The procedural steps for this example are as follows. a person A is an ancestor of a person X if either A is a parent of X or A is an ancestor of a parent P of X: ancestor(A.Min) is satisfied if Min is the minimum of X and Y. jim). pat) ancestor(pam. bob) ancestor(pam. we can tell from the program that backtracking will be useless. 2. 4. X) :. The goal expands to the subgoals ancestor(pam. parent(P. Declaratively. jim) defines a sequence of fact-searches and rule-applications that establish (or fail to establish) the goal. jim). This gives two new subgoals: ancestor(pam. Sometimes. Since this search fails.7 BACKTRACKING LANGUAGES 56 parent(pam. Prolog performs a depth-first search of this tree. ancestor(pam. In the declarative reading. X). jim).ancestor(pam. Using the first rule for ancestor. jim) Prolog allows rules to be recursive: a predicate name that appears on the left side of a rule may also appear on the right side. P) and parent(P. bob) ancestor(pam. Read procedurally . The second of these subgoals is satisfied by P = bob from the database. bob) is satisfied by applying the first rule with the known fact parent(pam. jim) Figure 4: Proof of ancestor(pam. We define rules for the cases X ≤ Y and X > Y . jim) is a statement and Prolog’s task is to prove that it is true. pat). the predicate minimum(X.ancestor(A. Prolog finds multiple results simply because they are there.parent(A. multiple results are obtained by backtracking . The choice points define a tree: the root of the tree is the starting point of the program (the main goal) and each leaf of the tree represents either success (the goal is satisfied with the chosen bindings) or failure (the goal cannot be satisfied with these bindings). Read declaratively . which uses P the convention that Q means “from P infer Q”. 1. bob). jim) . The second of these subgoals is satisfied by P = pat from the database. pat). Every point in the program at which there is more than one choice of a variable binding is called a choice point.

7 BACKTRACKING LANGUAGES Program Meaning 57 p :. assuming that the entire database is included. Since the cut has been passed.b. The query different(Ann. different(X.a. X) with the binding X = Tom and succeeds. !. We account for this by saying that Prolog assumes a closed world . different(X. Tom) matches different(X. X) :. Tom). proving not(P) means “P cannot be proved” which means “P cannot be inferred from the facts and rules in the database”. p :.b. Y. X) :. The introduction of the cut operation has an interesting consequence. Y) :. and also some incorrect responses. p:. fail. and the query fails. Y) :. and consider the following declarations and queries. p ⇐⇒ c ∨ (a ∧ b) Figure 5: Effect of cuts minimum(X. yes The query different(Tom. we should be sceptical about positive results obtained from Prolog programs that use not. Recall the predicate different introduced above to distinguish siblings. Tom) does not match different(X.!. no ?. It is easy to see that. it is important to understand what negation in Prolog means. different(X. But it has made this inference only because the database has no information about penguins. The Prolog constant fail then reports failure. we do not want to backtrack to the other. we can freely change the order of goals and clauses.b. Y.different(Tom. In Prolog.c.c. The response . Now consider negation.P. If the program has cuts. p ⇐⇒ (a ∧ b) ∨ c p :. p ⇐⇒ (a ∧ b) ∨ (∼a ∧ c) p :. true. Tom). X) but it does match the second clause.X > Y. If a Prolog program has no cuts. fail. However. Y.a.!.different(Ann. ?.X > Y. Prolog can make inferences from the “closed world” consisting of the facts and rules in its database.c. minimum(X. Consequently. We can tell Prolog not to backtrack by writing “!”. This idea can be used to define negation in Prolog: not (P) :. Y). !. minimum(X. this is no longer true. p :.a. !. pronounced “cut”. Y. The program has stated correctly that crows fly and penguins do not fly. X) :. no backtracking occurs. but they do not affect its declarative meaning. Consider Listing 35.X ≤ Y. if one of these rules succeeds. Y) and therefore succeeds. These changes may affect the efficiency of the program. The same program can produce an unlimited number of (apparently) correct responses.!. Figure 5 shows an example of the use of cut and its effect on the meaning of a program. because it is certain to fail. minimum(X.X ≤ Y.

flies(crow). . Y )) B ≡ left(tree(b. . Z)) and let σ = (X = b. Y )) B ≡ left(tree(b. we can define a most general unifier which is unique. Suppose that we have two terms A and B built up from constants and variables. .to denote constants. The “matching” process is called unification.flies(crow).flies(brick). If we changed A and B above to A ≡ left(tree(X. The unification algorithm contains a test called the occurs check that is used to reject a substitution of the form X = f (X) in which a variable is bound to a formula that contains the variable. using upper case letters X. . Then σA = σB = left(tree(b. no 58 ?. tree(a. You can find out whether a particular version of Prolog implements the occurs check by trying the following query: . yes ?. A substitution is a binding of variable names to values. The Prolog system proceeds top-down. b.flies(goose).not human(peter). It attempts to match the entire goal to one of the rules and. yes means no more than “the fact that Peter is human cannot be inferred from the database”. no ?. Y )) and σ is a unifier of A and B. no ?.to denote variables and lower case letters a. applies the same idea to the parts of the matched formulas. flies(blackbird). . . However. no ?. Y. ?. In the following example we follow the Prolog convention. Z = tree(a. Note that the unifier is not necessarily unique. Y ) they would not unify.flies(elephant).flies(penguin). tree(a. tree(a. Y )) be a substitution. Let A and B be the terms A ≡ left(tree(X. having found a match.7 BACKTRACKING LANGUAGES Listing 35: Who can fly? flies(albatross). A unifier of A and B is a substitution that makes the terms identical.

called SLD resolution.female(X). good(joes diner). Unfortunately. reasonable(Restaurant) : not expensive(Restaurant). female(X) :. A Prolog program apparently has a straightforward interpretation as a statement in logic. conjunction is commutative (P ∧ Q ≡ Q ∧ P ). SLD stands for “S electing a literal. the occurs check is not performed.female(X). the order is significant. female(X) :. using a Linear strategy. although problems are rare in practice. it follows that disjunction in Prolog does not commute. most Prolog systems are technically unsound. If. . the same query leads to endless applications of the second rule. . 2 The important features of Prolog include: .7 BACKTRACKING LANGUAGES Listing 36: Restaurants good(les halles). good(X). Prolog syntax corresponds to a restricted form of first-order predicate calculus called clausal form logic. restricted to Definite clauses”. 2 Exercise 36. as is more likely. X = joes diner. ?. If a formula is false. jane But if we change the order of the rules. Clausal form logic is semi-decidable: there is an algorithm that will find a proof for any formula that is true in the logic. In the context of the rules wife(jane).wife(X). The proof technique. The proof of validity of SLD resolution assumes that unification is implemented with the occurs check. Explain why commutativity fails in this program. ?. In logic. reasonable(X). Since the logical interpretation of a rule sequence is disjunction. we obtain a valid answer to a query: ?. the occurs check is implemented. It is not practical to use the full predicate calculus as a basis for a PL because it is undecidable. Listing 36 shows the results of two queries about restaurants. female(X) :.reasonable(X).wife(X). female(X) :. expensive(les halles).X = f(X). the response will be X = f(f(f(f( .female(Y). . For example. If the reply is “no”. no 59 ?. since Prolog works through the rules in the order in which they are written. the occurs check is expensive to implement and most Prolog systems omit it. but the interpretation is slightly misleading.good(X). as in wife(jane). was introduced by Robinson (1965). Consequently. the algorithm may fail after a finite time or may loop forever. Example 17: Failure of commutativity.

7 BACKTRACKING LANGUAGES

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Prolog is based on a mathematical model (clausal form logic with SLD resolution). “Pure” Prolog programs, which fully respect the logical model, can be written but are often inefficient. In order to write efficient programs, a Prolog programmer must be able to read programs both declaratively (to check the logic) and procedurally (to ensure efficiency). Prolog implementations introduce various optimizations (the cut, omitting the occurs check) that improve the performance of programs but compromise the mathematical model. Prolog has garbage collection.

7.2

Alma-0

One of the themes of this course is the investigation of ways in which different paradigms of programming can be combined. The PL Alma-0 takes as its starting point a simple imperative language, Modula–2 (Wirth 1982), and adds a number of features derived from logic programming to it. The result is a simple but highly expressive language. Some features of Modula–2 are omitted (the CARDINAL type; sets; variant records; open array parameters; procedure types; pointer types; the CASE, WITH, LOOP, and EXIT statements; nested procedures; modules). They are replaced by nine new features, described below. This section is based on Apt et al. (1998). BES. Boolean expressions may be used as statements. The expression is evaluated. If its value is TRUE, the computation succeeds and the program continues as usual. If the value of the expression is FALSE, the computation fails. However, this does not mean that the program stops: instead, control returns to the nearest preceding choice point and resumes with a new choice. Example 18: Ordering 1. If the array a is ordered, the following statement succeeds. Otherwise, it fails; the loop exits, and i has the smallest value for which the condition is FALSE. FOR i := 1 to n - 1 DO a[i] <= a[i+1] END 2 SBE. A statement sequence may be used as a boolean expression. If the computation of a sequence of statements succeeds, it is considered equivalent to a boolean expression with value TRUE. If the computation fails, it is considered equivalent to a boolean expression with value FALSE. Example 19: Ordering 2. The following sequence decides whether a precedes b in the lexicographic ordering. The FOR statement finds the first position at which the arrays differ. If they are equal, the entire sequence fails. If there is a difference at position i, the sequence succeeds iff a[i] < b[i]. NOT FOR i :=1 TO n DO a[i] = b[i] END; a[i] < b[i] 2 EITHER–ORELSE. The construct EITHER-ORELSE is added to the language to permit backtracking. An EITHER statement has the form EITHER <seq> ORELSE <seq> . . . .ORELSE <seq> END

7 BACKTRACKING LANGUAGES Listing 37: Creating choice points EITHER y := x ORELSE x > 0; y := -x END; x := x + b; y < 0 Listing 38: Pattern matching SOME i := 0 TO n - m DO FOR j := 0 to m - 1 DO s[i+j] = p[j] END END

61

Computation of an EITHER statement starts by evaluating the first sequence. If it succeeds, computation continues at the statement following END. If this computation subsequently fails, control returns to the second sequence in the EITHER statement, with the program in the same state as it was when the EITHER statement was entered. Each sequence is tried in turn in this way, until one succeeds or the last one fails. Example 20: Choice points. Assume that the sequence shown in Listing 37 is entered with x = a > 0. The sequence of events is as follows: The assignment y := x assigns a to y. This sequence succeeds and transfers control to x := x + b. The assignment x := x + b assigns a + b to x. The test y < 0 fails because y = a > 0. The original value of x is restored. The test x > 0 succeeds because x = a > 0, and y receives the value −a. The final sequence is performed and succeeds, leaving x = a + b and y = −a. 2 SOME. The SOME statement permits the construction of statements that work like EITHER statements but have a variable number of ORELSE clauses. The statement SOME i := 1 TO n DO <seq> END is equivalent to EITHER i := 1; <seq> ORELSE SOME i := 2 TO n DO <seq> END Example 21: Pattern matching. Suppose that we have two arrays of characters: a pattern p[0..m-1] and a string s[0..n-1]. The sequence shown in Listing 38 sets i to the first occurrence of p in s, or fails if there is no match. 2 COMMIT. The COMMIT statement provides a way of restricting backtracking. (It is similar to the cut in Prolog.) The statement

7 BACKTRACKING LANGUAGES Listing 39: Checking the order COMMIT SOME i := 1 TO n DO a[i] <> b[i] END END; a[i] < b[i]

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COMMIT <seq> END evaluates the statement sequence <seq>; if seq succeeds (possibly by backtracking), all of the choice points created during its evaluation are removed. Example 22: Ordering 3. Listing 39 shows another way of checking lexicographic ordering. With the COMMIT, this sequence yields that value of a[i] < b[i] for the smallest i such that a[i] <> b[i]. Without the COMMIT, it succeeds if a[i] < b[i] is TRUE for some value of i such that a[i] <> b[i]. 2 FORALL. The FORALL statement provides for the exploration of all choice points generated by a statement sequence. The statement FORALL <seq1> DO <seq2> END evaluates <seq1> and then <seq2>. If <seq1> generates choice points, control backtracks through these, even if the original sequence succeeded. Whenever <seq2> succeeds, its choice points are removed (that is, there is an implicit COMMIT around <seq2>). Example 23: Matching. Suppose we enclose the pattern matching code above in a function Match. The following sequence finds the number of times that p occurs in s. count := 0; FORALL k := Match(p, s) DO count := count + 1 END; 2 EQ. Variables in Alma-0 start life as uninitialized values. After a value has been assigned to a variable, it ceases to be uninitialized and becomes initialized . Expressions containing uninitialized values are allowed, but they do not have values. For example, the comparison s = t is evaluated as follows: if both s and t are initialized, their values are compared as usual. if one side is an uninitialized variable and the other is an expression with a value, this value is assigned to the variable; if both sides are uninitialized variables, an error is reported. Example 24: Remarkable sequences.A sequence with 27 integer elements is remarkable if it contains three 1’s, three 2’s, . . . ., three 9’s arranged in such a way that for i = 1, 2, . . . , 9 there are exactly i numbers between successive occurrences of i. Here is a remarkable sequence: (1, 9, 1, 2, 1, 8, 2, 4, 6, 2, 7, 9, 4, 5, 8, 6, 3, 4, 7, 5, 3, 9, 6, 8, 3, 5, 7).

