PASCAL-XSC: PASCAL for Extended Scientific Computing

Institut für Angewandte Mathematik, Forschungsschwerpunkt CAVN, Universität Karlsruhe
Wissenschaftliches Rechnen/Softwaretechnologie, Universität Wuppertal
The programming language PASCAL-XSC was developed to supply a powerful tool for the numerical solution of scientific problems based upon a properly defined and implemented computer arithmetic in the usual spaces of numerical computation. The main concepts of PASCAL-XSC are
  • ISO Standard PASCAL
  • Universal operator concept (user-defined operators)
  • Functions and operators with arbitrary result type
  • Overloading of procedures, functions, and operators
  • Access to subarrays
  • String concept
  • Controlled rounding
  • Optimal (exact) scalar product
  • Predefined type dotprecision (a fixed point format to cover the whole range of floating-point products)
  • Additional arithmetic built-in types such as complex, interval, rvector, rmatrix, etc.
  • Highly accurate arithmetic for all built-in types
  • Highly accurate elementary functions
  • Exact evaluation of expressions within accurate expressions (#-expressions)

  • Interval arithmetic, complex arithmetic, complex interval arithmetic, and the corresponding vector and matrix arithmetics are provided. Application modules have been implemented in PASCAL-XSC for solving common numerical problems, such as All these problem-solving routines provide automatically verified results.

    In the subsequent paragraphs, the most important new concepts are considered briefly.

    Universal Operator Concept and Arbitrary Result Type

    PASCAL-XSC makes programming easier by allowing the programmer to define functions and operators with arbitrary result type. The advantages of these concepts are illustrated by the simple example of polynomial addition. Define the type polynomial by
    const maximum_degree = 20;
    type polynomial = array [0..maximum_degree] of real;
    in Standard PASCAL, the addition of two polynomials is implemented as a procedure
    procedure add (a, b: polynomial; var c: polynomial);
      { Computes c = a + b for polynomials }
      var i: integer;
        for i:= 0 to maximum_degree do
          c[i]:= a[i] + b[i];
    Several calls of add have to be used to compute the expression z = a + b + c + d:
    add (a,b,z);
    add (z,c,z);
    add (z,d,z);
    In PASCAL-XSC, we define a function with the result type polynomial
    function add (a, b: polynomial): polynomial;
      { Delivers the sum a + b for polynomials }
      var i: integer;
        for i:= 0 to maximum_degree do
          add[i]:= a[i] + b[i];
    Now, the expression z = a + b + c + d may be computed as
    z:= add(a,add(b,add(c,d)))
    Even clearer is the operator in PASCAL-XSC
    operator + (a, b: polynomial) result_polynomial : polynomial;
      { Delivers the sum a + b for polynomials }
      var i: integer;
        for i:= 0 to maximum_degree do
          result_polynomial[i]:= a[i] + b[i];
    Now, the expression may be written in the common mathematical notation
    z:= a+b+c+d
    A programmer may also define a new name as an operator. A priority is assigned in a preceding priority declaration.

    Overloading of Procedures, Functions, and Operators

    PASCAL-XSC permits the overloading of function and procedure identifiers. A generic name concept allows the programmer to apply the identifiers sin, cos, exp, ln, arctan, and sqrt not only for real numbers but also for intervals, complex numbers, or elements of other mathematical spaces. Overloaded functions and procedures are distinguished by number, order, and type of their parameters. The result type is not used for distinction.

    As illustrated above, operators may also be overloaded. Even the assignment operator := may be overloaded so that the mathematical notation may be used for assignments:

      c: complex;
      r: real;
    operator := (var c : complex; r: real);
      begin := r; := 0;
      r:= 1.5;
      c:= r;  {complex number with real part 1.5 and imaginary part 0}

    Module Concept

    The module concept allows the programmer to separate large programs into modules and to develop and compile them independently of each other. The control of syntax and semantics may be carried out beyond the bounds of the modules. Modules are introduced by the reserved word module followed by a name and a semicolon. The body of a module is built up quite similarly to that of a common PASCAL program. The significant exception is that the objects to be exported from the module are characterized by the reserved word global directly in front of the reserved words const, type, var, procedure, function, and operator and directly after use and the equality sign in type declarations. Thus, private types as well as non-private types can be declared and exported. Modules are imported into other modules or programs via a use-clause. The semantics of the use-clause are that all objects declared global in the imported module are also known in the importing module or program. The example of a polynomial arithmetic module illustrates the structure of a module:
    module poly;
      use {other modules}
      {local declarations}
      {global declarations}
      global type  polynomial = ...
      global procedure read (...
      global procedure write (...
      global operator + (...
      global operator * (...
      {initialization part of the module}
    end. {module poly}

