The specifications are based on ordinary logic, and resemble Z and VDM. The laws of program development are clearly explained, and are illustrated with examples, case studies, exercises and answers.
The resulting programs are easily cast in conventional languages like Pascal. Recursion, modularity and data refinement are included.
Programming from Specifications is intended for both students and experienced programmers.
The refinement calculus is a notation and set of rules for deriving imperative programs from their specifications. It is distinguished from earlier methods (though based on them) because the derivations are carried out within a single ‘programming’ language: there is no separate language of specifications. So far, it has uncovered ‘miracles’, novel techniques of data refinement, a simpler treatment of procedures, ‘conjunction’ of programs, and a lightweight treatment of types in simple imperative programs.
The integration of specifications and code was proposed by R.-J. R. Back in the late 1970’s, when he inserted specifications into Dijkstra’s language based on weakest preconditions. At Oxford, this same idea, although much later, was amplified both by the strong research tradition in specification and by the challenge offered by the University’s new undergraduate degree course in computer science.
On the Refinement Calculus gives one view of the development of the refinement calculus and its attempt to bring together – among other thinqs – Z specifications and Dijkstra’s programming language. It is an excellent source of reference material for all those seeking the background and mathematical underpinnings of the refinement calculus.
The chapters are collected into three parts: Models and correctness Programming techniques Applications and automated theories