Problem 2. The call P(v). if it is not initialized. in which E is an expression. The call P(E). a[j+2*i+1] = i END END END. Listing 41: Compiling a MIX parameter VAR v: integer. The call Find(7. . Find a remarkable sequence. a). Alma-0 adds a third parameter passing mechanism: call by mixed form. where x is an integer variable. Find(x. The function Find in Listing 42 uses a mixed form parameter. b) .2 * i DO a[j] = i. the program tests whether it is remarkable. VAR i. BEGIN v := E. Write a program that tests whether a given array is a remarkable sequence. Example 25: Linear Search. PROCEDURE Remarkable (VAR a: Sequence).27] OF INTEGER. the program assigns a remarkable sequence to it. interpreting MIX as VAR. We can think of the implementation of mixed form in the following way. j: INTEGER.END. . Suppose that procedure P has been declared as PROCEDURE P (MIX n: INTEGER). The parameter is passed either by value or by reference. BEGIN . a[j+i+1] = i. is compiled in the usual way. 2 MIX. assigns each component of a to x by backtracking. .a) tests if 7 occurs in a. 63 Due to the properties of “=”. is compiled as if the programmer had written the code shown in Listing 41. a). depending on the form of the actual parameter. The call Find(x. BEGIN For i := 1 TO 9 DO SOME j := 1 TO 25 .. in which v is a variable. The sequence Find(x. P(v) END Problem 1.7 BACKTRACKING LANGUAGES Listing 40: Remarkable sequences TYPE Sequence = ARRAY [1. Modula–2 provides call by value (the default) and call by reference (indicated by writing VAR before the formal parameter. the program shown in Listing 40 is a solution for both of these problems! If the given sequence is initialized.

The interesting feature of Alma-0 is that it demonstrates that it is possible to start with a simple. it is possible to design PLs that smoothly combine paradigms without losing the advantages of either paradigm. KNOWN(z) THEN y = z . b) END tests whether all elements of a are also elements of b. KNOWN(z) THEN x = z . How does this use of orthogonality compare with the orthogonal design of Algol 68? 2 . The statement FORALL Find(x.3. if appropriate care is taken. a).5) succeeds and Plus(5. It also has a procedural semantics that describes how the constructs can be efficiently executed.7 BACKTRACKING LANGUAGES Listing 42: Linear search Type Vector = ARRAY [1. The statement FORALL Find(x. BEGIN SOME i := 1 TO N DO e = a[i] END END. a) DO Find(x. Find(x. VAR i: INTEGER.12) assigns 7 to n. y.z) will succeed if x + y = z provided that at least two of the actual parameters have values. b) DO WRITELN(x) END prints all of the elements that a and b have in common. Alma-0 demonstrates that. z: INTEGER). new features that provide expressive power when used together. both to the existing features of Modula-2 and to each other. Listing 43: Generalized Addition PROCEDURE Plus (MIX x. Exercise 37. Listing 43 shows the declaration of a function Plus. if so. Example 26: Generalized Addition.x END END. KNOWN(y) THEN z = x + y ELSIF KNOWN(y). The test KNOWN(x) succeeds iff the variable x is initialized. The call Plus(x.N] of INTEGER. 64 tests whether the arrays a and b have an element in common. For example. well-defined language (Modula-2).y. using backtracking. The new features of Alma-0 are orthogonal. and add a small number of simple. 2 KNOWN. a: Vector). 2 The language Alma-0 has a declarative semantics in which the constructs described above correspond to logical formulas.y ELSIF KNOWN(x). BEGIN IF KNOWN(x). remove features that are not required for the current purpose.n. x receives the value of the common element. PROCEDURE Find (MIX e: INTEGER.. Plus(2.

3 Other Backtracking Languages Prolog and Alma-0 are by no means the only PLs that incorporate backtracking. Others include Icon (Griswold and Griswold 1983). that must be satisfied. constraint PLs attempt to correct this imbalance.7 BACKTRACKING LANGUAGES 65 7. and Schonberg 1986). and 2LP (McAloon and Tretkoff 1995). SETL (Schwartz. Constraint PLs are attracting increasing attention. Dewar. A program is a set of constraints. Dubinsky. expressed as equalities and inequalities. Prolog is strong in logical deduction but weak in numerical calculation. .

The components of the source program is compiled into object code. COBOL. 2. In practice. the code generated by a compiler is usually not optimal. and that is the purpose of this section. and C. Programmes in the future may be written in a very different language from that in which the machines execute them. hand-coding such large programs would require excessive time. The executable file is loaded into memory and executed. People also realized that the computer itself could perform the translation from a high level notation to machine code.1. Implementation techniques are a separate. All compilers perform some checks to ensure that the source code that they are translating is correct.8 Implementation This course is concerned mainly with the nature of PLs. and very rich. For very small programs. large storage capacities will lead in the course of time to very elaborate conversion routines. there are few interesting things that we can say about implementation. Since practical compilation systems allow programs to be split into several components for compiling. However. 3. and C++ provided more thorough checking than their predecessors. topic. It is to be hoped (and it is indeed one of the objects of using a conversion routine) that many of the tiresome blunders that occur in present-day programmes will be avoided when programmes can be written in a language in which the programmer feels more at home. In the following quote. In early languages. The . in any case. 1. there are usually several phases.1 Compiling and Interpreting Compiling As we have seen. Nevertheless. Ada. the checking was quite superficial and it was easy to write programs that compiled without errors but failed when they were executed. a programmer skilled in assembly language may be able to write more efficient code than a compiler can generate. “conversion” is used in roughly the sense that we would say “compilation” today. a compiler can perform global optimizations that are infeasible for a human programmer and. compiled programs ideally run at the maximum possible speed of the target machine. For large programs.1 8. the need for programming languages at a higher level than assembly language was recognized early. The value of compile-time checking began to be recognized in the late 60s. and languages such as Pascal. (Gill 1954) A compiler translates source language to machine language. Before he can find the cause of the trouble the programmer will either have to investigate the conversion process or enlist the aid of checking routines which will ‘reconvert’ and provide him with diagnostic information in his own language. such as FORTRAN. On the other hand. The object code units and library functions required by the program are linked to form an executable file. 8. PL/I. Since machine code is executed directly. any mistake that the programmer does commit may prove more difficult to find because it will not be detected until the programme has been converted into machine language.

but this is not logically necessary. was to use the standard linker (Stroustrup 1994. The result of such a discrepancy is. Language such as LISP and Smalltalk are often said to be untyped. however. For example. Early BASIC and LISP systems relied on interpretation. because programs do not contain type declarations. In practice. at best. When the compiled components are linked. The danger of separate compilation is that there may be inconsistencies between the components that the compiler cannot detect. Eiffel programs consist of classes that are compiled separately. When the compiler compiles an implementation module. The compiler checks that declarations and definitions are compatible. although some interpreters may report obvious (e. but this is .8 IMPLEMENTATION 67 goal of checking is to ensure that. but more recent interactive systems provide an option to compile and may even provide compilation only. 8.2 Interpreting An interpreter accepts source language and run-time input data and executes the program directly. We can identify various levels of checking that have evolved. An Algol 60 program is a block and must be compiled as a block. there are few languages that achieve it totally. page 34). but recent dialects of Pascal provide program components. A FORTRAN compiler provides no checking between components.. which is then “executed”. Compiled PLs can be classified according to whether the compiler can accept program components or only entire programs. This goal is hard to achieve and. however. Most interpreters check correctness of programs during execution. syntactic) errors as the program is read. run-time failure. and Java. typically by a factor of 10 or more. the source program might be converted into an efficient internal representation. the interface modules are themselves compiled for efficiency. it will not fail when it is executed. C and C++ rely on the programmer to provide header files containing declarations and implementation files containing definitions. Standard Pascal programs cannot be split up. prototyping environments often provide an interpreted language. but this approach tends to be inefficient. Modula-2 programs consist of interface modules and implementation modules. Dee. the linker will report subroutines that have not been defined but it will not detect discrepancies in the number of type of arguments. Since no time is spent in compiling. if a program compiles without errors.1. Other OOPLs that use this method include Blue. A key design decision in C++. For this reason. The need to compile programs in parts was recognized at an early stage: even FORTRAN was implemented in this way. even today. Consequently. Interpreting is slower than executing compiled code. The compiler automatically derives an interface from the class declaration and uses the generated interfaces of other classes to perform full checking. The solution is “name mangling” — the C++ compiler alters the names of functions by encoding their argument types in such a way that each function has a unique name. Overloaded functions in C++ present a problem because one name may denote several functions. It is possible to interpret without performing any translation at all. interpreted languages can provide immediate response. such as an abstract syntax tree. it reads all of the relevant interfaces and performs full checking. most interpreters do a certain amount of translation before executing the code.g.

the difference is that errors are not detected until the offending statements are actually executed. The type checking performed by both of these languages is actually more thorough than that performed by C and Pascal compilers. Any program that is to be distributed over the internet must be capable of . Byte Codes. as the name implies. Use the P-code interpreter to interpret the P-code compiler. For safety-critical applications. but it is simplified by the fact that the compiler is written in Pascal. For example. this is not a very arduous job. the first version of the compiler. are simply streams of bytes that represent the program: a machine language for an “abstract machine”. 5. a Pascal compiler for the new machine. be run on any machine. all of these steps must be carried out with great care. 4. Java uses byte codes to obtain portability in a different way. When that compiler is available.8 IMPLEMENTATION 68 incorrect. Another mixed strategy consists of using a compiler to generate byte codes and an interpreter to execute the byte codes. One of the first programming systems to be based on byte codes was the Pascal “P” compiler.1. Write a P-code interpreter. A Pascal implementor had to perform the following steps: 1. 3. some LISP environments allow source code and compiled code to be freely mixed. but only those parts that are needed by the compiler itself. This is a somewhat tedious task. The advantage of byte code programs is that they can. With the exercise of due caution. but it is inefficient because it depends on the P-code interpreter. It is important to ensure that each step is completed correctly before beginning the next. The Pascal “P” compiler provided a simple method for porting Pascal to a new kind of machine. The “Pascal P package” consisted of the P-code compiler written in P-code. The result is a machine code program that translates Pascal to machine code — in other words. but may be incomplete in other respects. Modify the compiler source so that the compiler generates machine code for the new machine. Use the result of step 4 to compile the modified compiler. in principle. the implementor has a working Pascal system. Thus byte codes provide a convenient way of implementing “portable” languages. The result of this step is a P-code program that translates Pascal to machine code. provide both interpretation and compilation. Java was designed to be used as an internet language. Needless to say. This step yields a P-code program that can be used to translate Pascal programs to P-code.3 Mixed Implementation Strategies Some programming environments. In fact. created in step 2 does not have to compile the entire Pascal language. this may be too late. particularly those for LISP. The complete sequence of steps can be used to generate a Pascal compiler that can compile itself. Use the compiler created in step 2 to compile the modified compiler. 8. Since P-code is quite simple. 2. it can be extended to compile the full language. the process described above (called bootstrapping ) can be simplified. The “byte codes”. At this stage.

This implies that the user must be able to enter short sequences of code that can be executed immediately in the current context. “Just in time” (JIT) compilation is a recent strategy that is used for Java and a few research languages. there must be a compiled version for every platform (a platform consists of a machine and operating system). This approach is based on the following assumptions: in a typical run. The categories overlap: PLs that can be used interactively. Thus JIT combines some of the advantages of interpretation and compilation. An implementation of LISP. are less suitable for this kind of program development. LISP. it is necessary only to provide a Java byte code interpreter for each platform. and Smalltalk. The implementor does not really have a choice. The converse is not true: an interactive environment for C++ would not be very useful.1. A PL intended for interpretation. A PL that is suitable for interactive use if programs can be described in small chunks. Conversely. and a number of other interactive PLs followed this pattern of development. Many FPLs are implemented in this way (often with a compiler).g. Block structured languages.4 Consequences for Language Design Any PL can be compiled or interpreted.. because the second and subsequent cycles of a loop are executed from efficiently compiled code. it is likely to be executed again. PLs that start out with interpreters often acquire compilers at a later stage — BASIC. The idea is that the program is interpreted. Interactive Systems A PL can be designed for writing large programs that run autonomously or for interacting with the user. or Java without GC would be useless — programs would exhaust memory in a few minutes at most. is usually implemented interactively. The imperative PL community has been consistently reluctant to incorporate GC: there is no widely-used imperative PL that provides GC. and efficient execution. 8. SML. because the program can be run immediately. Just In Time. can also be used to develop large programs. As each statement is executed. If the program is written in Java. Smalltalk. If the program is written in a conventional language. JIT provides fast response. much of the code of a program will not be executed.2 Garbage Collection There is a sharp distinction: either a PL is implemented with garbage collection (GC) or it is not. if a statement has been executed once. An interactive PL is usually interpreted. and modular languages. 8. LISP. such as BASIC. it is almost impossible to implement C or C++ with GC. such as C. where most functions are fairly small (e. they fit on a screen). The functional PL community has been equally . efficient code is generated for it. because programmers can perform arithmetic on pointers. FPLs are often supported interactively because a programmer can build up a program as a collection of function definitions. or perhaps compiled rapidly without optimization.8 IMPLEMENTATION 69 running on all the servers and clients of the network. the user can define new functions and invoke any function that has previously been defined. but interpretation is not the only possible means of implementation. however.

