Tech Report CS-90-30

A Denotational Semantics of Inheritance and its Correctness

William Cook and Jens Palsberg

September 1990


This paper presents a denotational model of inheritance. The model is based on an intuitive motivation of the purpose of inheritance. The correctness of the model is demonstrated by proving it equivalent to an operational semantics of inheritance based upon the method-lookup algorithm of object-oriented languages. Although it was originally developed to explain inheritance in object-oriented languages, the model shows that inheritance is a general mechanism that may be applied to any form of recursive definition.

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