Python: The Full Monty: A Tested Semantics for the Python Programming Language

Joe Gibbs Politz, Alejandro Martinez, Matthew Milano, Sumner Warren, Daniel Patterson, Junsong Li, Anand Chitipothu, Shriram Krishnamurthi

ACM SIGPLAN Conference on Object-Oriented Programming Systems, Languages & Applications, 2013

Abstract

We present a small-step operational semantics for the Python programming language. We present both a core language for Python, suitable for tools and proofs, and a translation process for converting Python source to this core. We have tested the composition of translation and evaluation of the core for conformance with the primary Python implementation, thereby giving confidence in the fidelity of the semantics. We briefly report on the engineering of these components. Finally, we examine subtle aspects of the language, identifying scope as a pervasive concern that even impacts features that might be considered orthogonal.

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To play with the artifact, visit http://cs.brown.edu/research/plt/dl/lambda-py/ae/.

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