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From: Jonathan Turkanis (technews_at_[hidden])
Date: 2005-09-23 11:55:12

Simon Buchan wrote:
> Jonathan Turkanis wrote:
>> Robert Ramey wrote:

>>> I've concluded that the concept of Semantic really isn't formal.
>>> Its a narrative description of
>>> what someone expects an expression to do.
>> Right. Coming from mathematical logic it's clear to me that usual
>> concept definitions aren't really formal. I'd call them
>> 'semi-formal'. If you wanted to write a truly formal specification,
>> you'd first have to describe an abstract machine to represent C++
>> programs and their execution environments, because the C++ standard
>> isn't really formal, either.

> Interesting: an 'abstract machine' representing the compiler is almost
> exactly the informal description used by version of the standard I saw

But it's not defined precisely enoung to be called 'formal' by my standards.
Compare it with the definition of abstract state machines
(, for example.

Note that I'm not criticising the standard (although it certainly has some
problems with lack of precision). It would be nice to have a truly formal
specification, but in the case of C++ it's probably not realistic.

Jonathan Turkanis

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