Basic Action Theory

Søren B. Lassen

May 1995


Action semantics is a semantic description framework with very good pragmatic properties but until now a rather weak theory for reasoning about programs. A strong action theory would have a great practical potential, as it would facilitate reasoning about the large class of programming languages that can be described in action semantics.

This report develops the foundations for a richer action theory, by bringing together concepts and techniques from process theory and from work on operational reasoning about functional programs. Semantic preorders and equivalences in the action semantics setting are studied and useful operational techniques for establishing contextual equivalences are presented. These techniques are applied to establish equational and inequational action laws and an induction rule.

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