Some data types are so simple that they tend to be reimplemented over and over again. This is certainly true for terms, tree-like data structures that can represent prefix formulae, syntax trees, intermediate code, and more. We first describe the motivation to introduce Annotated Terms (ATERMs): unifying several term formats, optimizing storage requirements by introducing maximal subterm sharing, and providing a language-neutral exchange format. Next, we present a brief overview of the ATERM technology itself and of its wide range of applications. A discussion of competing technologies and the future of ATERMs concludes the paper.
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Information and Software Technology
Software Engineering

van den Brand, M.G.J, & Klint, P. (2007). ATerms for manipulation and exchange of structured data: It's all about sharing. Information and Software Technology, 49(1), 55–64.