IMC011 Semantics and Domain Theory Spring 2012


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, to be abbreviated to DENS for now. (Available via internet: PDF file)
  2. Grondslagen van de Informatica 2 course notes by Erik Barendsen, August 1988, pages 22-23 and Ch. 3-4.
  3. Selected sections (Ch. 3.1 and 3.2) from Domains and Lambda Calculi by Roberto Amadio and Pierre-Louis Curien, Cambridge University Press, 1998, pp: 484 not done this year
  4. Selected sections (Ch. 13) from Formal Semantics of Programming Languages by Glynn Winskel, MIT Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1993.
  5. Selected sections (Ch. 2 and Ch. 8 until page 260) from Semantics of Programming Languages: Structures and Techniques, by Carl Gunter, MIT Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1992.
Background material, notably on operational semantics can be found in Hanne Riis Nielson en Flemming Nielson: Semantics with applications, Wiley 1999 (now freely available).


The course is divided roughly into 3 parts:

Set up

The course consists of 2 hours combined "hoor-/werkcollege" TUESDAY, 13:45--15:30, in 5-7, 9-13, 16-17, 19-25 HG 00.058, plus "self study" and possibly question time on demand.

The course by week

The following gives a rough schedule.
  1. week 5: Chapter 1 of DENS: notes and exercises.
  2. week 6: Chapter 1 of DENS, exercises.
  3. week 7: Chapter 2 of DENS, until page 13, exercises.
  4. week 9: Chapter 3 of DENS until page 20, exercises.
  5. week 10: Chapter 4 of DENS until slide 21, exercises.
  6. week 11: Chapter 5 of DENS until page 40, exercises.
  7. week 12: Chapter 5 of DENS, exercises.
  8. week 13: NO LECTURE
  9. week 16: Chapter 6 of DENS, exercises.
  10. week 17: Chapter 7 of DENS exercises.
  11. week 19: Chapter 8 of DENS exercises.
  12. week 20: Recap of DENS
  13. week 21: Chapter 2 and Section 8.1 of Gunter exercises.
  14. week 22: Chapter 3 and Section 4.1 of the notes by Erik Barendsen exercises.
  15. week 23: Chapter 4 of the notes by Erik Barendsen
  16. week 24: Chapter 13 of Winskel-MIT on recursive types and hand out of test exam
  17. week 25: Recap of part 2, answers of exercises and test exam


Tuesday 15:30 -- 17:30, week 26, HG 00.310, written exam.


herman at cs dot ru dot nl