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Datatype-Generic Programming

6th October 2003 to 5th October 2006
Many programs have to be rewritten time and again for different datatypes because current programming languages do not allow the programmer to abstract from the structure of the data that the program manipulates. Datatype-generic programming --parameterising program datatypes-- will provide this kind of abstraction, enabling the programmer to write statically-checkable generic shape-dependent programs that exploit the inherent structure of data. The vast amounts of data on the internet make the effective exploitation of data structure a very challenging and timely endeavour; theoretical developments over the last decade add to its timeliness. We propose two work programmes on "specification and calculation methods", to manage the challenge of developing datatype-generic programs, and "datatype-generic object-oriented programming", rationalising the design patterns and similar movements in object technology. The third component of the proposal, the design of a structure editor exploiting different views of a collection of data, will unite the two programmes and help to realise the developed ethodology and design techniques in a practical programming environment.

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