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Lectures on Nominal Syntax and Semantics
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Lectures on Nominal Syntax and Semantics

International Summer School on Applied Semantics, Fauenchiemsee, Germany, 8-12 September, 2005

Formal languages involving names and constructs that bind names abound in computer science. Much effort has been expended to find mathematical theories of "syntax modulo renaming bound names" that have good logical and computational properties, but are also easy to use. These lectures introduce the theory and applications of "nominal sets", a new mathematical model of names and binding based on simple, but subtle ideas to do with permutations of names that first arose in mathematical logic in the 1930s. At the heart of the approach is the notion of "finitely supported" mathematical objects. The lectures will explain the idea in as concrete a way as possible and will discuss its consequences for programming language semantics and for the design of functional and logical metaprogramming languages.

  • Lecture notes [pdf]
  • Slides [lecture 1 (pdf), lecture 2 (pdf), lecture 3 (pdf)]
  • Ten exercises on nominal sets [pdf]