IMC011 Semantics and Domain Theory Spring 2016


Herman Geuvers: home page


Denotational Semantics is about assigning a mathematical meaning to syntax (in particular, that of programming languages) which is, in some sense, independent of how the syntax is presented, or what computational rules it may obey (which are properly the subject matter of Operational Semantics).

Domain Theory is the mathematics of the objects, sets-with-structure, and mappings between them, which serve as a vehicle for denotational semantics.


  1. Lecture Notes on Denotational Semantics by Andy Pitts and Glynn Winskel, abbreviated to DENS for now. (Available via internet: PDF file)
  2. Grondslagen van de Informatica 2 course notes by Erik Barendsen, August 1988, abbreviated to GI2 for now
  3. Selected sections from From computation to foundations via functions and application: The lambda-calculus and its webbed models by Chantal Berline, Theoretical Computer Science 249 (2000) pp. 81-161.

Fresh up material for those who haven't followed Semantiek en Correctheid or have forgotten some of that:

  1. Material on operational semantics can be found in Hanne Riis Nielson en Flemming Nielson: Semantics with applications, Wiley 1999 (freely available).
  2. For a recap of lambda calculus, here is a set of selected pages from Introduction to Lambda Calculus by Barendregt and Barendsen. As exercises you may try 2.5 -- 2.10.

Further reading material:

  1. Ch. 3.1 and 3.2 of Domains and Lambda Calculi by Roberto Amadio and Pierre-Louis Curien, Cambridge University Press, 1998, pp: 484
  2. Ch. 13 of Formal Semantics of Programming Languages by Glynn Winskel, MIT Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1993.
  3. Ch. 2 and Ch. 8 until page 260 of Semantics of Programming Languages: Structures and Techniques, by Carl Gunter, MIT Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1992.


The course is divided roughly into 3 parts:

Set up

The course consists of 2 hours hoorcollege Wednesday, 15:45--17:30 (please check the location below as the room is not fixed!), plus "self study" and a "werkcollege" (exercise class) on Friday, 9:30--10:30.

Look below for updated information on the weekly schedule!

The course by week

The following is the weekly schedule. Every lecture on Wednesday is followed by an exercise class on Friday, 9:45-10:30 (to be agreed upon).
Year-week Order Date and Location Material Exercises
5 1 3/2, HG00.308 Chapter 1 of DENS: notes exercises, 5/2, HG03.082
6 Carnaval week, No lectures
7 2 17/2, HG00.308 Chapter 1 of DENS exercises, 19/2, HG03.082
8 3 24/2, HG00.308 Section 2.1 of DENS Note the time: 11:30-12:30 exercises, 26/2, HG00.108
9 I am at a Winter School in Estonia, No lectures
10 4 9/3, HG00.308 Chapter 2-3 of DENS until Section 3.2 (p. 23) exercises, 11/3, HG03.082
11 5 16/3, HG00.308 Section 3.2, 3.3, Chapter 4 of DENS until slide 21 exercises, 18/3, HG03.082
12 6 23/3, HG00.308 Chapter 4 of DENS until page 36 exercises, 25/3, HG03.082
13 7 30/3, HG00:058 Chapter 5 of DENS, until page 45 exercises, 1/4, 11:30-12:30 HG03.082
14 Exam week, No lectures
15 8 13/4, HG03.082 end of Chapter 5 + Chapter 6 of DENS until page 54 exercises, 15/4, HG03.082
16 9 20/4, HG03.082 end of Chapter 6 + Chapter 7 (not everything) of DENS exercises, 22/4, HG03.082
17 King's Day, No lectures
18 May holiday, No lectures
19 10 11/5, HG03.082 Chapter 8 of DENS + start of notes exercises, 13/5, HG03.082
20 11 18/5, HG03.082 Stable models: notes and exercises exercises, 20/5, HG03.082
21 I am a week off, No lectures
22 12 1/6, HG03.082 The notes of Berline exercises, 3/6, HG03.082
23 13 8/6, HG03.082 Sections 3.1, 3.2 and 3.3 of GI2 exercises, 10/6, HG03.082
24 14 15/6, HG03.082 Chapter 4 of GI2 exercises, 17/6, HG03.082
25 21/6, HG00:065 Question hour: 12:30-13:30, Here is a Test Exam and the handwritten answers to Test Exam.
25 15 22/6, HG00.058 EXAM: 12:30-15:30


The written exam is "open book", so you can take the course notes and your own notes to the exam. Dates:

herman at cs dot ru dot nl