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Probabilistic operational semantics for the lambda calculus

  • Ugo Dal Lago (a1) and Margherita Zorzi (a2)


Probabilistic operational semantics for a nondeterministic extension of pure λ-calculus is studied. In this semantics, a term evaluates to a (finite or infinite) distribution of values. Small-step and big-step semantics, inductively and coinductively defined, are given. Moreover, small-step and big-step semantics are shown to produce identical outcomes, both in call-by-value and in call-by-name. Plotkin’s CPS translation is extended to accommodate the choice operator and shown correct with respect to the operational semantics. Finally, the expressive power of the obtained system is studied: the calculus is shown to be sound and complete with respect to computable probability distributions.



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Probabilistic operational semantics for the lambda calculus

  • Ugo Dal Lago (a1) and Margherita Zorzi (a2)


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