Saturday, June 13, 2009

Gradual programming: bridging the semantic gap

by Bor-Yuh Evan Chang and Amer Diwan and Jeremy Siek (University of Colorado at Boulder, USA)

Summary of reviewer comments:
The paper defines the "semantic gap": a mismatch between what programmers want to express in their code and what the language semantics allows them to describe. The authors provide some examples of semantic gaps, such as limitations of current static type systems, and inability to take advantage of certain program invariants. The paper outlines a solution that would allow the programmer to gradually add information about the program, allowing better optimization and program comprehension. The proposed solution is based on custom composition of language semantics in the form of "dimensions" and "plugins". The paper indirectly addresses an important issue: how to build extensible software by means of developing custom languages (the paper does it in the form of customizing the language semantics).

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