Smalltalk. garbage collection would make C++ unsuitable for many of the low-level tasks for which it was intended. is C++. 2. Eiffel. Some applications do not have the hardware resources of a traditional general-purpose computer. unchecked arrays. page 220): 1. Many garbage collection techniques imply service interruptions that are not acceptable for important classes of applications. page 219). The emphasis is added: Stroustrup makes it clear that he would have viewed GC in a different light if it provided advantages for all applications.8 IMPLEMENTATION 70 consistent. control applications. I feared the added complexity of implementation and porting that a garbage collector would impose. CLU. However. Some garbage collection schemes require banning several basic C facilities such as pointer arithmetic. for reasons that have been clearly explained (Stroustrup 1994. Garbage collection is easiest for the user. page 220): I know that there are more reasons for and against. LISP. human interface code on slow hardware. Garbage collection is more reliable than user-supplied memory management schemes for some applications. Similarly. but most OOPLs provide it: Simula. I am fully convinced that had garbage collection been an integral part of C++ originally. (Stroustrup 1994. and so do all of its successors. device drivers. Some garbage collection schemes impose constraints on object layout or object creation that complicates interfacing with other languages. I deliberately designed C++ not to rely on [garbage collection]. It is interesting to study Stroustrup’s arguments in detail. In his view. Also. such as hard real-time applications. provides GC. but in the opposite direction. it simplifies the building and use of some libraries. These are sufficient arguments against the view that every application would be better done with garbage collection.] . but no further reasons are needed. of course. 3. The first FPL. I feared the very significant space and time overheads I had experienced with garbage collectors. C++ would have been stillborn. It is hard to argue with Stroustrup’s conclusion (Stroustrup 1994. page 220): 1. Stroustrup provides more arguments against GC than in favour of it (Stroustrup 1994. Garbage collection causes run-time and space overheads that are not affordable for many current C++ applications running on current hardware. 4. and operating system kernels. In particular. and Java. 5. The OOP community is divided on the issue of GC. 2. I like the idea of garbage collection as a mechanism that simplifies design and eliminates a source of errors. these are sufficient arguments against the view that no application would be better done with garbage collection. The exception. and unchecked function arguments as used by printf(). the “fundamental reasons” that garbage collection is desirable are (Stroustrup 1994. page 220) [Emphasis in the original.

Eiffel. (Erlang is a proprietary functional language developed by Ericsson. and compiled with this compiler are used in ATM switches. however. The implementation of Eiffel provided by Meyer’s own company. as the difficulties and dangers of explicit memory management in complex OO systems becomes apparent. Programs written in Erlang. It should be efficient. translated into Scheme. for example. with a low overhead on execution time. In the meantime. It should be incremental. working in small. But it remains true that it is difficult to add GC to C++ and the best that can be done is probably “conservative” GC. mark-sweep collectors. The problem is that there will be occasionally be words that look like pointers but actually are not: this results in about 10% of garbage being retained. most C++ programmers spend large amounts of time figuring out when to call destructors and debugging the consequences of their wrong decisions. is a public-domain language that can be implemented by anyone who chooses to do so — there are in fact a small number of companies other than ISE that provide Eiffel. and its value is a legal address. frequent bursts of activity rather than waiting for memory to fill up. a pointer is a 4-byte quantity. and more serious problem. has a garbage collector that can be turned on and off. . ISE. Implementors are encouraged. Experience with C++ is beginning to affect the polarization. Meyer (1992. but not required to provide GC. programmers should be able to switch off GC in critical sections and to request a full clean-up when it is safe to do so. of identifying live data as garbage cannot occur: hence the term “conservative”. and those who use PLs without GC and consider it unnecessary. By scanning memory and noting words with these properties. It should be tunable. The converse. Stroustrup advocates this. Several commercial products that offer “conservative” GC are now available and their existence suggests that developers will increasingly respect the contribution of GC. the GC can identify regions of memory that might be in use. Larose and Feeley (1999). Modern garbage collectors have much lower overheads and are “tunable” in Meyer’s sense. in fact. For example. The concern about the efficiency of GC is the result of the poor performance of early. Conservative GC depends on the fact that it is possible to guess with a reasonable degree of accuracy whether a particular machine word is a pointer (Boehm and Weiser 1988).8 IMPLEMENTATION 71 Stroustrup’s arguments do not preclude GC as an option for C++ and. In typical modern processors. describe a garbage collector for a Scheme compiler.) GC has divided the programming community into two camps: those who use PLS with GC and consider it indispensable. page 335) recommends that an Eiffel garbage collector should have the following properties. aligned on a word boundary.

In each case. 5. . . C provides bit-wise operations on integer data. arrays. a simulation of tasks that used to be performed by clerks and accountants. loops. and we can write expressions using set operations. at some level. loops. The values that we use in programming — integers. Abstraction is particularly important in the study of PLs because a PL is a two-fold abstraction. The idea of abstracting from the world is not new. The second task of a PL is to provide as much help as possible to the programmer who is creating a simplified model of the complex world in a computer program. .10]. we can define literal constants and variables of these types. The biggest problems that we face in Computer Science are concerned with complexity. The control structures that we use — assignments. 7. Most programs are connected to the world in one way or another. the elements Listing 44: Sets in Pascal type SmallNum = set of [1.. var s. Here is an early example that contrasts the problem-oriented and machine-oriented approaches to PL design. A PL must provide an abstract view of the underlying machine. if (s <= t) . 9]. preferably an interface that does not depend on the particular machine that is being used. 4. Programs are seen as lists of instructions for the computer to execute. In contrast. and arrays. . 3. var n: integer. as shown in Listing 45. The first task of a PL is to hide the low-level details of the machine and present a manageable interface. abstraction helps us to manage complexity. A PL must also provide ways for the programmer to abstract information about the world. t := s + [2. as shown in Listing 44. an accounting program is. however. In the evolution of PLs.9 Abstraction Abstraction is one of the most important mental tools in Computer Science. For example. t: SmallNum. floats. and so on — are abstracted from the basic machine instructions. and some programs are little more than simulations of some aspect of the world. Example 27: Sets and Bits. Early PLs emphasize abstraction from the machine: they provide assignments. the explicit goal of the designers was a “problem oriented language”. 8]. Programs are seen as descriptions of the world that happen to be executable. These features of Pascal and C have almost identical implementations. the first need came before the second. begin s := [1. . conditionals. even at that time. 6. and so on — are abstracted from the raw bits of computer memory. Later PLs emphasize abstraction from the world: they provide objects and processes. if (n in s) . We can declare types whose values are sets. The design of Algol 60 began in the late fifties and. . Pascal provides the problem-oriented abstraction set. end . booleans.

In practice. respectively. The next abstraction mechanism. and to use the name to trigger evaluation of the expression.2 Functions. In Computer Science in general. they have similar syntax and similar rules of construction. The Pascal programmer can think at the level of sets. The earliest abstraction mechanism was the procedure. which also appeared at an early stage was the function. . . procedures and functions are closely related. is quite different. and the operations for and-ing and or-ing bits included in most machine languages are used to manipulate the words. LISP provides function abstraction.1 Abstraction as a Technical Term “Abstraction” is a word with quite general meaning. Typically. which exists in rudimentary form even in assembly language. In many PLs. it is often given a special sense. 9. however. The appearance of the program. Parameters enable us to customize the execution according to the particular requirements of the caller. The trend. Procedural abstraction enables us to give a name to a statement. however. The effect of procedures is obtained by writing functions with side-effects.1.1 Procedures. 9. is away from machine abstractions such as bit strings and towards problem domain abstractions such as sets. . where a procedure call appears in a statement context and a function call appears in an expression context. An abstraction mechanism provides a way of naming and parameterizing a program entity. and to use the name elsewhere in the program to trigger the execution of the statements. if (n & mask) . . COBOL does not provide procedure or function abstraction. The reason for this is that an abstraction mechanism that works only for simple expressions is not very useful. and in PL in particular. the presence or absence of an element is represented by a 1-bit or a 0-bit. The difference between procedures and functions is most evident at the call site. 73 of a set are encoded as positions within a machine word. whereas the C programmer is forced to think at the level of words and bits. 2 9. Interestingly. we need to abstract form arbitrarily complex programs whose main purpose is to yield a single value. FORTRAN provides procedures (called “subroutines”) and functions. int mask = 0x10000. Neither approach is necessarily better than the other: Pascal was designed for teaching introductory programming and C was designed for systems programmers. although the PERFORM verb provides a rather restricted and unsafe way of executing statements remotely. or group of statements.9 ABSTRACTION Listing 45: Bit operations in C int n = 0x10101010101. Functional abstraction enables us to give a name to an expression.1.

g.9 ABSTRACTION 74 Algol 60. In Algol 68 and C. or a document in a formal notation (e. C) array [T] of T record v: T. Pascal. does not provide a parameter mechanism for types. and freeing the data component of the block from the tyranny of stack discipline. and C take the view that everything is an expression.1. . since any computation leaves something in the accumulator. (The idea seems to be that. It is not surprising that this viewpoint minimizes the difference between procedures and functions. and type expressions (C denotes an integer constant and T denotes a type): C.2 Computational Models There are various ways of describing a PL. or operational approaches. This means that the programs in Listing 46 and Listing 47 are equivalent. When a program behaves in an unexpected way.end set of T file of T Type expressions can be named and the names can be used in variable declarations or as components of other types. 1960)). however.3 Data Types. The statement T a = E means “the variable a has type T and initial value E” and the statement x ← a means “the value of a is assigned (by copying) to x”.g. We can write an informal description in natural language (e.4 Classes. using the axiomatic. it requires log 1 = 0 bits of storage and can be optimized away by the compiler. 9. Programmers who use a PL acquire intuitive knowledge of its CM. . . . 9. The computational model (CM) is an abstraction of the operational semantics of the PL and it describes the effects of various operations without describing the actual implementation. the Pascal User Manual and Report (Jensen and Wirth 1976)). such as integer.. denotational. the programmer might as well be allowed to use it. we can provide a formal semantics for the language. C. Algol 68.. the implementation has failed to respect the CM. ..C (C. .g.) Thus statements have a value in these languages.1. Suppose that a PL specifies that arguments are passed by value. and that is the computational model (also sometimes called the semantic model ). and boolean. Simula introduced an abstraction mechanism for classes.. a formal description in natural language (e. Alternatively. Example 28: Passing parameters. without the details of every construct. . with hindsight we can see that two simple ideas were needed: giving a name to an Algol block. Pascal was more systematic and more influential. . the Algol report (Naur et al. 9. Since this value is unique. real. Pascal provides primitive types. an abstraction that is useful for describing a PL in general terms. the Revised Report on Algol 68 (van Wijngaarden et al. a procedure is simple a function that returns a value of type void.. There is. . 1975)). however. Although Algol 68 provided a kind of data type abstraction. Although this was an important and profound step.

This enables the subroutine to both access the value of the argument and to alter it. after executing the sequence integer total total = 0 call p(total) the value of total is 1. 2 Example 29: Parameters in FORTRAN. If a FORTRAN subroutine changes the value of one of its formal parameters (called “dummy variables” in FORTRAN parlance) the value of the corresponding actual argument at the call site also changes. if we define the subroutine subroutine p (count) integer count . { T x. The programmer has a mental CM for FORTRAN which predicts that. Alternatively. Unfortunately. constant arguments will not be. } T a = E. although variable arguments may be changed by a subroutine.. f (a). it could pass the address of the argument a to the function but not allow the statement S to change the value of a. { S. most FORTRAN compilers use the same mechanism for passing constant arguments.. Listing 47: Revealing the parameter passing mechanism T a = E. The most common way of achieving this result is to pass the address of the argument to the subroutine. x ← a. The effect of executing call p(0) is to change all instances of 0 (the constant “zero”) in the program to 1 (the constant “one”)! The resulting bugs can be quite hard to detect for a programmer who is not familiar with FORTRAN’s idiosyncrasies.9 ABSTRACTION Listing 46: Passing a parameter void f (T x). as if executing the assignment x ← a. Both implementations respect the CM. count = count + 1 return end then. For example.. S. } 75 A compiler could implement this program by copying the value of the argument. The problem arises because .

the opposite is true. 2 Example 31: Primitives in OOPLs. but a naive implementation will probably be inefficient. . we must know that an array can be represented by a pointer to its first element and that we can access elements of the array by adding the index (multiplied by an appropriate but implicit factor) to this pointer. because all variables behave like objects. However. Often. and integers. we can replace E + E by 2 × E. to support various OO features. . Primitive values can have a special status that distinguishes them from objects. but has a rather complex CM. An implementor is then free to implement primitive values efficiently provided that the behaviour predicted by the CM is obtained at all times. a[i] ≡ ∗(a + i). 2 Example 32: λ-Calculus as a Computational Model. such as maintaining the balance of a bank account subject to deposits and withdrawals. FPLs have an important property called referential transparency .. because all variables were actually implemented as objects. To understand this. An expression is referentially transparent if its only attribute is its value. characters. every variable is an object. FPLs are based on the theory of partial recursive functions. The underlying difficulty is that many computations depend on a concept of mutable state that does not exist in mathematics. it may be confusing for the user to deal with two different kinds of variable — primitive values and objects.9 ABSTRACTION typical FORTRAN compilers do not respect this CM. if E was not introduces A as a mapping: . For example. They attempt to use this theory as a CM. if we are dealing with numbers. the replacement would save time if the evaluation of E requires a significant amount of work. This simplifies the programmer’s task. A compiler can implement arrays in any suitable way that respects this mapping. Example 30: Array Indexing.N ] of real. . Some operations that are intuitively simple. Early implementations of Smalltalk were inefficient. In Pascal’s CM. are not easily described in classical mathematics. Java provides primitives with efficient implementations but. also has classes for the primitive types. N } → R. C is easy to compile. . The declaration var A : array [1. A solution for this dilemma is to define a CM for the language in which all variables are objects. an array is a mapping. In the CM of C. A : { 1. In Smalltalk. 2 76 A simple CM does not imply easy implementation. On the other hand. Primitive values can be given the same status as objects. The advantage of this point of view is that program text resembles mathematics and. programs can be manipulated as mathematical objects. There are two ways in which an OOPL can treat primitive entities such as booleans. The practical consequence of referential transparency is that we can freely substitute equal expressions. A language that uses this policy is likely to be efficient. to a certain extent. For example. because the compiler can process primitives without the overhead of treating them as full-fledged objects. The disadvantage is that mathematics and computation are not the same.

