A kernel specification formalism with higher-order parameterisation

D. Sannella and A. Tarlecki

Abstract: A specification formalism with parameterisation of an arbitrary order is presented. It is given a denotational-style semantics, accompanied by an inference system for proving that an object satisfies a specification. The inference system incorporates, but is not limited to, a clearly identified type-checking component.

Special effort is made to carefully distinguish between parameterised specifications, which denote functions yielding classes of objects, and specifications of parameterised objects, which denote classes of functions yielding objects. To deal with both of these in a uniform framework, it was convenient to view specifications, which specify objects, as objects themselves, and to introduce a notion of a specification of specifications.

The formalism includes the basic specification-building operations of the ASL specification language. This choice, however, is orthogonal to the new ideas presented. The formalism is also institution-independent, although this issue is not explicitly discussed at any length here.

LFCS report ECS-LFCS-91-139

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