The Annual Peter Landin Semantics seminar will follow the AGM.


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


This online event will be held on Zoom.

15:30 - Informal chat with your own coffee/tea/biscuits
16:00 - AGM


  1. Apologies (Jonathan Bowen)
  2. Minutes of the previous AGM (Roger Carsley/Jonathan Bowen)
  3. Chairman's Report (Jonathan Bowen)
  4. Liaison Reports (Rob Hierons et al.)
  5. Statement of Accounts (John Cooke)
  6. Election of Officers and Committee Members* (Jonathan Bowen)
  7. Future events (Sofia Meacham/Jonathan Bowen et al.)
  8. FACS online (Jonathan Bowen/Tim Denvir et al.)
  9. Any other business

*Please email the current FACS chair, Jonathan Bowen on by the end of 1 December 2020 if you would like to stand for the position of chair, secretary, or treasurer, or to join the FACS committee.

17:15 - Informal chat with your own coffee/tea/biscuits
18:00 - Annual Peter Landin Semantics Seminar
19:30 - Close


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
3 December, 3:30pm - 7:30pm