Overall Objectives
Research Program
Application Domains
Highlights of the Year
New Software and Platforms
New Results
Bilateral Contracts and Grants with Industry
Partnerships and Cooperations
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Section: New Results

Language design and type systems

Full reduction in the presence of inconsistent assumptions

Participants : Didier Rémy, Gabriel Scherer.

Gabriel Scherer and Didier Rémy continued their work on assumption hiding and presented it at ESOP 2015 [22] . This work aims at restoring confluence when mixing full and weak reduction and providing a continuum between consistent and inconsistent abstraction. Assumption hiding supports fine-grained control of dependencies between computations and the logical hypotheses they depend on. Although studied for a language of coercions, the solution is more general and should be applicable to any language with abstraction over propositions that are left implicit, either for the user's convenience in a surface language or because they have been erased prior to computation in an internal language.

Equivalence and normalization of lambda-terms with sums

Participants : Gabriel Scherer, Guillaume Munch-Maccagnoni [Université Paris-Diderot, laboratoire PPS] .

Gabriel Scherer presented at TLCA 2015 his work on understanding equivalence of sum types using the proof-theoretical technique of focusing [24] . Independently, his collaboration with Guillaume Munch-Maccagnoni resulted in a presentation of sum equivalence using an abstract machine calculus [33] . This approach allows for a more concise and cleaner definition of the equivalence relation, and a finer-grained understanding of the role of purity assumptions in the program equivalence relation.

Types with unique inhabitants for code inference

Participants : Gabriel Scherer, Didier Rémy.

Gabriel Scherer and Didier Rémy presented at ICFP 2015 [23] an algorithm to decide whether a type has a unique inhabitant in the simply-typed lambda-calculus with sum types. This algorithm comes along with a prototype implementation. This minimal setting is not representative of the expressiveness of realistic programming languages, but already covers a first few interesting code inference scenarios for polymorphic libraries in functional languages with prenex polymorphism: for instance, we can infer the “bind” function of the exception monad.

Refactoring with ornaments in ML

Participants : Thomas Williams, Didier Rémy.

Thomas Williams and Didier Rémy continued working on ornaments for program refactoring and program transformation in ML. Ornaments have been introduced as a way to describe some changes in data type definitions that preserve their recursive structure, reorganizing, adding, or dropping some pieces of data. After a new data structure has been described as an ornament of an older one, some functions operating on the bare structure can be partially or sometimes totally lifted into functions operating on the ornamented structure.

We have previously described an algorithm to perform this lifting in ML. This description was informal. This year, we improved this algorithm by decomposing it in several steps and we formalized it. Using ornament inference, we first elaborate an ML program into a generic program, which can be seen as a template for all possible liftings of the original program. The generic program is defined in a superset of ML. It can then be instantiated with specific ornaments, and simplified back into an ML program. We also studied the properties of lifting, particularly the preservation of complexity and effects, with the aim of characterizing more precisely the syntactic liftings that can be produced by our algorithm.

On the practical side, our prototype ornamentation tool has been improved with an implementation of ornament inference. The generalized program gives a description of all possible extension points that must be filled by providing patches. In practice, a few heuristics are enough to automate most of the patching work. The rest can be filled interactively by the programmer. In the case of refactoring (the representation of a data type is modified without adding any data), the transformation is fully automatic.

The Mezzo programming language

Participants : Thibaut Balabonski [Université Paris Sud] , François Pottier, Jonathan Protzenko.

Mezzo is a programming language proposal whose untyped foundation is very much like OCaml (i.e., it is equipped with higher-order functions, algebraic data structures, mutable state, and shared-memory concurrency) and whose type system offers flexible means of describing ownership policies and controlling side effects.

A comprehensive paper, which contains both a tutorial introduction to Mezzo and a description of its formal definition and proof, was submitted to TOPLAS in 2014. This year, after a round of reviewing, it was revised and accepted for publication [11] . A reflection on the design of Mezzo was presented at SNAPL 2015 [21] .