The Annual Peter Landin Semantics seminar will follow the AGM.

Watch the video


Algol 60 @ 60: its place in formal semantics presentation (PDF)
Algol 60 @ 60: More on semantics presentation (PDF)


Tim Denvir and Troy Astarte - Algol 60 @ 60: its place in formal semantics


Tim Denvir and Troy Astarte - Algol 60 @ 60: its place in formal semantics

This talk celebrates the programming language Algol 60, 60 years on, especially its formal aspects. See also an article in the FACS FACTS newsletter (June 2020, pp. 7-12)

Algol 60, an inspiration for many languages which followed it, Pascal, C, Simula, Java and others, was very carefully defined. Following its predecessor International Algorithmic Language (IAL, or later ALGOL 58), its syntax was defined in BNF, itself a formal language, in the “Report” and “Revised Report on the Algorithmic Language Algol 60”, generally known as the Algol 60 Report.

From the report, it is clear that the whole project was guided by formal considerations, even if there was no specific formal semantics in the definition. Peter Landin was one of several people who published a formal semantics for Algol 60: Landin’s came in two parts in 1965 in CACM Volume 8.

This was an early part of an emerging zeitgeist for formal semantic specification of programming languages. The talk will describe some of the history of the language’s definition and the background of its authors, and will comment upon Peter Landin’s semantics and Algol’s relation to Church's λ-calculus. Some other semantic descriptions of ALGOL 60 will be overviewed in addition. Finally, the impact and influence of ALGOL 60 will be explored.

Our events are for adults aged 16 years and over.

This event is brought to you by: BCS FACS specialist group

Webinar: BCS-FACS 2020 AGM
Date and time
Thursday 3 December, 3:30pm - 7:30pm
This event is sold out