Skip to main content

while programming language

while programming language A small imperative programming language whose programs are based on a signature Σ and are made from assignments, sequential composition, conditional statements, and while statements. Programs in the language are defined, using an abbreviated BNF notation, by

S ::= x:=t | S1;S2 |

if b then S1 else S2 fi |

while b do S od

where x is any variable, t is any term over the signature Σ, b is a Boolean term, and S, S1, and S2 are while programs. The role of the signature is to define the data types (and hence the types of variables needed) and the basic operations on data (and hence the terms that appear in assignments). The while programming language can compute functions and sets on any algebra with signature Σ. When applied to the simple algebra ({0,1,2,…} | 0, n+1)

of natural numbers, the while programs compute all partial recursive functions. The while language is an important language for the theoretical analysis of ideas about imperative programming. It is easily extended by adding constructs, such as the concurrent assignment, repeat and for statements, and nondeterministic constructs (like the random assignment x := ?).

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"while programming language." A Dictionary of Computing. . Encyclopedia.com. 21 Oct. 2018 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"while programming language." A Dictionary of Computing. . Encyclopedia.com. (October 21, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/computing/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/while-programming-language

"while programming language." A Dictionary of Computing. . Retrieved October 21, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/computing/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/while-programming-language

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.