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The theory of domains was established in order to have appropriate spaces on which to define semantic functions for the denotational approach to programming-language semantics. There were two needs: first, there had to be spaces of several different types available to mirror both the type distinctions in the languages and also to allow for different kinds of semantical constructs - especially in dealing with languages with side effects; and second, the theory had to account for computability properties of functions - if the theory was going to be realistic. The first need is complicated by the fact that types can be both compound (or made up from other types) and recursive (or self-referential), and that a high-level language of types and a suitable semantics of types is required to explain what is going on. The second need is complicated by these complications of the semantical definitions and the fact that it has to be checked that the level of abstraction reached still allows a precise definition of computability.
Carl A. Gunter, Peter D. Mosses, and Dana S. Scott, "Semantic Domains and Denotational Semantics", . February 1989.
Date Posted: 25 January 2008