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Using Big-step and Small-step Semantics to Perform Declarative Debugging (High-level Work)


Declarative debugging is a semi-automatic debugging technique that abstracts the execution details to focus on results. This technique builds a debugging tree representing an incorrect computation and traverses it by asking questions to the user until the error is found. In previous works we have presented a declarative debugger for Maude specifications. Besides a programming language, Maude is a semantic framework where several other languages can be specified. However, our declarative debugger is only able to find errors in Maude specifications, so it cannot find bugs on the programs written on the languages being specified. We study in this paper how to modify our declarative debugger to find this kind of errors when defining programming languages using big-step and smallstep semantics, two generic approaches that allow to specify a wide range of languages in a natural way. We obtain our debugging trees by modifying the proof trees obtained from the semantic rules. We have extended our declarative debugger to deal with this kind of debugging, and examples have been developed to test its feasibility.

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