A Rewriting Logic Approach to Operational Semantics (Extended Abstract)

Traian Florin Şerbǎnuţǎ, Grigore Roşu, José Meseguer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper shows how rewriting logic semantics (RLS) can be used as a computational logic framework for operational semantic definitions of programming languages. Several operational semantics styles are addressed: big-step and small-step structural operational semantics (SOS), modular SOS, reduction semantics with evaluation contexts, and continuation-based semantics. Each of these language definitional styles can be faithfully captured as an RLS theory, in the sense that there is a one-to-one correspondence between computational steps in the original language definition and computational steps in the corresponding RLS theory. A major goal of this paper is to show that RLS does not force or pre-impose any given language definitional style, and that its flexibility and ease of use makes RLS an appealing framework for exploring new definitional styles.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)125-141
Number of pages17
JournalElectronic Notes in Theoretical Computer Science
Issue number1 SPEC. ISS.
StatePublished - Oct 24 2007


  • operational semantics
  • programming languages
  • rewriting logic

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Theoretical Computer Science
  • Computer Science(all)


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