Browse Prior Art Database

Original Publication Date: 1974-Dec-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2007-Mar-30
Document File: 38 page(s) / 2M

Publishing Venue

Software Patent Institute

Related People

Wand, Mitchell: AUTHOR [+2]


Mitchell Wand

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Mitchell Wand

Computer Science Department Indiana Univerasity
Bloomington, Indiana 47401

This report has been submitted for publication elsewhere and has been issued as a Technical Report for early dissemination of its contents.

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The Frame Model of Computation
Mitchell Wand

    December 1, 1974
Computer Science Department Indiana University

Lindley Hall 101

Bloomington, Indiana 47401

Key words and phrases: frame model, formal semantics, modular programming, reduction, control regimes, coroutines, backtracking, direct semantics, axiomatic semantics.

CR Categories: 5.24, 4.22

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The Frame Model of Computation

  Mitchell Wand
Indiana University

Abstract: This paper gives an informal description of a new seman-
tic model of computation called the frame model.

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    A common criticism of formal semantic models is that they f a i l t o be perspicuous. One may spend so much time on coding details that essential concepts are obscured. An extreme example would be the use of a Turing machine as a semantic model. One reason the Turing machine makes an inadequate model is that its structure is quite different from the structure of programming languages or of "well-structured" computations. It is the purpose of thi3 paper t o describe a semantic model of computation whose structure we believe is well-suited to the description of computations. A well- structured model would also be a "frame" in the sense of Minsky
[24]: a declarative structure whose components correspond to the terms i n which one normally thinks of a computation.

   We view a semantic model as describing a class of programming languages which work i n essentially the same way, but have differ- ent elementary operations. We w i l l indicate two different ways in which the frame model may be turned into a programming language.

   Section 1 is concerned with some epistemological vinegar. Section 2 describes the internal workings of the model. Section 3 is essentially a defense of our choice of components. Section

4 returns t o the transition from model to language. Section 5 suggests the formal methods underlying our development, and Section 6 compares the frame model with related systems.

1. Semantic Models and Programming Languages

In a traditional semantic model, two steps must be performed

before the model can execute an algorithm. The programmer first expresses the algorithm as a program i n some programming language.

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The program is then transf...