as for class Boolean with members true and false. are allowed. The advantage of the Blue approach. help programmers to read and write programs. . constructing the object 7. structured programs by recursive decomposition of packages of code and data. Manifest classes are defined by enumeration. according to K¨lling (1999. Dee (Grogono 1991a) uses a variant of the first alternative: literals are constructors. Smalltalk uses the second approach. o There are two possible ways of interpreting the symbol “7”: we could interpret it as an object constructor . structured programs by recursive decomposition of code. Later CMs: modelled programs as packages of code and data. For example.] 2 Exercise 38. page 72). 2 Example 33: Literals in OOP. This reduces the dangers of misunderstandings on the side of the programmer. . what does the comparison 7 = 7 mean? Are there two 7-objects or just one? The CM of Dee says that the first occurrence of the literal “7” constructs a new object and subsequent occurrences return a reference to this (unique) object.9 ABSTRACTION 77 referentially transparent — perhaps because its evaluation requires reading from an input stream or the generation of random numbers — the replacement would change the meaning of the program. however. They cease to be anomalies or special cases at a technical level. Blue avoids these problems by introducing the new concept of a manifest class. as for class Integer. . or as a constant reference to an object that already exists. “just magically exist in the Smalltalk universe”. The CM should: help programmers to reason about programs. How should an OOPL treat literal constants. the distinction is made at the logical level. [Emphasis added. constrain but not determine the implementation. such as 7? The following discussion is based on (K¨lling 1999. This introduces several problems. Literals are constant references to objects. The object model explicitly recognizes these two different types of classes. Do you think that K¨lling’s arguments for introducing a new concept (manifest o classes) are justified? 2 Summary Early CMs: modelled programs as code acting on data. although we cannot see the complete declaration. and differences between numbers and complex objects can be understood independently of implementation concerns. is that: o . Infinite enumerations. or when and how they are created. Smalltalk does not explain where they come from. These objects. . The enumeration may be finite. pages 71–74).

which contains a binding occurence of x (in dx) and a use of x (in e−x ). −e−x . The expression e−x dx. or use of . In the earliest programs. Or we can use the notation of the λ-calculus: λx . predicates may contain free names. . We say that “x occurs free” in an expression such as x2 + 2x + 5. e denotes a constant. has a value that does not depend on the particular name x. the particular name that we use does not change the value of the expression. the expression 0 ∞ e−x dx. But what about −e−ax : is it a function of a or a function of x? There are several ways of resolving this ambiguity. we obtain the expression 5 k=0 (2k + 1). First. by convention. to this binding. The conventional notation for functions. however. read “x maps to −e−ax ”. numbers were used for all purposes. − e−ax . 36. We say that the formula ∀n . . If we systematically change n to k. 10. We do not know anything about the value of this expression because we do not know the value of x. the binding occurrence of n is n = 0 and the n in the expression (2n + 1) is a reference to. In predicate calculus. . Similarly. we say that “n occurs bound” in the expression 5 (2n + 1). We can write x → −e−ax . it has a definite value. the set of values { 0. There are two things to note about (1).10 Names and Binding Names are a central feature of all programming languages.1 Free and Bound Names The use of names in programming is very similar to the use of names in mathematics. On the other hand. 1. It is clear that −e−x is a function of x because. Names are bound by the quantifiers ∀ (for all) and ∃ (there exists). the convention is that it denotes a function. Replacing numbers by symbolic names was one of the first major improvements to program notation (Mutch and Gill 1954). Second. . is interesting because it binds x but does not have a numerical value. because n is bound to a value (actually. is ambiguous. n=0 (1) More precisely. including machine addresses. n mod 2 = 0 ⇒ n2 mod 2 = 0 (2) . as in: n mod 2 = 0 ⇒ n2 mod 2 = 0. which has the same value as (1). 5 }).

A binding is dynamic if it occurs while the program is running: during loading. Definition. this is now understood to be error-prone and is not a feature of recent PLs.10 NAMES AND BINDING 79 is closed because it contains no free variables. such as FORTRAN and PL/I. and the time at which the binding occurs. 10. n is bound to the values 0. and value. Alternatively. it is very likely that (2) refers to integers. n mod 2 = 0 ⇒ n2 mod 2 = 0. This example shows that there are two aspects of binding that we must consider in PLs: the attribute that is bound. A binding is static if it occurs during before the program is executed: during compilation or linking. . load time. In this case. link time. 2 . we should specify the range of values that n is allowed to assume. its value is bound by the scanf call. neither this fact nor the name n appears explicitly in the compiled code. in the sequence int n. or statement execution. as in ∀n ∈ Z . Example 34: Binding. 1. In (1). Sometimes. a name may have several attributes. } k occurs free and n occurs bound. will accept the function f defined above only if it is compiled in a scope that contains a declaration of k.) The second binding occurs when the program is executed. In programming. Note that we cannot tell the value of n from the definition of the function but we know that n will be given a value when the function is called. In most PLs. Precisely analogous situations occur in programming. We could do this implicitly: for example. we specify the domain from which these values are chosen. . . a program with free variables will not compile. address. if f is not called (because k ≤ 0). and they may be bound at different times. The attributes that may be bound to a name include: type. Strictly. The first binding occurs when the program is compiled. The address of k is bound when the program starts. The times at which the bindings occur include: compile time. 5. (The compiler records the fact that the type of n is int. Consider the program shown in Listing 48. For example. for example. the first line binds the type int to n and the second line binds the value 6 to n. The address and value of n are bound only when the function f is called. . Some early PLs. block entry time. block entry.2 Attributes In mathematics. n = 6. In the function int f (int n) { return k + n. A C compiler. and statement execution time. then n is never bound. we could define the range of values explicitly. the formula is also true because (2) is true for all values of n. as in n ∈ Z. provided implicit declarations for variables that the programmer did not declare. a variable normally has only one attribute: its value.

It is more flexible than FORTRAN because inactive functions do not use up space and recursion works.) FORTRAN is efficient. In these languages. As a rough rule of thumb: Early binding ⇒ efficiency. addresses are bound to variable names at compile time. Example 35: Variable Addressing. a statement such as new(p) . Pascal. the address of the program is added to the address. The result is that. In FORTRAN.). When the program is loaded. Algol 68. by the time execution begins. the address of the unit within the program is added to this address. a stack frame (called. the “absolute” address of the variable is known. variables are addressed directly. have yet another way of binding an address to a variable.3 Early and Late Binding An anonymous contributor to the Encyclopedia of Computer Science wrote: Broadly speaking. which is not known until the function is called. etc. The important point is that. When the program is linked. n). (In reality. Algol-style is slightly less efficient than FORTRAN because addresses must be allocated at blockentry time and indexed addressing is required. The compiler assigns an address relative to a compilation unit. Languages that provide dynamic allocation. printf("%d". When a function is called. because all addresses are assigned at load time. local variables are allocated on the run-time stack. } void main () { int k. scanf("%d". } 80 10. if (k>0) f(). It is inflexible. without any indexing or other address calculations. in the compiled code.10 NAMES AND BINDING Listing 48: Binding void f () { int n=7. This leads to wasted space. C. In languages of the Algol family (Algol 60. the history of software development is the history of ever-later binding time. and also prevents the use of direct or indirect recursion. The variable must be addressed by adding an offset (computed by the compiler) to the address of the AR. &k). the process is somewhat more complicated. in this context. because absolute addressing is used. an activation record or AR) is created for it and space for its parameters and local variables is allocated in the AR. because all local variables occupy space whether or not they are being used. Late binding ⇒ flexibility. such as Pascal and C and most of their successors.

10 NAMES AND BINDING 81 allocates space on the “heap” and stores the address of that space in the pointer p. but greater flexibility is obtained because dynamic variables do not have to obey stack discipline (last in. OOPLs provide “virtual” functions. The corresponding definition in Scheme would be: (defun f (lambda (x) E)) . The definition int f (int x) { B } introduces a function with name f . The actual function referred to in a particular invocation is not in general known until the call is executed. 2 Example 36: Function Addressing. but there is greater flexibility because the decision as to which function to execute is made at run-time. Thus functions in C can be named. runs more slowly. but provides greater flexibility. we can name functions but we cannot denote them. the compiler generates “virtual function tables” and dynamic binding requires only indirect addressing. it generates a call to the address that it has assigned to the function. An entity can be denoted if the PL provides ways of expressing instances of the entity as expressions. Accessing the variable requires indirect addressing. and body B. because the CM requires a search. In C++. Thus functions in C cannot be denoted. There is no way that we can write a function without a name in C. Thus in non-OO PLs. several steps must be completed before the absolute address of the function is determined. that this provides yet another example of the principle: Smalltalk binds later than C++. the search can be avoided in up to 95% of calls by using a cache. When the compiler encounters a function definition. parameter x. This statement is true of all PLs developed before OOP was introduced. In practice. functions are dynamically bound. but this is not relevant to the present discussion. (As above. first out). The overhead of a dynamically-bound function call depends on the language. which is slightly slower then indexed addressing. In OOPLs. Note. 2 10.) When the compiler encounters a function invocation. A virtual function name may refer to several functions. Definition. In C. with the result that calls are efficiently executed but no decisions can be made at run-time. In Smalltalk. Calls take longer to execute. Example 37: Functions. the overhead can be significant.4 What Can Be Named? The question “what can be named?” and its converse “what can be denoted?” are important questions to ask about a PL. An entity can be named if the PL provides a definitional mechanism that associates a name with an instance of the entity. functions are statically bound. it binds an address to the function name. however.

In a PL with reference semantics. In a PL with value semantics. LISP. Scheme is. . For example. . The distinction is particularly clear in Hoare’s work on PLs. Some languages attempt to solve this by even more confusing automatic coercion rules. in Algol 68. just as in machine code. variable names denote memory locations. References are like jumps. if p is a reference variable. pointers. but we could not give a name to the type of p (“array of 10 pointers to int”).5 What is a Variable Name? We have seen that most PLs choose between two interpretations of a variable name. and so are SML and other FPLs. . or indirect address into the language as an assignable item of data. an indirect assignment through a pointer. we could write int *p[10]. Worse still. Hoare (1974) has this to say about the introduction of pointers into PLs. 2 Example 38: Types. However. can update any store location whatsoever. the assignment x := y always changes x. . namely that between an address and its contents. and the damage is no longer confined to the variable explicitly names as the target of assignment. Assigning to a variable. localized faults in Algol 60 and other PLs] throughout the whole language by introducing the concept of reference. 2 10. One variable it can never change is p! . This is reasonable in the sense that the implementation of reference semantics requires the storage of addresses — that is.1. It is misleading in that providing pointers is not the same as providing reference semantics. if permitted by the language. E to be used as functions. Later versions of C introduced the typedef statement. but the assignment p := y + 1 may. This immediately gives rise in a high-level language to one of the most notorious confusions of machine code.10 NAMES AND BINDING 82 This definition can be split into two parts: the name of the function being defined (f) and the function itself ((lambda (x) E)). variable names denote objects in memory. is not one of these languages. Assigning to a variable changes the contents of the location named by the variable. API p. For example. types could be denoted but not named. making types nameable: typedef int *API[10]. pointer. Many language designers have preferred to extend [minor. E FPLs allow expressions analogous to λx . Reference semantics is sometimes called “pointer semantics”. In early versions of C. change any other variable (of appropriate type) in the whole machine. as mentioned in Section 5. The notation is analogous to that of the λ-calculus: f = λx . changes the denotation of the name to a different object.

literally. of course. There are good reasons for this choice. and we will show that it can be satisfactorily accommodated in a high-level language using solely high-level problemoriented concepts. x + y).) One of the important aspects of OOP is object identity . or pointers to the same object. This is most naturally achieved with a reference semantics. “many shapes”. 10. 10. (equal x y) is true if the objects x and y have the same extensional value. If X and Y are have the same value. These two functions are provided partly for efficiency and partly to cover up semantic deficiencies of the implementation. would be wasteful because there is no point in making copies of immutable objects. perhaps even a factor of two in space-time cost for suitable applications.6. a significant improvement on the efficiency of compiled LISP. (LISP provides two tests for equality. Hoare (1975) provided his solution to the problem of references in high-level PLs: In this paper. n.6 Polymorphism The word “polymorphism” is derived from Greek and means. float x. In a FPL. we will consider a class of data structures for which the amount of storage can actually vary during the lifetime of the data. . such as a person. Explicit types make it possible to achieve . 83 One year later. the program cannot tell whether X and Y are distinct objects that happen to be equal. It follows that value semantics. it should be unique in the program too. If a program object X corresponds to a unique entity in the world. There are several kinds of polymorphism. all (or at least most) values are immutable. which requires copying. y. and without the introduction of references.10 NAMES AND BINDING leading wildly from one part of a data structure to another. (Hoare 1975) All FPLs and most OOPLs (the notable exception. Their introduction into high-level languages has been a step backward from which we may never recover. . (eq x y) is true if x and y are pointers to the same object. printf("%d %f". The use of reference semantics in OOP is discussed at greater length in (Grogono and Chalin 1994). In PLs. Some other languages provide similar choices for comparison. . the terms “ad hoc polymorphism” and “parametric polymorphism” are due to Christopher Strachey. The implementation that Hoare proposes in this paper is a reference semantics with types. m + n. “polymorphism” is used to describe a situation in which one name can refer to several different entities. being C++) use reference semantics.1 Ad Hoc Polymorphism In the code int m. but the reasons are not the same for each paradigm. . The most common application is to functions.

