On Teaching Logic and Algebraic Specification

Till Mossakowski

In: Frank Drewes , Annegret Habel , Berthold Hoffmann , Detlef Plump (Hrsg.). Manipulation of Graphs, Algebras and Pictures. Essays Dedicated to Hans-Jörg Kreowski on the Occasion of His 60th Birthday. Seiten 269-286 Universität Bremen 2009.


Courses on algebraic specification and logic have been important cornerstones of teaching theoretical computer science for many years. Moreover, algebraic specification and logic are applied in areas like software specification and verification, but also in ontologies and weak artificial intelligence1, and other areas. During my studies, I myself was greatly in uenced by courses on algebraic specification and logic. The logic courses mainly provided a very abstract and dry introduction to the formalities of logic | the motivation for logic needed to have arisen independently of the course. By contrast, Hans-Jörg Kreowski always has carefully motivated his courses on algebraic specification (and other subjects), has brought spirit into concepts by using a graphic and descriptive style of presentation, and activated students by insisting on getting them answer questions, discuss points and solve exercises, with room for developing own ideas (especially within so-called student projects, a specialty of Bremen university). This teaching greatly in uenced my choice of research subject. Dear Hans-Jörg, I wish you all the best for your 60th birthday, and please continue your mixture of brilliant research and excellent teaching even though facing the fact that our university system by far does not encourage and support the latter to the degree actually needed,2 and also students often are not used to an activating teaching style. In this work, I will report on some research and some teaching I have done in the context of the Common Algebraic Specification Language (Casl [3,4]). Casl is a common language for algebraic specification that has been initiated by the IFIP working group 1.3 "Foundations of systems specification" (see also the report [1]), which was founded and initially lead by Hans-Jörg Kreowski.

Deutsches Forschungszentrum für Künstliche Intelligenz
German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence