Rewriting logic semantics: From language specifications to formal analysis tools

Research output: Contribution to journalConference article


Formal semantic definitions of concurrent languages, when specified in a well-suited semantic framework and supported by generic and efficient formal tools, can be the basis of powerful software analysis tools. Such tools can be obtained for free from the semantic definitions; in our experience in just the few weeks required to define a language's semantics even for large languages like Java. By combining, yet distinguishing, both equations and rules, rewriting logic semantic definitions unify both the semantic equations of equational semantics (in their higher-order denotational version or their first-order algebraic counterpart) and the semantic rules of SOS. Several limitations of both SOS and equational semantics are thus overcome within this unified framework. By using a high-performance implementation of rewriting logic such as Maude, a language's formal specification can be automatically transformed into an efficient interpreter. Furthermore, by using Maude's breadth first search command, we also obtain for free a semi-decision procedure for finding failures of safety properties; and by using Maude's LTL model checker, we obtain, also for free, a decision procedure for LTL properties of finite-state programs. These possibilities, and the competitive performance of the analysis tools thus obtained, are illustrated by means of a concurrent Caml-like language; similar experience with Java (source and JVM) programs is also summarized.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-44
Number of pages44
JournalLecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence (Subseries of Lecture Notes in Computer Science)
StatePublished - Dec 9 2004
EventSecond International Joint Conference, IJCAR 2004 - Cork, Ireland
Duration: Jul 4 2004Jul 8 2004

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Theoretical Computer Science
  • Computer Science(all)

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