The following code declares three distinct functions in C++. we should say “overload function names” but the usage “overloaded functions” is common. (Strictly. all that the programmer has to do is write several definitions. . int max (int x. On the other hand. has parametric polymorphism. ad hoc polymorphism refers to the use of a single function name to refer to two or more distinct functions. Example 39: Overloaded Functions. There is an important difference between these two functions.10 NAMES AND BINDING 84 the symbol “+” is used in two different ways. Almost all PLs provide ad hoc polymorphism for built-in operators such as “+”. it stands for the function that adds two floats. Example 40: Lists in SML. and “::” denotes list construction. functions can be defined by cases. but ensuring that the either the number or the type of the arguments are different. “[]” denotes the empty list. In the expression x + y. using the same function name.: sum [] = 0 | sum (x::xs) = x + sum(xs) len [] = 0 | len(x::xs) = 1 + len(xs) SML infers the type of sum to be list(int) → int: since the sum of the empty list is (integer) 0. In SML. int y). In order to compute the sum of a list.6. Ad hoc polymorphism is also called “overloading”. int max (int x. Ada. In the expression m + n. and all of the components must be integers. and len computes the number of components in a given list. the type of the operator “+” must be int × int → int.) In general. respectively. float y). That is. which counts the components of a list but does not care about their type. We write definitions without type declarations and SML infers the types. int z). Here are functions that sum the components of a list and count the components of a list. Typically the compiler uses the types of the arguments of the function to decide which function to call. In general. int y. “*”. 2 10.2 Parametric Polymorphism Suppose that a language provides the type list as a parameterized type. it stands for the function that adds two integers. etc. we must be able to choose an appropriate “add” function. A function such as len. there seems to be no need to know the type of the components if all we need to do is count them. C++. and other recent languages also allow programmers to overload functions. we can make declarations such as these: list(int) list(float) Suppose also that we have two functions: sum computes the sum of the components of a given list. “−”. float max (float x. and this implies that we must know the type of the components.

integer to real. It exists in C and C++. α will implicitly assume the type of the list components. Local variables are declared at the start of subroutines and at the start of the main program. SML can infer nothing about the type of the components from the function definition. depend on the particular OOPL. But what happens if they have different types? There are several possibilities. for example. the semantics of this statement will be something like: evaluate the expression E. The statement is considered to be an error. Examples of other scope rules follow.) and rejects other type differences. Types are associated with objects rather than with names. say. store the value obtained in x. The details of this kind of polymorphism. α is a type variable. Whatever the PL. the effect of invoking f may depend on the object. The compiler will generate code to convert the value of expression E to the type of x. the scope of a local variable starts at the declaration of the variable and ends at the end of the block in which the declaration appears. The assignment is unproblematic if x and E have the same type. 2 10.8. which are discussed in Section 6. 10. Their scope starts at the declarations and end at the end of the program unit (that . as shown in Listing 49.1 Scope The scope of a name is the region of the program text in which a name may be used. This approach was taken to extremes in COBOL and PL/I. The value of E will be assigned to x anyway. f . 10. acting as a type parameter. For example. aspect of OOP. FORTRAN. 10. This will occur in a PL that provides static type checking but does not provide coercion. In C++. This kind of polymorphism is a fundamental.8 Scope and Extent The two most important properties of a variable name are scope and extent. but C++ is stricter than C. This is the approach taken by PLs that use dynamic type checking. When len is applied to an actual list. Pascal provides only a few coercions (subrange to integer. and it assigns the type list(α) → int to the function.10 NAMES AND BINDING 85 For the function len. etc. and very important.3 Object Polymorphism In OOPLs. Scope is a static property of a name that is determined by the semantics of the PL and the text of the program. However.7 Assignment Consider the assignment x := E.6. there may be many different objects that provide a function called.

the order of declarations was fixed: constants.. } // x still accessible } // x not accessible Listing 50: FORTRAN COMMON blocks subroutine first integer i real a(100) integer b(250) common /myvars/ a. In early Pascal. Pascal.10 NAMES AND BINDING Listing 49: Local scope in C++ { // x not accessible. and functions were declared in that order. as shown in Listing 51. y(100) integer k(250) common /myvars/ x. // x accessible ... This method of “scope control” is insecure because the compiler does not attempt to check consistency between program units. types. Scopes are nested : a declaration of a name in an inner block hides a declaration of the same name in an outer block. return end 86 is. as shown in Listing 50.. y . { // x still accessible in inner block . Local variables are declared at the beginning of a block. The fine control of scope provided by Algol 60 was retained in Algol 68 but simplified in other PLs of the same generation.... b . t x... return end subroutine second real x(100). It is also possible to make variables accessible in selected subroutines by means of COMMON statements. variables... subroutine or main program) within which the declaration appears. Algol 60. Pascal also has a rather curious scoping feature: within the statement S of the statement .. k. Later dialects of Pascal sensibly relaxed this ordering. Subroutine names have global scope. Control structures and nested functions are nested but declarations are allowed only at the start of the program or the start of a function declaration.

10 NAMES AND BINDING Listing 51: Nested scopes in Algol 60 begin real x. begin real x. component names.. Subroutine names in FORTRAN are global. the following declarations do not conflict: { char str[200]. Names declared at the beginning of the outermost block of Algol 60 and Pascal programs have global scope. A function or a class may be declared as a friend of a class. Function declarations cannot be nested and all local variables must appear before executable statements in a block. integer k. C++ follows C in providing directives such as static and extern to modify scope. When a child class C inherits a parent class P. 87 C.. a scoping mechanism. The name is visible throughout the program. } x.) . x := 6. struct str {int m. other names.. Global Scope. The complete rules of C scoping. Finally. however. n.0 end. such as library functions and fundamental constants (π = 3. Global scope is useful for pervasive entities. are complicated by the fact that C has five overloading classes (Harbison and Steele 1987): preprocessor macro names.f. C++. union. protected. and enumeration tags. x := 3. . end with r do S. and public (visible outside the class). In OOPLs. a field f of the record r may be written as f rather than as r. (There may be “holes” in these global scopes if the program contains local declarations of the same names. although programmers simulate them by over using COMMON declarations. FORTRAN does not have global variables. Similarly. some or all of the attributes of P are made visible in C. } Inheritance. a class may be derived as private. giving it access to the private attributes of the class. structure. or public. Class attributes may be declared private (visible only with the class). inheritance is. statement labels. in part. Consequently.1415926) but is best avoided for application variables.0. protected (visible within the class and derived classes). There are a number of additional scope control mechanisms in C++.

local scopes can be as small as the programmer needs. { int j = i. the syntax is the same: o. such as a Pascal record or a C struct. In other languages. } } Listing 53: Qualified names class Widget { public: void f(). .10 NAMES AND BINDING Listing 52: Declaration before use void main () { const int i = 6. Any statement context can be instantiated by a block that contains local variable declarations.f(). For an attribute. such as Pascal. The dot notation also appears in many OOPLs. Global scope can be obtained using the storage class extern. The module that provides the definitions must have a corresponding export clause. These names are usually hidden. In block-structured languages. // OK 88 f is not in scope The largest default scope in C is “file scope”. If the attribute is a function. a name or group of names can be brought into a scope with an import clause. names declared in a block are local to the block. In Algol 60 and C++. does the PL require “declaration before use”?) C++ uses the “declare before use” rule and the program in Listing 52 prints 6. There is a question as to whether the scope starts at the point of definition or is the entire block. opens a scope in which the public attributes of the object w are visible. Widget w. a parameter list follows: o. cout << j << endl. such as Modula-2. Local Scope. The components of a structure. have names. Qualified Scope. In modular languages.a denotes attribute a of object o.f(x) denotes the invocation of function f with argument x in object o. it seems best to provide the programmer with as much freedom as possible and to keep scopes as small as possible. Import and Export. (In other words. }. but can be made visible by the name of the object. // Error: w. The construct w. Listing 53 provides an example in C++. local declarations can be used only in certain places. f(). where is it used to select attributes and functions of an object. Although a few people do not like the fine control offered by Algol 60 and C++. const int i = 7.

and Wolf 1980. The advantage of nested scopes for large structures. In summary: Nested scopes are convenient in small regions.8. but programmers may have limited access to this repository. Namespaces provide a better solution than prefixes.2 Are nested scopes useful? As scope control mechanisms became more complicated. . Problems arise when a project uses several libraries that may have conflicting names. The import mechanism has the problem that the source of a name is not obvious where it appears: users must scan possibly remote import declarations. In fact. Qualified names work well at the level of classes and modules. then X may be used in module B as if it was declared there. such as classes or modules. Library designers can reduce the potential for name conflicts by using distinctive prefixes. On a large scale. for example in statement and functions. Interpreters generally have a repository that contains the value of each name currently accessible to the program. names will normally not be accessible at run-time unless they are included for a specific purpose such as debugging. the cause of occasional errors that could be eliminated by requiring all names in a statement or function to be unique.10 NAMES AND BINDING 89 Typically. On a small scale. one way to view compiling is as a process that converts names to numbers. however. Scope management is important because the programmer has no “work arounds” if the scoping mechanisms provided by the PL are inadequate. provide a higher level of name management than the regular language features. is doubtful. explicit control by name qualification may be better than nesting. Wilden. The mechanisms above are inadequate for very large programs developed by large teams. If a program is compiled. It is probably better to provide special mechanisms to provide the scope control that is needed rather than to rely on simple nesting. Qualified names are inadequate for very large programs. some people began to question to need for nested scopes (Clarke. all names supplied by the commercial graphics library FastGraph are have fg_ as a prefix. Namespaces. such as functions. For large structures. if module A exports name X and module B imports name X from A. when the source of names is obvious. This is because PLs typically hide the scoping mechanisms. provided by PLs such as C++ and Common LISP. For example. Nesting is a form of scope management. Hanson 1981). nesting is less effective because there is more text and a larger number of names. for example in classes and modules. 10. It is. Namespaces. nesting works fairly well.

The separation of extent from scope was a key step in the evolution of post-Algol PLs. given that functions cannot be nested).8.g. and D”. The effect is that the nested class can be accessed only by the enclosing class. Pascal). some try to prevent it from occurring (e. Eiffel. local variables also exist for the lifetime of the execution.g. Examples include Simula. local variables are instantiated whenever control enters a block and they are destroyed (at least in principle) when control leaves the block. C and C++). Algol 68). It is an error to create an object on the stack and to pass a reference to that object to an enclosing scope. whether or not their original names are accessible. and all FPLs. Understanding the relation between scope and extent is an important part of understanding a PL. In Algol 60 and subsequent stack-based languages.. CLU. . The disadvantage is that GC and the accompanying overhead are more or less indispensable. This mechanism would have the advantage that it would also be able to describe constraints such as “class A can be accessed only by classes B.3 Extent The extent. In FORTRAN. Programmers assume that. 10. objects usually have unlimited extent. Global names usually exist for the entire lifetime of the execution: they have global extent.. C. An alternative mechanism would be a declaration that states explicitly that class A can be accessed only by class B. Some PLs attempt to detect this error (e. on entry to a subroutine.10 NAMES AND BINDING 90 C++ allows classes to be nested (this seems inconsistent. its local variables will not have changed since the last invocation of the subroutine. Smalltalk. In PLs that use a reference model.. of a name is the period of time during program execution during which the object corresponding to the name exists.g. and others leave it as a problem for the programmer (e. The advantage of the reference model is that the problems of disappearing objects (dangling pointers) and inaccessible objects (memory leaks) do not occur. also called lifetime.

begin integer k. with a contextfree grammar.1 Block Structure Algol 60 was the first major PL to provide recursive. end. however. the “separate compilation” model of FORTRAN — and later C — was seen to be unsafe. an inner declaration overrides an outer declaration. end. a grammar written in Backus-Naur Form (BNF) for Algol 60. 11.8. k := 1. Earlier languages had local scope (for example. It is probably significant that Algol 60 was also the first language to be defined. The outer block in Listing 54 declares an integer k. k := k + 1. Listing 54: Nested Declarations begin integer k. hierarchical structure.1 for further discussion of nesting. k := 6. It was not possible for one declaration to override another declaration of the same name. Although a FORTRAN program has a structure — it consists of a main program and subroutines — the main program and the subroutines themselves are simply lists of statements. It is straightforward to define recursive structures using context-free grammars — specifically. The inner block declares another integer k which is set to 4 and then disappears without being used at the end of the block. people realized that the “monolithic” structure of Algol-like programs was too restricted for large and complex programs.11 Structure The earliest programs had little structure. FORTRAN subroutines have local variables) but scopes were continuous (no “holes”) and not nested. Furthermore. syntactically at least. The basis of Algol 60 syntax can be written in extended BNF as follows: PROG → BLOCK BLOCK → "begin" { DECL } { STMT } "end" STMT → BLOCK | · · · DECL → FUNCDECL | · · · FUNCDECL → HEAD BLOCK With blocks come nested scopes.2 Modules By the early 70s. 11. In Algol 60. which is first set to 6 and then incremented. . The new model that was introduced by languages such as Mesa and Modula divided a large program into modules. See Section 10.

