In this paper we take a look at partial evaluation from the point of view of symbolic computation systems, point out some challenging new applications for partial evaluation in such systems, and outline some criteria for a theory of partial evaluation. The key features of symbolic computation systems are summarized along with work on semantics of such systems which will hopefully aid in meeting the challenges. The new applications are illustrated by an example using on the concept of component configuration. This is a new idea for software development, based on the use of higer–order and reflective computation mechanisms, that generalizes such ideas as modules, classes, and programming in the large.
Keywords: components, configuration, partial evaluation, function abstraction, control abstraction, process abstraction, objects with memory