An investigation of the Vienna Definition Language as applied to ALGOL 60



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Programming languages are complex but useful objects, and an increasing amount of effort has been spent in developing mathematical models, or formal definitions, which describe both their syntactic and semantic aspects. Ideally, a formal definition technique would, first provide a readable and elegant description of the actual language. Second, it would be of use to language designers, implementors, and users, and third, it should provide a mathematically tractable model of the language. A widely used and thoroughly developed formal definition technique is known as the Vienna Definition Language (VDL). By means of a partial implementation and two test cases this thesis examines the structure and operation of VDL as it is applied to ALGOL 60. Some conclusions are drawn as to its correctness and usefulness.