. functions. The last few lines of the example above would be written as: import Stack. .11 STRUCTURE 92 A module is a meaningful unit (rather than a collection of possibly unrelated declarations) that may introduce constants. push. pop.. variables. modules can export types. initialize. The main difference between the stack module and the stack template is that the template exports a type.. . } In other parts of the program. a stack template introduces a type from which we can create as many instances as we need. module Stack { export type STACK. types. } Elsewhere in the program. . and functions (called collectively features). initialize(). 2 The fact that we can declare many stacks is somewhat offset by the increased complexity of the notation: the name of the stack instance must appear in every function call. and variables. .. In typical modular languages. ... Example 42: Stack Template. . . . 67).. One module of a program might declare a stack module: module Stack { export initialize.. push. Example 41: Stack Module. . import Stack. push(67). Some modular languages provide an alternative syntax in which the name of the instance appears before the function name. STACK myStack.. . 2 This form of module introduces a single instance: there is only one stack. we can use the type STACK to create stacks. push(myStack.. . we could use the stack module: import Stack. . . as if the module was a record. initialize(myStack)... In contrast.. and it is shared by all parts of the program that import it. pop. A module may import some or all of its features.. . STACK myStack.. STACK yourStack.

2.11 STRUCTURE myStack. 11. Parnas introduced these ideas as the “principle of information hiding”. [Parnas] has proposed a still more radical solution. users do not have such access. dependence upon its perfect accomplishment is a recipe for disaster. will be the owners of some modules and users of other modules. His thesis is that the programmer is most effective if shielded from. In order to use the module correctly without access to its implementation. rather than exposed to. myStack. . perhaps with occasional backtracking to correct an error.push(67). is the only was of raising the level of software design. A large program will be implemented as a set of modules.. It is therefore important to appreciate how radical it was at the time of its introduction. It is desirable that a programmer should be able to change the implementation of a module without affecting (or even informing) other programmers. only shortly after Wirth’s (1971) paper on program development by stepwise refinement. users require a specification written in an appropriate language. Today. (Brooks 1975. The specification answer the question “What does this module do?” and the implementation answers the question “How does this module work?” Most people today accept Parnas’s principle. (Brooks 1995.1 Encapsulation 93 Parnas (1972) wrote a paper that made a number of important points. Yet Parnas’s approach is significantly different from Wirth’s. This implies that a module should have an interface that is relatively stable and an implementation that changes as often as necessary. today often embodied in object-oriented programming. This is a more “modern” view and certainly a view that reflects the actual construction of large and complex software systems.. the details of construction of system parts other than his own. Parnas sees programming as an iterative process in which revisions and alterations are part of the normal course of events. Twenty years later.. or programming team. even if they do not apply it well. Each programmer.initialize(). I am now convinced that information hiding. and I was wrong. Parnas was right. A good information system both exposes interface errors and stimulates their correction. he had changed his mind. Only the owner of a module has access to its implementation. While that is definitely sound design. This presupposes that all interfaces are completely and precisely defined. Whereas Wirth assumes that a program can be constructed by filling in details. page 272) Parnas’s paper was published in 1972. it is more usual to refer to the goals as encapsulation. . page 78) Brooks wrote this in the first edition of The Mythical Man Month in 1975.

The basic loop has a single test that precedes the body: . the role of goto was down-played. and one flow out of. although his paper is well-balanced overall. the use of formal semantics) is simplified when goto statements are absent. It is easier to read and maintain programs. Certain optimizations become feasible because the compiler can obtain more precise information in the absence of goto statements. In languages designed after 1968. The first contribution of PLs was to provide names for variables and infix operators for building expressions. The basic ideas that Dijkstra proposed were as follows. All programming needs can be met by three structures satisfying the above property: the sequence. the loop with preceding test (while-do). transfer (goto). call/return. depended on three control structures: sequence. C. Even Knuth (1974) entered the fray with arguments supporting the goto statement in certain circumstances.3. Algol 60 also contributed the familiar if-then-else statement and a rather complex loop statement.3 Control Structures Early PLs. and loop structures only. The storm of controversy raised by Dijkstra’s (1968) letter condemning the goto statement indicates the extent to which programmers were wedded to the goto statement. Dijkstra’s proposals had previously been justified in a formal sense by Bohm and Jacopini (1966). Maintenance errors are less common.11 STRUCTURE 94 11. and statements. functions. The use of control structures rather than goto statements has several advantages. There should be one flow into. The most significant contribution of Algol 60 was the block : a program unit that could contain data. it is rarely needed. and the conditional (if-then-else). each control structure. 11. Algol 60 also provided goto statements and most programmers working in the sixties assumed that goto was essential.1 Loop Structures. Although the result is interesting. This paper establishes that any program written with goto statements can be rewritten as an equivalent program that uses sequence. The “modern” control structures first appeared in Algol 60. continue. with break. Both C and Pascal have goto statements but they are rarely used in well-written programs. goto-ridden programs but to write new programs using simple control structures only. it may be necessary to introduce Boolean variables. These structures are essentially those provided by assembly language. Precise reasoning (for example. conditional. Ada has a goto statement because it was part of the US DoD requirements but. such as FORTRAN. Despite the controversy. However. again. The control structure that has elicited the most discussion is the loop. Dijkstra’s main point was not to transform old. and return. has even less need for goto than Pascal. Dijkstra’s arguments had the desired effect.

end Listing 56: Reading in C int sum = 0. provide only one form of loop statement consisting of an unconditional repeat and a conditional exit that can be used anywhere in the body of the loop. Languages that make a distinction between procedures and functions usually also make a distinction between “actions” and “data”. while n ≥ 0 do begin sum := sum + n. cin >> n. sum += n. sum := 0. A procedure is a subroutine that has some effect on the program data but does not return a result. however. for example. we can use break to avoid the repeated code. if (n < 0) break. sum : int. } 95 while E do S It is occasionally useful to perform the test after the body: Pascal provides repeat/until and C provides do/while. Consider. read(n). A function is a subroutine that returns a result. such as Ada and Pascal. This is not quite enough.3. the problem of reading and adding numbers. Both names refer to “subroutines” — program components that perform a specific task when invoked from another component of the program. we find the following statement: . because there are situations in which it is useful to exit from a loop from within the body. terminating when a negative number is read without including the negative number in the sum. Listing 55 shows the code in Pascal.2 Procedures and Functions Some languages. In C and C++. as shown in Listing 56. but this is often considered undesirable. distinguish the terms procedure and function. Some recent languages. For example.11 STRUCTURE Listing 55: Reading in Pascal var n. recognizing this problem. called a “side effect”. a function may have some effect on program data. at the beginning of the first Pascal text (Jensen and Wirth 1976). 11. read(n). while (true) { int n.

C. Ada and Pascal combine the concerns but. a description of actions which are to be performed. 96 In other languages. elem: Element) is . there are two concerns: “having a value” and “having an effect” and they are essentially independent. and elem as the object found.3 Exceptions. Blue also provides multi-assignments: we can write success. Although in principle we can do everything with conditions and loops. Consistently. and whether it has side-effects. we can define a routine with this heading: findElem (index: Integer) -> (found: Boolean. discuss the introduction of new features into PLs. 2 11. We can view the progression here as a separation of concerns. The “concerns” are: whether a subroutine returns a value. . there are situations in which these constructs are inadequate. . the distinction between “actions” and “data” is less emphasized. for practical reasons. which are manipulated by the actions. a := b. Blue (K¨lling 1999) has a uniform notation for o returning either one or more results. it is given the return type void. In these languages. Actions are described be so-called statements. Describe a “proper” implementation of the multi-assignment statement. and a description of the data. thing := findElem("myKey") Multi-assignments. The parameter index is passed to the routine findElem. the distinction between “procedure” and “function” also receives less emphasis. in the more concise and readable form a. Using Example 43 and other examples. allow “functions with side-effects”. For example. b := b. provide other advantages. In C.) Adding multiple results introduces the problem of how to use the results. (If the object is not found. b := t. such as Algol and C. The basic control structures are fine for most applications provided that nothing goes wrong. does not have keywords corresponding to procedure and function. every “statement” has a value as well as an effect. if a function does not return a result. Example 43: Returning multiple results. There is a single syntax for declaring and defining all functions and a convention that. Can you think of any other applications of multi-assignment? 2 Exercise 40. For example we can write the standard “swap sequence” t := a. . a 2 Exercise 39. provided they are implemented properly. and the routine returns two values: found to indicate whether something was found.11 STRUCTURE An algorithm or computer program consists of two essential parts. and data are described by so-called declarations and definitions. . elem is set to the special value nil. for example.3.

11 STRUCTURE

97

Example 44: Matrix Inversion. Suppose that we are writing a function that inverts a matrix. In almost all cases, the given matrix is non-singular and the inversion proceeds normally. Occasionally, however, a singular matrix is passed to the function and, at some point in the calculation, a division by zero will occur. What choices do we have? We could test the matrix for singularity before starting to invert it. Unfortunately, the test involves computing the determinant of the matrix, which is almost as much work as inverting it. This is wasteful, because we know that most of the matrices that we will receive are non-singular. We could test every divisor before performing a division. This is wasteful if the matrix is unlikely to be singular. Moreover, the divisions probably occur inside nested loops: each level of loop will require Boolean variables and exit conditions that are triggered by a zero divisor, adding overhead. Rely on the hardware to signal an exception when division by zero occurs. The exception can be caught by a handler that can be installed at any convenient point in the calling environment. 2 PL/I (Section 4.5) was the first major language to provide exception handling. C provided primitives (setjmp/longjmp) that made it possible to implement exceptin handling. For further descriptions of exception handling in particular languages, see Section 4.

12

Issues in OOP

OOP is the programming paradigm that currently dominates industrial software development. In this section, we discuss various issues that arise in OOP.

12.1

Algorithms + Data Structures = Programs

The distinction between code and data was made at an early stage. It is visible in FORTRAN and reinforced in Algol 60. Algol provided the recursive block structure for code but almost no facilities for data structuring. Algol 68 and Pascal provided recursive data structures but maintained the separation between code and data. LISP brought algorithms (in the form of functions) and data structures together, but: the mutability of data was downplayed; subsequent FPLs reverted to the Algol model, separating code and data. Simula started the move back towards the von Neumann Architecture at a higher level of abstraction than machine code: the computer was recursively divided into smaller computers, each with its own code and stack. This was the feature of Simula that attracted Alan Kay and led to Smalltalk (Kay 1996). Many OOPLs since Smalltalk have withdrawn from its radical ideas. C++ was originally called “C with classes” (Stroustrup 1994) and modern C++ remains an Algol-like systems programming language that supports OOP. Ada has shown even more reluctance to move in the direction of OOP, although Ada 9X has a number of OO features.

12.2

Values and Objects

Some data behave like mathematical objects and other data behave like representations of physical objects (MacLennan 1983). Consider the sets { 1, 2, 3 } and { 2, 3, 1 }. Although these sets have different representations (the ordering of the members is different), they have the same value because in set theory the only important property of a set is the members that it contains: “two sets are equal if and only if they contain the same members”. Consider two objects representing people: [name="Peter", age=55] [name="Peter", age=55] Although these objects have the same value, they might refer to different people who have the same name and age. The consequences of assuming that these two objects denote the same person could be serious: in fact, innocent people have been arrested and jailed because they had the misfortune to have the same name and social security number as a criminal. In the following comparison of values and objects, statements about values on the left side of the page are balanced by statements about objects on the right side of the page. Values Objects

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99

Integers have values. For example, the integer 6 is a value. Objects possess values as attributes. For example, a counter might have 6 as its current value. Values are abstract. The value 7 is the common property shared by all sets with cardinality 7. Objects are concrete. An object is a particular collection of subobjects and values. A counter has one attribute: the value of the count. Values are immutable (i.e., do not change). Objects are usually, but not necessarily, mutable (i.e., may change). It does not make sense to change a value. If we change the value 3, it is no longer 3. It is meaningful, and often useful, to change the value of an object. For example, we can increment a counter. Values need representations. We need representations in order to compute with values. The representations 7, VII, sept, sju, and a particular combination of bits in the memory of a computer are different representations of the same abstract value. Objects need representations. An object has subobjects and values as attributes. It does not make sense to talk about the identity of a value. Suppose we evaluate 2 + 3, obtaining 5, and then 7 − 2, again obtaining 5. Is it the same 5 that we obtain from the second calculation? Identity is an important attribute of objects. Even objects with the same attributes may have their own, unique identities: consider identical twins. We can copy a representation of a value, but copying a value is meaningless. Copying an object certainly makes sense. Sometimes, it may even be useful, as when we copy objects from memory to disk, for example. However, multiple copies of an object with a supposedly unique identity can cause problems, known as “integrity violations” in the database community. We consider different representations of the same value to be equal. An object is equal to itself. Whether two distinct objects with equal attributes are equal depends on the application. A person who is arrested because his name and social insurance number is the same as those of a wanted criminal may not feel “equal to” the criminal. Aliasing is not a problem for values. It is immaterial to the programmer, and should not even be detectable, whether two instances of a value are stored in the same place or in different places. All references to a particular object should refer to the same object. This is sometimes called “aliasing”, and is viewed as harmful, but it is in fact desirable for objects with identity. Functional and logical PLs usually provide values. Object oriented PLs should provide objects.

