Mathematics and Computation

A blog about mathematics for computers

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Posts in the year 2007

Seemingly impossible functional programs

Andrej has invited me to write about certain surprising functional programs. The first program, due to Ulrich Berger (1990), performs exhaustive search over the “Cantor space” of infinite sequences of binary digits. I have included references at the end. A weak form of exhaustive search amounts to checking whether or not a total predicate holds for all elements of the Cantor space. Thus, this amounts to universal quantification over the Cantor space. Can this possibly be done algorithmically, in finite time?

The Role of the Interval Domain in Modern Exact Real Arithmetic

With Iztok Kavkler.

Abstract: The interval domain was proposed by Dana Scott as a domain-theoretic model for real numbers. It is a successful theoretical idea which also inspired a number of computational models for real numbers. However, current state-of-the-art implementations of real numbers, e.g., Mueller's iRRAM and Lambov's RealLib, do not seem to be based on the interval domain. In fact, their authors have observed that domain-theoretic concepts such as monotonicity of functions hinder efficiency of computation.

I will review the data structures and algorithms that are used in modern implementations of exact real arithmetic. They provide important insights, but some questions remain about what theoretical models support them, and how we can show them to be correct. It turns out that the correctness is not always clear, and that the good old interval domain still has a few tricks to offer.

Synthetic Computability (MFPS XXIII Tutorial)

A tutorial presented at the Mathematical Foundations of Programming Semantics XXIII Tutorial Day.

Metric Spaces in Synthetic Topology

With Davorin Lešnik.

Abstract: We investigate the relationship between constructive theory of metric spaces and synthetic topology. Connections between these are established by requiring a relationship to exist between the intrinsic and the metric topology of a space. We propose a non-classical axiom which has several desirable consequences, e.g., that all maps between separable metric spaces are continuous in the sense of metrics, and that, up to topological equivalence, a set can be equipped with at most one metric which makes it complete and separable.

Presented at: 3rd Workshop on Formal Topology

Implementing real numbers with RZ

With Iztok Kavkler.

Abstract: RZ is a tool which translates axiomatizations of mathematical structures to program speciï¬cations using the realizability interpretation of logic. This helps programmers correctly implement data structures for computable mathematics. RZ does not prescribe a particular method of implementation, but allows programmers to write efficient code by hand, or to extract trusted code from formal proofs, if they so desire. We used this methodology to axiomatize real numbers and implemented the speciï¬cation computed by RZ. The axiomatization is the standard domain-theoretic construction of reals as the maximal elements of the interval domain, while the implementation closely follows current state-of-the-art implementations of exact real arithmetic. Our results shows not only that the theory and practice of computable mathematics can coexist, but also that they work together harmoniously.

Presented at Computability and Complexity in Analysis 2007.

On a proof of Cantor's theorem

The famous theorem by Cantor states that the cardinality of a powerset $P(A)$ is larger than the cardinality of $A$. There are several equivalent formulations, and the one I want to consider is

Theorem (Cantor): There is no onto map $A \to P(A)$.

In this post I would like to analyze the usual proof of Cantor's theorem and present an insightful reformulation of it which has applications outside set theory.

RZ: a tool for bringing constructive and computable mathematics closer to programming practice

With Chris Stone.

Abstract:
Realizability theory is not only a fundamental tool in logic and computability, but also has direct application to the design and implementation of programs: it can produce interfaces for the data structure corresponding to a mathematical theory. Our tool, called RZ, serves as a bridge between the worlds of constructive mathematics and programming. By using the realizability interpretation of constructive mathematics, RZ translates specifications in constructive logic into annotated interface code in Objective Caml. The system supports a rich input language allowing descriptions of complex mathematical structures. RZ does not extract code from proofs, but allows any implementation method, from handwritten code to code extracted from proofs by other tools.

Presented at Computablity in Europe 2007.