Ott is a tool for writing definitions of programming languages and
calculi. It takes as input a definition of a language syntax and
semantics, in a concise and readable ASCII notation that is close to
what one would write in informal mathematics. It generates LaTeX to
build a typeset version of the definition, and Coq, HOL, and Isabelle
versions of the definition. Additionally, it can be run as a filter,
taking a LaTeX/Coq/Isabelle/HOL source file with embedded (symbolic)
terms of the defined language, parsing them and replacing them by
For a simple example, here is an
Ott source file for an untyped call-by-value
lambda calculus (
LaTeX (compiled to pdf)
and (compiled to ps),
Most simply, the tool can be used to aid completely informal LaTeX mathematics. Here it permits the definition, and terms within proofs and exposition, to be written in a clear, editable, ASCII notation, without LaTeX noise. It generates good-quality typeset output. By parsing (and so sort-checking) this input, it quickly catches a range of simple errors, e.g. inconsistent use of judgement forms or metavariable naming conventions.
That same input can be used to generate formal definitions, for Coq, HOL, and Isabelle. It should thereby enable a smooth transition between use of informal and formal mathematics. Additionally, the tool can automatically generate definitions of functions for free variables, single and multiple substitutions, subgrammar checks (e.g. for value subgrammars), and binding auxiliary functions. At present only a fully concrete representation of binding, without quotienting by alpha equivalence, is fully supported. An experimental backend generates a locally-nameless representation of terms for a subset of the Ott metalanguage: details can be found here.
The distribution includes several examples, in varying levels of completeness: untyped and simply typed lambda-calculus, a calculus with ML polymorphism, the POPLmark Fsub with and without records, an ML module system taken from (Leroy, JFP 1996) and equipped with an operational semantics, and LJ, a lightweight Java fragment. More substantially, Ott has been used for work on iJAM and LJAM, Java Module Systems, by Rok Strniša, and semantics for OCaml light, by Scott Owens.
A release of the Ott source is available, and comment and feedback would be much appreciated.
ott_distro_0.21.2.tar.gztarball (includes the manual)
|Untyped CBV lambda||3||
|Simply typed CBV lambda||6||
|TAPL roughly-full-simple||63||(sources)||(ps)||(Coq (including records))||(HOL)||(script)||(Isabelle)||(script)|
|POPLmark Fsub (*)||48||(sources)||(latex)||(pdf) (ps)|
|Leroy JFP96 module system (*)||67||
|LJ: Lightweight Java||85||(sources)||(pdf)||(Isabelle)||(zip)|
|LJAM: Java Module System||163||(sources)||(pdf)||(Isabelle)||(zip)|
(all files except the proof scripts are generated from the Ott sources)
(*) These systems would need explicit alpha conversion in the rules to capture the intended semantics using the fully concrete representation.