Semantics of asynchronous JavaScript

Matthew C. Loring, Mark Marron, Daan Leijen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


JavaScript code running in the Node.js runtime is a major platform for developers building cloud, mobile, or IoT applications. A fundamental concept in Node.js programming is the use of asynchronous callbacks and event loops to provide highly responsive applications. While conceptually simple, this programming model contains numerous subtleties and behaviors that are defined implicitly by the current Node.js implementation. This paper presents the first comprehensive formalization of the Node.js asynchronous execution model and defines a high-level notion of async-contexts to formalize fundamental relationships between asynchronous executions in an application. These formalizations provide a foundation for the construction of static or dynamic program analysis tools, support the exploration of alternative Node.js event loop implementations, and provide a high-level conceptual framework for reasoning about relationships between the execution of asynchronous callbacks in a Node.js application.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)51-62
Number of pages12
JournalACM SIGPLAN Notices
Issue number11
StatePublished - Oct 24 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 Owner/Author.


  • Asynchrony
  • JavaScript

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Computer Science


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