I spent a week trying to implement higher-order pattern unification. I looked at couple of PhD dissertations, talked to lots of smart people, and failed because the substitutions were just getting in the way all the time. So today we are going to bite the bullet and implement de Bruijn indices and explicit substitutions.
The code is available on Github in the repository andrejbauer/tt (the
I am on a roll. In the second post on how to implement dependent type theory we are going to:
- Spiff up the syntax by allowing more flexible syntax for bindings in functions and products.
- Keep track of source code locations so that we can report where the error has occurred.
- Perform normalization by evaluation.
I am spending a semester at the Institute for Advanced Study where we have a special year on Univalent foundations. We are doing all sorts of things, among others experimenting with type theories. We have got some real experts here who know type theory and Coq inside out, and much more, and they’re doing crazy things to Coq (I will report on them when they are done). In the meanwhile I have been thinking how one might implement dependent type theories with undecidable type checking. This is a tricky subject and I am certainly not the first one to think about it. Anyhow, if I want to experiment with type theories, I need a small prototype first. Today I will present a very minimal one, and build on it in future posts.
Make a guess, how many lines of code does it take to implement a dependent type theory with universes, dependent products, a parser, lexer, pretty-printer, and a toplevel which uses line-editing when available?
Alg is a program for enumeration of finite models of single-sorted first-order theories. These include groups, rings, fields, lattices, posets, graphs, and many more. Alg was written as a class project by Aleš Bizjak, a student of mine whose existence I cannot confirm with a URL. I joined the effort, added bells and whistles, as well as an alternative algorithm that works well for relational structures. Alg is ready for public consumption, although it should be considered of “beta” quality. Instructions for downloading alg are included at the end of this post.
[UPDATE 2012-03-08: since this post was written eff has changed considerably. For updated information, please visit the eff page.]
This is a second post about the programming language eff. We covered the theory behind it in a previous post. Now we turn to the programming language itself.
Please bear in mind that eff is an academic experiment. It is not meant to take over the world. Yet. We just wanted to show that the theoretical ideas about the algebraic nature of computational effects can be put into practice. Eff has many superficial similarities with Haskell. This is no surprise because there is a precise connection between algebras and monads. The main advantage of eff over Haskell is supposed to be the ease with which computational effects can be combined.