    Dynamic Arrays and Subarrays

    The concept of dynamic arrays enables the programmer to implement algorithms independently of the length of the arrays used. The index ranges of dynamic arrays are not to be defined until run-time. Procedures, functions, and operators may be programmed in a fully dynamic manner, since allocation and release of local dynamic variables are executed automatically. Hence, the memory is used optimally. For example, a dynamic type polynomial may be declared in the following form:
    type  polynomial = dynamic array [*] of real;
    When declaring variables of this dynamic type, the index bounds have to be specified:
    var  p, q : polynomial [0..2*n];
    where the values of the expressions for the index range are computed during program execution. To get access to the bounds of dynamic arrays which are specified only during execution of the program, the two functions lbound(...) and ubound(...) and their abbreviations lb(...) and ub(...) are supplied. The multiplication of two polynomials may be realized dynamically as follows:
    operator * (a, b: polynomial)
               product: polynomial[0..ubound(a)+ubound(b)];
      { Delivers the product a * b of two polynomials a, b }
      var i, j   : integer;
          result : polynomial[0..ubound(a)+ubound(b)];
        for i:= 0 to ubound(a)+ubound(b) do
          result[i]:= 0;
        for i:= 0 to ubound(a) do
          for j:= 0 to ubound(b) do
            result[i+j]:= result[i+j] + a[i] * b[j];
        product:= result;
    A PASCAL-XSC program using dynamic arrays for polynomials follows the template
    program dynatest (input, output);
    type polynomial = dynamic array [*] of real;
    var  maximum_degree : integer;
    operator * (a, b:polynomial)...
    procedure write (var f : text; p: polynomial);
    procedure main (degree : integer);
        p,q : polynomial[];
        r   : polynomial[0..2*degree];
        r:= p * q;
        writeln ('p*q = ', r);
    begin {main program}
      read (maximum_degree);
      main (maximum_degree);
    end. {main program}
    The following example demonstrates that it is possible to access a row or a column of dynamic arrays as a single object. This is called slice notation.
    type vector =  dynamic array [*] of real;
    type matrix =  dynamic array [*] of vector;
    var  v : vector[1..n];
         m : matrix[1..n,1..n];
      v      := m[i];   { i-th row of m    }
      m[*,j] := v;      { j-th column of m }
    Current releases (Version 3.0 and higher) of PASCAL-XSC include the concept of flexible arrays. A dynamic array is called flexible if it can be allocated with new index bounds and new size at any time during its lifetime. In the following example, we use a flexible real vector to perform some computations until a desired accuracy is achieved.
    type vector = dynamic array [*] of real;
    procedure high_accuracy (basic_length: integer; result: real);
      accurate : boolean;
      rvec     : vector;
      k        : integer;
      accurate := false;   k := 0;
        k:= k+1;
        allocate (rvec, 1..k*basic_length);
        ...  { computations }
        accurate := ...
        free (rvec);   { might be omitted }
      until accurate;
      result := ...
    For a detailed description of flexible arrays, see the references below.

    String Concept

    A string concept is integrated into the language PASCAL-XSC to handle character strings of variable length. Declaration, input, and output of strings are simplified extensively compared to the facilities of Standard PASCAL. Special predefined functions and operators enable the programmer to formulate and manipulate string expressions.

    Arithmetic and Rounding

    Compared with Standard PASCAL, the set of operators for real numbers is extended by the directed-rounding operators o< and o> with o in { +, -, *, / }. These symbols denote the operations with upwardly and downwardly directed rounding. In the arithmetic modules, the common operators are also provided for complex numbers, intervals, complex intervals, and also for vectors and matrices over these spaces.

    Accurate Expressions

  • Januschke, P., Ratz, D.: A Survey of PASCAL-XSC and a Language Reference Supplement on Dynamic and Flexible Arrays. Forschungsschwerpunkt Computerarithmetik, Intervallrechnung und Numerische Algorithmen mit Ergebnisverifikation, Bericht 1/1998.
  • Klatte, R., Kulisch, U., Neaga, M., Ratz, D., Ullrich, Ch.: PASCAL-XSC - Sprachbeschreibung mit Beispielen. Springer-Verlag, Heidelberg, 1991.
  • Klatte, R., Kulisch, U., Neaga, M., Ratz, D., Ullrich, Ch.: PASCAL-XSC - Language Reference with Examples. Springer-Verlag, New York, 1992.
  • Numerik Software GmbH: PASCAL-XSC: A PASCAL Extension for Scientific Computation. User's Guide. Numerik Software GmbH, Rettigstr. 6, D-76530 Baden-Baden,
  • Please note: several of these books are now out of print. They may be downloaded from our website

    How can I get the Pascal-XSC compiler?

    There are several free versions of PASCAL-XSC available for download from our www-server