Objects should not normally be copied. but they cannot provide fully appropriate implementations. Prototypes provide more flexibility and are better suited to interactive environments than classes. may provide objects. these languages seem to be more often used for exploratory programming. and Eiffel — are class-based. Prototype languages are a distinct but active minority. Exercise 41. The distinction between values and objects is not as clear as these comparisons suggest. because they do not change. Programs that provide objects do not provide referential transparency. What is “small” and what is “large”? This is an implementation issue: the compiler must decide. Copying and comparing are semantic issues. Strings should behave like values. 12. because copying endangers their integrity. Small values can be held in machine words. many PLs treat them as objects. Large values are best represented by references (pointers to the data structure representing the value. doubts begin to arise. The assignment operator for values should be a reference assignment. The relation between classes and prototypes is somewhat analogous to the relation between procedural (FORTRAN and Algol) and functional (LISP) languages in the 60s. Very small objects may be held in machine words. Since they have unbounded size. Should sets be values? What about sets with mutable components? Does the model handle objects with many to one abstraction functions? What should a PL do about values and objects? 2 Conclusions: The CM must provide values. Although large systems have been built using prototype languages. When we look at programming problems in more deatil. The assignment operator for objects should be a reference assignment. but may have other desirable properties such as encapsulation. Compilers can provide default operations and “building bricks”.3 Classes versus Prototypes The most widely-used OOPLs — C++. What is “primitive” and what is “user defined”? The PL should minimize the distinction as much as possible.12 ISSUES IN OOP 100 Programs that use values only have the property of referential transparency. There is no need to copy values. . Classes provide a visible program structure that seems to be reassuring to designers of complex software systems. Smalltalk. Most objects should be represented by references (pointers to the data structure holding the object.

As OOPLs evolve. the class approach seems to be better in most practical situations. C++ is a hybrid PL in that it supports both procedural and object styles. (This is analogous to the early days of “high level” programming when programmers would revert to assembler language to express constructs that were not easy or possible to express at a high level. did not even claim to be object oriented. what? One answer is: FP capabilities. 12. Once the decision was made to extend C rather than starting afresh (Stroustrup 1994. procedural style. These programmers will use OO techniques most of the time and will only resort to procedural techniques when these are clearly superior to the best OO solution. The multi-paradigm language LEDA (Budd 1995) demonstrates that it is possible to provide functional. logic. It is not clear whether. It more tightly-integrated design would be preferable. its precursor. LEDA provides these in a rather ad hoc way. For example. The problem is complicated further by inheritance: if class C is a subclass of class P . However. these occasions should become rarer. even this approach has problems if x and y do not have the same type.12 ISSUES IN OOP 101 12. “C with classes”. it was inevitable that C++ could be a hybrid language. and Java are pure OOPLs: they can describe only systems of objects and programmers are forced to express everything in terms of objects.6 Closures versus Classes The most powerful programming paradigms developed so far are those that do not separate code and data but instead provide “code and data” units of arbitrary size.) For experienced programmers. Although each method has advantages for certain applications.y).equal(y) or. and is this comparison commutative? Some of the problems can be avoided by associating functions with types rather than with objects. In fact. but is harder to accomplish. and object programming in a single language. and especially those trained in OO techniques. This can be accomplished by high order functions and mutable state. approximately. However. y = x means the same as x = y. “send the message equal with argument y to the object x”. functions are associated with objects.5 Pure versus Hybrid Languages Smalltalk. Perhaps “pure or hybrid” is the wrong question. Eiffel. OO design is performed perfunctorily and design problems are solved by reverting to the more general. but lower level. An expression such as x = y is interpreted in the usual mathematical sense as equal(x. A better question might be: suppose a PL provides OOP capabilities.2) or by classes. page 43).4 Types versus Objects In most class-based PLs. 12. A hybrid language can be dangerous for inexperienced programmers because it encourages a hybrid programming style. a hybrid language is perhaps better than a pure OOPL. x = y is interpreted as x. This is the approach taken by CLU and some of the “functional” OOPLs. . with this interpretation. as in Scheme (Section 5. This has the effect of making binary operations asymmetric. can we compare an instance of C to an instance of P . Does it need to provide anything else? If so.

it is clear that there two different relations are involved. inheritance can be defined in a number of ways and has a number of different uses. and so on — and is represented as an array. 12. pop. Whether or not we agree with Meyer. Functions that operate on this array have been omitted. shows that the answer is by no means so clear-cut. account2. The class ArrayStack behaves like a stack — it has functions such as push. Hence the question: should an OOPL distinguish between these relations or not? Based on the “marriage of convenience” the answer would appear to be “yes” — two distinct ends are achieved and the means by which they are achieved should be separated. but who is not familiar with the details of C++. There are many practical programming situations in which code in a parent class can be reused in a child class even when interface consistency is the primary purpose of inheritance. Conceptually. Moreover. We can create instances of BankAccount on either the stack or the heap: BankAccount account1("John"). One of the clearest examples of the division is Meyer’s (1988) “marriage of convenience” in which the class ArrayStack inherits from Array and Stack. // on the stack BankAccount *account2 = new BankAccount("Jane"). The notation for accessing functions depends on whether the variable refers to the object directly or is a pointer to the object. Further criticism might appear to be unnecessary. The purpose of this section is to show how C++ fails to fulfill its role as the preferred OOPL. will be deleted automatically at the end of the scope containing the declaration. The first part of the following discussion is based on a paper by LaLonde and Pugh (1995) in which they discuss C++ from the point of view of a programmer familiar with the principles of OOP. the varieties of inheritance all look much the same — a fact that discourages PL designers from providing multiple mechanisms. . will be deleted only when the program executes a delete operation. The instance variable pTrans is a pointer to an array containing the transactions that have taken place for this account.8 A Critique of C++ C++ is both the most widely-used OOPL and the most heavily criticized. The relation ArrayStack ∼ Stack is not the same as the relation ArrayStack ∼ Array. The second account. Data members are prefixed with “p” to distinguish them from parameters with similar names. most (but not all!) OOPLs provide a single mechanism for inheritance and leave it to the programmer to decide how to use the mechanism. exemplified by a language such as Smalltalk. There are other ways of obtaining this effect — notably. the destructor will be invoked. In both cases.7 Inheritance Inheritance is one of the key features of OOP and at the same time one of the most troublesome. // on the heap The first account. We begin by writing a specification for a simple BankAccount class with an owner name. account1. at least in Eiffel. a balance. the class ArrayStack could have an array object as an attribute — but Meyer maintains that inheritance is the most appropriate technique. however. and functions for making deposits and withdrawals: see Listing 57. at the implementation level. A closer examination. In practice.12 ISSUES IN OOP 102 12.

void credit(double amount). The array account1. this change introduces another problem. ∼BankAcocunt(). void owner(char *newOwner). . as in Listing 63. Transaction *pTrans[MAXTRANS]. Listing 62 generalizes it so that we can enter the account owner’s names interactively.pTrans. in Smalltalk. Listing 57: Declaring a Bank Account class BankAccount { public: BankAccount(char * newOwner = ""). The destructor for BankAccount should delete the owner string. This comes as a surprise to Smalltalk programmers because. After making this change. void debit(double amount). Although most introductions to C++ focus on stack objects. char *owner(). as shown in Listing 58. The code in Listing 61 — creating three special accounts — is rather specialized. private: char *pOwner. we can remove the destructor for owner in the code above: Listing 64. account2. Suppose we use the loop to create two accounts and then create the third account with this statement: accounts[2] = new BankAccount("Tina").balance() account2→balance() 103 A member function can access the private parts of another instance of the same class. This version works. once when the destructor for account1 is called. We can fix this by allocating a new buffer for each account. Unfortunately. double amount). but is poorly designed. This is because each account contains a pointer to the unique buffer. }. and again when the destructor for account2 is called. double balance(). it is more interesting to consider heap objects: Listing 61. void transfer(BankAccount *other. Listing 60 shows a simple test of the class BankAccount. an object can access only its own components.pTrans is lost because it is over-written by account2.pTrans will be deleted twice. Deleting the owner string should be the responsibility of the object. This test introduces two bugs. The problem with this code is that all of the bank accounts have the same owner: that of the last name entered. double pBalance.12 ISSUES IN OOP account1. The next step is to define the member functions of the class BankAccount: see Listing 59. At the end of the test. not the client.

} Listing 61: Using the Heap BankAccount *accounts[] = new BankAccount * [3]. pBalance = 0.. delete accounts. // Delete the array of transactions } void BankAccount owner(char *newOwner) { pOwner = newOwner.. } BankAccount::∼BankAccount() { // Delete individual transactions delete [] pTrans. i < 3.12 ISSUES IN OOP Listing 58: Accessing Private Parts void BankAccount::transfer(BankAccount *other. account1 = acount2. } Listing 59: Member Functions for the Bank Account BankAccount::BankAccount(char *newOwner) { pOwner = newOwner. Listing 60: Testing the Bank Account void test { BankAccount account1("Anne"). accounts[1] = new BankAccount("Bill"). i++) delete accounts[i]. // Account operations omitted. BankAccount account2("Bill"). 104 . // Delete everything. accounts[0] = new BankAccount("Anne"). for (int i = 0. } . double amount) { pBalance += amount. } char *BankAccount owner() { return pOwner.0. accounts[2] = new BankAccount("Chris").. other→pBalance -= amount.

char * buffer = new char[100]. } // Account operations omitted. i < 3. i++) { delete accounts[i]→owner(). i < 3. } // Account operations omitted. delete buffer.getline(buffer.12 ISSUES IN OOP 105 Listing 62: Entering a Name BankAccount *accounts[] = new BankAccount * [3]. Listing 64: Correcting the Destructor BankAccount::∼BankAccount() { delete pOwner. i++) { cout << "Please enter your name: ". delete accounts. // Delete the array of transactions } . Listing 63: Adding buffers for names // char * buffer = new char[100]. accounts[i] = new BankAccount(buffer). delete buffer. // Delete everything. for (int i = 0. } delete accounts. accounts[i] = new BankAccount(buffer). delete accounts[i]. char * buffer = new char[100]. i < 3. i < 3.getline(buffer. // Delete everything. cin. 100). for (int i = 0. // Delete individual transactions delete [] pTrans. for (int i = 0. (deleted) for (int i = 0. cin. i++) delete accounts[i]. i++) { cout << "Please enter your name: ". 100).

we have introduced two bugs: The original owner of accounts[2] will be lost. account1→transfer(&account3. &. To correct this problem. Once again. we must use the Listing 67: Stack and Heap Allocation BankAccount *account1 = new BankAccount("Anne"). which was not allocated by new. 10.0).12 ISSUES IN OOP Listing 65: Correcting the Constructor BankAccount::BankAccount(char *newOwner) { char *pOwner = new char (strlen(newOwner) + 1).0). Note that. we must rewrite the member function owner(). however. 10. provided that they are allocated on the heap. BankAccount *account2 = new BankAccount("Bill"). or controlled entirely outside the object. // Error! . strcpy(pOwner. as shown in Listing 66. The rule we must follow is that data must be allocated with the constructor and deallocated with the destructor. The error occurs because transfer expects the address of an account rather than an actual account. } Listing 66: Correcting the Owner Function void BankAccount owner(char *newOwner) { delete pOwner. 10. BankAccount account3("Chris"). To correct this problem. newOwner). accounts[2]→owner("Fred"). it will attempt to delete "Fred". The next problem occurs when we try to use the overloaded function owner() to change the name of an account owner. We now have bank accounts that work quite well. Listing 65 shows the new constructor. newOwner). If we try to mix heap objects and stack objects. strcpy(pOwner. } 106 The account destructor fails because "Tina" was not allocated using new. We correct it by introducing the reference operator. we again encounter difficulties: Listing 67. We could make things easier for the programmer who is using accounts by declaring an overloaded version of transfer() as shown below. account1→transfer(account2. When the destructor is invoked for accounts[2]. pOwner = new char(strlen(newOwner) + 1). we must modify the constructor for BankAccount. in the version of Listing 68. // OK account1→transfer(account3.0).

