SOS formats and meta-theory : 20 years after

M.R. Mousavi, M.A. Reniers, J.F. Groote

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

71 Citations (Scopus)
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In 1981 Structural Operational Semantics (SOS) was introduced as a systematic way to define operational semantics of programming languages by a set of rules of a certain shape [G.D. Plotkin, A structural approach to operational semantics, Technical Report DAIMI FN-19, Computer Science Department, Aarhus University, Aarhus, Denmark, September 1981]. Subsequently, the format of SOS rules became the object of study. Using so-called Transition System Specifications (TSS’s) several authors syntactically restricted the format of rules and showed several useful properties about the semantics induced by any TSS adhering to the format. This has resulted in a line of research proposing several syntactical rule formats and associated meta-theorems. Properties that are guaranteed by such rule formats range from well-definedness of the operational semantics and compositionality of behavioral equivalences to security-, time- and probability-related issues. In this paper, we provide an overview of SOS rule formats and meta-theorems formulated around them.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)238-272
JournalTheoretical Computer Science
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2007


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