documenting formal operational semantics of Python

Paul Rubin http
Wed Mar 5 20:52:38 CET 2008

gideon <gideon.smeding at> writes:
> In the context of a master's thesis I'm currently looking into
> Python's operational semantics. Even after extensive searching on the
> web, I have not found any formal model of Python. Therefore I am
> considering to write one myself. 

I doubt if anything serious has been done in that area, and I don't
think Python culture operates like that very much.  Python programming
tends to use informal processes with a lot of reliance on test-driven
development and unit tests, rather than formal specifications.  A lot
of the operational behavior that people rely on basically comes from
accidents of implementation, e.g. file descriptors being closed
automatically when the last reference goes away.  But of course that
should not be included in a formal semantics, yet that means the
semantics wouldn't describe actual production programs out there.

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