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A Syntactic Theory of Dynamic Binding

Moreau, Luc (1997) A Syntactic Theory of Dynamic Binding At International Joint Conference on Theory and Practice of Software Development (TAPSOFT/FASE'97). , 727--741. (doi:10.1007/BFb0030637).

Record type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)


Dynamic binding, which has always been associated with Lisp, is still semantically obscure to many. Although largely replaced by lexical scoping, not only does dynamic binding remain an interesting and expressive programming technique in specialised circumstances, but also it is a key notion in semantics. This paper presents a syntactic theory that enables the programmer to perform equational reasoning on programs using dynamic binding. The theory is proved to be sound and complete with respect to derivations allowed on programs in "dynamic-environment passing style". From this theory, we derive a sequential evaluation function in a context-rewriting system. Then, we exhibit the power and usefulness of dynamic binding in two different ways. First, we prove that dynamic binding adds expressiveness to a purely functional language. Second, we show that dynamic binding is an essential notion in semantics that can be used to define the semantics of exceptions. Afterwards, we further refine the evaluation function into the popular implementation strategy called deep binding. Finally, following the saying that deep binding is suitable for parallel evaluation, we present the parallel evaluation function of a future-based functional language extended with constructs for dynamic binding.

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Published date: 1997
Additional Information: Address: Lille, France
Venue - Dates: International Joint Conference on Theory and Practice of Software Development (TAPSOFT/FASE'97), 1997-01-01
Organisations: Web & Internet Science


Local EPrints ID: 252770
PURE UUID: e163d47b-2ba1-4688-91f5-5d8ee201eb8a
ORCID for Luc Moreau: ORCID iD

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Date deposited: 20 Mar 2000
Last modified: 18 Jul 2017 10:01

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Author: Luc Moreau ORCID iD

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