IEEE Computer Volume 16 Number 6 -- BOOK REVIEWS
Original Publication Date: 1983-Jun-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Nov-11
Software Patent Institute
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Theoretical Foundations of Programming Methodology
-- Manfred Broy and Gunther Schmidt, eds. (D. Reidel Publishing, Holland, 1982, 652 pp., $39.50)
This book is for computer scientists who acknowledge the importance of theory. It contains an excellent collection of 18 papers based for the most part on the NATO summer school lectures at Marktoberdorf in 1981. Since the book is part of the NATO Advanced Study Institute Series, one might have expected a lower price so that the ideas could be widely disseminated. However, the quality of much of the material makes the book well worth buying even at the price.
All the contributions were stimulating; however, because of space limitations, I am confining my review to a number of particularly interesting papers.
The paper by Burstall and Goguen, "Algebras, Theories and Freeness: An Introduction for Computer Scientists," should be required reading for anyone interested in abstract data types. It is an admirably readable and authorative guide to the terminology used in algebraic presentations of data types. The companion paper by Wirsing and Broy also aims to review approaches (e.g., initial versus terminal), but is somewhat harder to read. Denotational semantics is covered by papers from Scott (who was unable to attend the school) and Stoy. Scott's paper describes a new, neighborhood, approach to the foundations of recursive and self- referential functions. The 148 pager, while not easy to read, present the topic in a teachable way. Pending the promised textbook, this material is the most useful course information since Stoy's book. Stoy's paper gives a carefully motivated review of some of the techniques of language definition, such as continuations.
Much of the work on reasoning about parallelism is now attempting to use some form of modal logic. The paper by
Manna, "Verification of Sequential Programs: Temporal Axiomatization," provides an invaluable reference to the forms of reasoning that can be used. The
esults are note I believe, entirely convincing, but until simpler methods a...