If the objects are small — complex numbers. to make another copy of account2 that will become myAccount. If the objects are large. it is difficult to manage allocation and deallocation. It is awkward to mix stack and heap allocation in C++ because two sets of functions are needed. At the end of the scope. other. (The function cannot delete it.12 ISSUES IN OOP Listing 68: Revising the Transfer Function void BankAccount::transfer(BankAccount &other. myAccount = test(account2). It is recommended practice in C++ to write these functions for any class that contains pointers. Even a simple function call such as project(A + B). This is because other behaves like an object. the compiler is forced to make copies. The function pDelete has the same effect as the destructor. for example. second. The underlying problem here is that references (&) work best with stack objects and pointers (*) work best with heap objects. To implement the code shown in Listing 69. however.” rather than “→”.) The same problem arises with expressions such as . for example — it is reasonable to store the objects on the stack and to use call by value. −. The function pDuplicate() makes a deep copy of an account the function. C++ is well-suited to this approach: storage management is automatic and the only overhead is the copying of values during function call and return. double amount) { pBalance += amount.) Since a matrix occupies 4×4×8 = 128 bytes. C++ uses the (default) copy constructor for BankAccount twice: first to make a copy of account2 to pass to test() and. these two copies must be deleted. If stack objects are used without references. But if we write functions that work with pointers to matrices. LaLonde and Pugh continue with a discussion of infix operators for user-defined classes. } BankAccount myAccount. it must make copies of all of the components of a back account object and destroy all components of the old object. The destructors will fail because the default copy constructor makes a shallow copy — it does not copy the pTrans fields of the accounts. ∗) for 4 × 4 matrices. there are problems. Suppose that we want to provide the standard algebraic operations (+. The solution is to write our own copy constructor and assignment overload for class BankAccount. will create a heap object corresponding to A + B but provides no opportunity to delete this object. 107 operator “. } Listing 69: Copying BankAccount test(BankAccount account) { return account. as in Listing 70. copying a matrix is relatively expensive and the stack approach will be inefficient. because it cannot tell whether its argument is a temporary. (This would be useful for graphics programming. although in fact an address has been passed.pBalance -= amount.

a hacker’s language. The operator << requires a stream reference as its left operand and an object as its right operand. } Listing 71: Using extended assignment operators A = C. without losing objects. Smalltalk. the discussion makes an important point: the “stack model” (with value semantics) is inferior to the “heap model” (with reference semantics) for many OOP applications. } BankAccount & BankAccount operator = (BankAccount &rhs) { if (this == &rhs) return this. Another basis for criticizing C++ is that is has become. The comparison is one-sided because they do not discuss factors that might make C++ a better choice than Smalltalk in some circumstances. it can be used as an infix operator in compound expressions such as the one shown. pDuplicate(rhs). such as +=. perhaps not intentionally. A += B. These observations by LaLonde and Pugh seem rather hostile towards C++. Blue. . amongst others) and that C++ is in the minority on this issue. It is possible to implement the extended assignment operators. A sign of good language design is that the features of the language are used most of the time to solve the problems that they were intended to solve. Dee. A sign of a hacker’s language is that language “gurus” introduce “hacks” that solve problems by using features in bizarre ways for which they were not originally intended. Eiffel. They are making a comparison between C++ and Smalltalk based only on ease of programming. The notation seems clear and concise and.12 ISSUES IN OOP Listing 70: Copy Constructors BankAccount::BankAccount(BankAccount &account) { pDuplicate(account). Input and output in C++ is based on “streams”. A typical output statement looks something like this: cout << "The answer is " << answer << ’. appears to be an elegant way of introducing output and input (with the operator >>) capabilities.’ << endl. It is significant that most language designers have chosen the heap model for OOP (Simula. at first glance. But this approach reduces us to a kind of assembly language style of programming. Nevertheless. CLU. pDelete(). A *= D. as shown in Listing 71. 108 A = B + C * D. Sather. return *this. Java. Since it returns a stream reference (usually its left operand). such as when efficiency is important.

6). public: ManipulatorForInts (int (ios::*)(int). . to format a table of heterogeneous data.12 ISSUES IN OOP Listing 72: A Manipulator Class class ManipulatorForInts { friend ostream & operator << (ostream & const ManipulatorForInts &).) In the example above. int value. For example. The first problem with streams is that. First. and more serious problem. } .. It is a global function with signature ios & endl (ios & s) A programmer who needs additional “manipulators” of this kind has no alternative but to add them to the global name space. The final operand.’ << endl. and a character.. and the inserter function is defined: ostream & operator << (ostream & os. is the implementation of setprecision. << is heavily overloaded. we could change the example above to: cout << "The answer is " << setprecision(8) << answer << ’. writes end-of-line to the stream and flushes it. return os. for example. It is possible to write code that uses dynamic binding but only by providing auxiliary functions. the first three right operands are a string.. a class for manipulators with integer arguments is declared. Things get more complicated when formatting is added to streams. endl. const ManipulatorForInts & m) { (os. because there are different kinds of output streams. although they are superficially object oriented (a stream is an object). as in Listing 72. int). There must be a separate function for each class for which instances can be used as the right operand. private: int (ios::*memberfunc)(int). n). but it is very obvious when streams are used. The way this is done is (roughly) as follows (Teale 1993. Overloading provides static polymorphism which is incompatible with dynamic polymorphism (recall Section 10.*memberfunc)(m. page 171). The first problem with this is that it is verbose. } Second. a double. (The verbosity is not really evident in such a small example. the function that we need can be defined: ManipulatorForInts setprecision (int n) { return ManipulatorForInts (& ios::precision.) The second.value). (<< is also overloaded with respect to its left operand. } 109 Obviously. they do not work well with inheritance.

. Most experienced programmers can get used to the well-known idiosyncrasies of C++. with the value NULL indicating that the file is not open. we can use file handles as if they had boolean values. . . . infile.12 ISSUES IN OOP Listing 73: File handles as Booleans ifstream infile ("stats. Sakkinen 1992). if (!infile) . but are implemented using templates. the actual definitions are not as shown here. 110 It is apparent that a programmer must be quite proficient in C++ to understand these definitions. and !infile can be used as a conditional because the operator ! is overloaded for class ifstream to return an int which is 0 if the file is open. let alone design similar functions. as in Listing 73.dat"). In fact. . For example. that we can negate. It seems that there is a boolean value. obtaining !infile. To make matters worse. . These are symptoms of an even deeper malaise in C++ than the problems pointed out by authors of otherwise excellent critiques such as (Joyner 1992. but few realize that frequently-used and apparently harmless constructs are implemented by subtle and devious tricks. if (infile) . There are many other tricks in the implementation of streams. infile can be used as a conditional because there is a function that converts infile to (void *). because that would require class declarations for many different types. . Programs that look simple may actually conceal subtle traps.

Mathematically oriented views of programming favour values. . Such a language would combine the advantages of OOP and logic programming. Unfortunately. it seems more likely that specialized languages will dominate in the future. and backtracking. Making Progress. now more or less subsumed by object oriented programming. Similar simplifications have occurred in the evolution of PLs: for example. it is often the case that they show retroactively how something should have been done when it is already too late to improve it. Theory-based PLs are important because they provide useful insights. A PL that provides both in a consistent and concise way might be simple. Designers and implementors introduce new ideas. PL design resembles mathematics. Simula (Section 6. constraint programming. Both views are useful for particular applications. In this respect. Simulation oriented views favour objects. logical variables. The evolution of PLs shows that. expressive. A rigorously mathematical approach can lead all too rapidly to the “Turing tar pit”. then bound. powerful abstractions — to achieve more with less. Multiparadigm Programming. are in widespread use.1) and Scheme (Section 5. and later may be unbound during backtracking) is a third kind of entity. functional programming. It is not hard to design a large and complex PL by throwing in numerous features. PLs have evolved into several strands: procedural programming. It might be fruitful to design a PL with objects. But programs are not mathematical objects. practice leads theory. Practice and Theory. if any. after values and objects.2). The hard part of design is to find simple. It is not clear that any future universal language will be accepted by the programming community. The significant advances in mathematics are often simplifications that occur when structures that once seemed distinct are united in a common abstraction. unification. Since people are always searching for “universal” solutions. logic programming and its successor. it is inevitable that some will try to build a “universal” PL by combining paradigms. then theoreticians attempt to what they did and how they could have done it better. Ideally. they serve as testing environments for ideas that may eventually be incorporated into new mainstream PLs. Such attempts will be successful to the extent that they achieve overall simplification. The “logical variable” (a variable that is first unbound. Each paradigm performs well on a particular class of applications. and powerful. most of the time. There are a number of PLs that have been based on purely theoretical principles but few.13 Conclusion Values and Objects.

Dynamic typing. a block is a closure consisting of code. Lexical Scoping. followed by code. Argument. CM. AR. Dynamic Scoping. and then only once.3. Activation record. Block.2 Compile. Section 5. Section 5. Abstract data type. Used to describe something that happens during execution.3 CBV. BNF. an environment with bindings for local variables. In Smalltalk. CBN.2. Successors of Algol 60 define blocks in similar ways. but usually one) function and its lexical environment. The run-time data structure corresponding to an Algol 60 block. . and possibly parameters. Dynamic Binding. Backus-Naur Form (originally Backus Normal Form). A parameter passing method in which actual parameters are evaluated when they are needed by the called function. Call by need. A notation for describing a contextfree grammar. Associate a property with a name. Dummy parameter. A data structure consisting of one (or more. Section 4. An object that accepts a request and then forwards the request to another object is said to “delegate” the request. Cf. The value of a non-local variable is the most recent value that has been assigned to it during the execution of the program. introduced by John Backus for describing Algol 60. Section 3. Bind. Performing type checking “on the fly”. Call by name. See lazy evaluation. Formal parameter (FORTRAN usage). as opposed to static.A Abbreviations and Glossary Actual parameter. A parameter passing method in which the actual parameter is evaluated before the function is called. A value passed to a function. A data type described in terms of the operations that can be performed on the data. Translate source code (program text) into code for a physical (or possibly abstract) machine. Computer Science. a syntactic unit containing declarations of variables and functions.2. Delegation. Call by value.1. synonym of actual parameter . In Algol 60. while the program is running. ADT. Closure. Section 9. A binding that occurs during execution. Section 4. Computational Model. A value passed to a function. Dynamic. CS. The argument of a function is not evaluated until its value is needed.4.

The “garbage” is thrown away: it is the useful data that is collected!) GC. A PL feature that permits a computation to be abandoned. using the Greek letter λ. Section 5. Recycling of unused memory when performed automatically by the implementatin rather than coded by the programmer. Late binding. The arguments of a function are evaluated at the time that it is called. usually during compilation. Inheritance. It is a dynamic property. If the implementation uses lazy evaluation. control is transferred to a handler in a possibly non-local scope. . it is said to inherit those features. Exception handling. but OOPLs “late bind” function names during execution. Lazy evaluation. A function that either accepts a function as an argument. procedural languages bind functions to names during compilation. Higher order function. Functional Programming (Language). A region for storing variables in which no particular order of allocation or deallocation is defined. Local scope. Formal parameter. The time during execution during which a variable is active. Same as high order function. introduced by Church. whether or not their values are needed. without translating it into machine code. as opposed to scope. Garbage collection. Lexical Scoping.1. A name that is accessible throughout the (static) program text has global scope. the variable will receive a value when the function is called. Extent. its value is stored and it is not evaluated again during the current invocation of the function. Early binding. Global scope. a function does not evaluate an argument until the value of the argument is actually required for the computation. FP(L). The value of a non-local variables is determined in the static context as determined by the text of the program. A name that is accessible in only a part of the program text has local scope. Dynamic Scoping. Heap. Execute a program one statement at a time.A ABBREVIATIONS AND GLOSSARY 113 Eager evaluation. A variable name that appears in a function heading. For example. Interpret. (The term “garbage collection” is widely used but inaccurate. Garbage collection. A binding (that is. attachment of a property to a name) that is performed at a later time than would normally be expected. Lambda calculus. when an object (or class) obtains some of its features from another object (or class). High order function. or returns a function as a value. Binding a property to a name at an early stage. “Parameter” without qualification usually means “formal parameter”. A notation for describing functions. Cf. or call by need . In OOPLs. or both. Section 5. When the argument has been evaluated.

(The word “template” has a special sense in C++. Overloading. Polymorphism. Variable names denote objects. Object Oriented Programming (Language). before the program is executed). Parameter. LIFO). Using the same name to denote more than one entity (the entities are usually functions). Scope. Semantic Model. It is a static property. Using one name to denote several distinct objects. anyway. An alternative term for Computational Model (CM). Section 4. Literally “unknown” or “unmeasurable” (from Greek). The region of text in which a variable is accessible. Static Binding. A template is different from a declaration that constructs only a single object. and most OOPLs. Stack.6. √ Partial function. Regular Expression. A syntactic construct from which many distinct objects can be generated. Section 6. Reference semantics.3. A local variable in an Algol 60 program that has local scope (it can be accessed only within the procedure in which it is declared) but global extent (it is created when the procedure is first called and persists until the program termiantes). A value that is bound before the program is executed. Section 3. Strong typing. Used to describe something that happens during compilation (or possible during linking but. but the usage is more or less compatible with our definition. Static. The name suggests a stack of plates. Detect and report all type errors. as opposed to weak typing . Recursion. A function with no parameters used to implement the call by name mechanism of Algol 60 and a few other languages. Section 4. Used in PLs for the objects passed to functions. Semantics. Cf. Dynamic Binding. Static typing.2. Two language features are orthogonal if they can be combined without losing any of their important properties. A region for storing variables in which the most recently allocated unit is the first one to be deallocated (“last-in. Own variable. RE. as opposed to extent. Template. Section 9. .A ABBREVIATIONS AND GLOSSARY OOP(L). A process or object that is defined partly in terms of itself without circularity. 114 Orthogonal. A system that assigns meaning to programs. PL. (Literally “many shapes”).) Thunk. Used by all functional and logic languages. Type checking performed during compilation.4. Programming Language. as opposed to dynamic. x is partial over the domain of reals because it has no real value if x < 0. A function that is defined over only a part of its domain. first out”.

Most imperative languages use value semantics. Variable names denote locations. Detect and report some type errors. A function that is defined for all values of its arguments in its domain. ex is total over the domain of reals. . but allow some possible type errors to remain in the program. Value semantics.A ABBREVIATIONS AND GLOSSARY 115 Total function. Weak typing.

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