Lecturer: Magne Haveraaen
The course covered several issues in modern programming, themes which seem overlooked in current practices, even though they obviously can help better software quality.
The students at the course were each expected to cover two scientific research papers. In addition the lecturer would present some of his views on programming.
The following material was covered
The title is not a statement of fact, of course, but an opinion about how language designers should think about types. There has been a natural tendency to look to mathematics for a consistent, precise notion of what types are. The point of view there is extensional: a type is a subset of the universe of values. While this approach may have served its purpose quite adequately in mathematics, defining programming language types in this way ignores some vital ideas. Some interesting developments following the extensional approach are the ALGOL-68 type system [vW], Scott's theory [S], and Reynolds' system [R]. While each of these lend valuable insight to programming languages, I feel they miss an important aspect of types.Rather than worry about what types are I shall focus on the role of type checking. Type checking seems to serve two distinct purposes: authentication and secrecy. Both are useful when a programmer undertakes to implement a class of abstract objects to be used by many other programmers. He usually proceeds by choosing a representation for the objects in terms of other objects and then writes the required operations to manipulate them.
Methodological guidelines for object-oriented software construction that improve the reliability of the resulting software systems are presented. It is shown that the object-oriented techniques rely on the theory of design by contract, which underlies the design of the Eiffel analysis, design, and programming language and of the supporting libraries, from which a number of examples are drawn. The theory of contract design and the role of assertions in that theory are discussed
Testing is very important for the validation of software, but tests are all too often developed on an ad hoc basis. Here we show a more systematic approach with a basis in structured specifications. The approach will be demonstrated on Sophus, a medium-sized software library developed using (informal) algebraic specifications.
Our objective is to understand the notion of type in programming languages, present a model of typed, polymorphic programming languages that reflects recent research in type theory, and examine the relevance of recent research to the design of practical programming languages. Object-oriented languages provide both a framework and a motivation for exploring the interaction among the concepts of type, data abstraction, and polymorphism, since they extend the notion of type to data abstraction and since type inheritance is an important form of polymorphism. We develop a &lgr;-calculus-based model for type systems that allows us to explore these interactions in a simple setting, unencumbered by complexities of production programming languages. The evolution of languages from untyped universes to monomorphic and then polymorphic type systems is reviewed. Mechanisms for polymorphism such as overloading, coercion, subtyping, and parameterization are examined. A unifying framework for polymorphic type systems is developed in terms of the typed &lgr;-calculus augmented to include binding of types by quantification as well as binding of values by abstraction. The typed &lgr;-calculus is augmented by universal quantification to model generic functions with type parameters, existential quantification and packaging (information hiding) to model abstract data types, and bounded quantification to model subtypes and type inheritance. In this way we obtain a simple and precise characterization of a powerful type system that includes abstract data types, parametric polymorphism, and multiple inheritance in a single consistent framework. The mechanisms for type checking for the augmented &lgr;-calculus are discussed. The augmented typed &lgr;-calculus is used as a programming language for a variety of illustrative examples. We christen this language Fun because fun instead of &lgr; is the functional abstraction keyword and because it is pleasant to deal with. Fun is mathematically simple and can serve as a basis for the design and implementation of real programming languages with type facilities that are more powerful and expressive than those of existing programming languages. In particular, it provides a basis for the design of strongly typed object-oriented languages.
In computer science, the lambda calculus is a formal system designed to investigate function definition, function application, and recursion. It was introduced by Alonzo Church and Stephen Cole Kleene in the 1930s; Church used the lambda calculus in 1936 to give a negative answer to the Entscheidungsproblem. The calculus can be used to cleanly define what a computable function is. The question of whether two lambda calculus expressions are equivalent cannot be solved by a general algorithm, and this was the first question, even before the halting problem, for which undecidability could be proved. Lambda calculus has greatly influenced functional programming languages, especially Lisp.
The literature on programming languages contains an abundance of informal claims on the relative expressive power of programming languages, but there is no framework for formalizing such statements nor for deriving interesting consequences. As a first step in this direction, we develop a formal notion of expressiveness and investigate its properties. To validate the theory, we analyze some widely held beliefs about the expressive power of several extensions of functional languages.
We present a type-based approach to eliminating array bound checking and list tag checking by conservatively extending Standard ML with a restricted form of dependent types. This enables the programmer to capture more invariants through types while type-checking remains decidable in theory and can still be performed efficiently in practice. We illustrate our approach through concrete examples and present the result of our preliminary experiments which support support the feasibility and effectiveness of our approach.
Software engineering research and programming language design have enjoyed a symbiotic relationship, with traceable impacts since the 1970s, when these areas were first distinguished from one another. This report documents this relationship by focusing on several major features of current programming languages: data and procedural abstraction, types, concurrency, exceptions, and visual programming mechanisms. The influences are determined by tracing references in publications in both fields, obtaining oral histories from language designers delineating influences on them, and tracking cotemporal research trends and ideas as demonstrated by workshop topics, special issue publications, and invited talks in the two fields. In some cases there is conclusive data supporting influence. In other cases, there are circumstantial arguments (i.e., cotemporal ideas) that indicate influence. Using this approach, this study provides evidence of the impact of software engineering research on modern programming language design and documents the close relationship between these two fields.