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The Design of Formal Languages

Salter, Ian; (1995) The Design of Formal Languages. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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The aim of the thesis is to develop a framework to support the design of formal languages. The thesis consists of two parts. The first part attempts to develop a conception of formal language design. The conception considers the nature of formal languages and acts as a specification for a framework to support the design of formal languages. The second part develops the formal aspects of such a framework. The first part considers the nature of formality and the nature of disciplines. Formality is considered in terms of different philosophies of mathematics, it illustrates how these different philosophies give rise to different notions of formality, and leads finally to a strongly relativistic definition of formal language. The nature of disciplines is considered in terms of philosophies of science resulting in the definition of a generic engineering conception of design disciplines. The definition of formal language is used to instantiate the generic engineering conception resulting in the conception of formal language design. The basis of the framework that forms the second part of the thesis is the Z notation enriched with Category theory. This notation is used to instantiate the conception outlined in the first part of the thesis. Pre-order categories are advocated as the basis for representing conflicting requirements for formal languages. Category theory is used to develop a generalised notion for defining the syntax of languages that, when used by appropriate agents, satisfy language requirements. According to the conception, knowledge to support design is embodied in engineering principles. Categorial notions are used to describe the formal and empirical components of engineering principles.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: The Design of Formal Languages
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Thesis digitised by ProQuest.
Keywords: Language, literature and linguistics
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10102546
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