Mathematics and Computation

A blog about mathematics for computers

Postsby categoryby yearall
earlier posts

We are marching on with the Every proof assistant series!

Mechanizing Meta-Theory in Beluga

Time: Thursday, May 28, 2020 from 16:00 to 17:00 (Central European Summer Time, UTC+2)
Location: online at Zoom ID 989 0478 8985
Speaker: Brigitte Pientka (McGill University)
Proof assistant: Beluga

Abstract: Mechanizing formal systems, given via axioms and inference rules, together with proofs about them plays an important role in establishing trust in formal developments. In this talk, I will survey the proof environment Beluga. To specify formal systems and represent derivations within them, Beluga relies on the logical framework LF; to reason about formal systems, Beluga provides a dependently typed functional language for implementing (co)inductive proofs about derivation trees as (co)recursive functions following the Curry-Howard isomorphism. Key to this approach is the ability to model derivation trees that depend on a context of assumptions using a generalization of the logical framework LF, i.e. contextual LF which supports first-class contexts and simultaneous substitutions.

Our experience demonstrated that Beluga enables direct and compact mechanizations of the meta-theory of formal systems, in particular programming languages and logics.

The video recording of the talk.

Upcoming talks:

continue reading

I am happy to announce the next seminar in the "Every proof assistant" series.

MMT: A Foundation-Independent Logical System

Time: Thursday, May 21, 2020 from 16:00 to 17:00 (Central European Summer Time, UTC+2)
Location: online at Zoom ID 989 0478 8985
Speaker: Florian Rabe (University of Erlangen)
Proof assistant: The MMT Language and System

Abstract: Logical frameworks are meta-logics for defining other logics. MMT follows this approach but abstracts even further: it avoids committing to any foundational features like function types or propositions. All MMT algorithms are parametric in a set of rules, which are self-contained objects plugged in by the language designer. That results in a framework general enough to develop many formal systems including other logical frameworks in it, enabling the rapidly prototyping of new language features.

Despite this high level of generality, it is possible to develop sophisticated results in MMT. The current release includes, e.g., parsing, type reconstruction, module system, IDE-style editor, and interactive library browser. MMT is systematically designed to be extensible, providing multiple APIs and plugin interfaces, and thus provides a versatile infrastructure for system development and integration.

This talk gives an overview of the current state of MMT and its future challenges. Examples are drawn from the LATIN project, a long-running project of building a modular, highly inter-related suite of formalizations of logics and related formal systems.

The video recording of the talk.

The spring schedule of talks is planned as follows:

continue reading (1 comment)

For a while now I have been contemplating a series of seminars titled "Every proof assistant" that would be devoted to all the different proof assistants out there. Apart from the established ones (Isabelle/HOL, Coq, Agda, Lean), there are other interesting experimental proof assistants, and some that are still under development, or just proofs of concept. I would like to know more about them, and I suspect I am not the only one.

continue reading (10 comments)

I forgot to record the fact that already two years ago I wrote a paper on Lawvere's fixed-point theorem in synthetic computability:

Andrej Bauer: On fixed-point theorems in synthetic computability. Tbilisi Mathematical Journal, Volume 10: Issue 3, pp. 167–181.

It was a special issue in honor of Professors Peter J. Freyd and F. William Lawvere on the occasion of their 80th birthdays.

Lawvere's paper "Diagonal arguments and cartesian closed categories proves a beautifully simple fixed point theorem.

Theorem: (Lawvere) If $e : A \to B^A$ is a surjection then every $f : B \to B$ has a fixed point.

Proof. Because $e$ is a surjection, there is $a \in A$ such that $e(a) = \lambda x : A \,.\, f(e(x)(x))$, but then $e(a)(a) = f(e(a)(a)$. $\Box$

Lawvere's original version is a bit more general, but the one given here makes is very clear that Lawvere's fixed point theorem is the diagonal argument in crystallized form. Indeed, the contrapositive form of the theorem, namely

Corollary: If $f : B \to B$ has no fixed point then there is no surjection $e : A \to B^A$.

immediately implies a number of famous theorems that rely on the diagonal argument. For example, there can be no surjection $A \to \lbrace 0, 1\rbrace^A$ because the map $x \mapsto 1 - x$ has no fixed point in $\lbrace 0, 1\rbrace$ -- and that is Cantors' theorem.

It not easy to find non-trivial instances to which Lawvere's theorem applies. Indeed, if excluded middle holds, then having a surjection $e : A \to B^A$ implies that $B$ is the singleton. We should look for interesting instances in categories other than classical sets. In my paper I do so: I show that countably based $\omega$-cpos in the effective topos are countable and closed under countable products, which gives us a rich supply of objects $B$ such that there is a surjection $\mathbb{N} \to B^\mathbb{N}$.

Enjoy the paper!

continue reading

It has been almost a decade since Matija Pretnar and I posted the first blog posts about programming with algebraic effects and handlers and the programming language Eff. Since then handlers have become a well-known control mechanism in programming languages.

Handlers and monads excel at simulating effects, either in terms of other effects or as pure computations. For example, the familiar state monad implements mutable state with (pure) state-passing functions, and there are many more examples. But I have always felt that handlers and monads are not very good at explaining how a program interacts with its external environment and how it gets to perform real-world effects.

Danel Ahman and I have worked for a while on attacking the question on how to better model external resources and what programming constructs are appropriate for working with them. The time is right for us to show what we have done so far. The theoretical side of things is explained in our paper Runners in action, Danel implemented a Haskell library Haskell-Coop to go with the paper, and I implemented a programming language Coop.

continue reading (5 comments)

Joel Hamkins advertised the following theorem on Twitter:

Theorem: All complete ordered fields are isomorphic.

The standard proof posted by Joel has two parts:

  1. A complete ordered field is archimedean.
  2. Using the fact that the rationals are dense in an archimedean field, we construct an isomorphism between any two complete ordered fields.

The second step is constructive, but the first one is proved using excluded middle, as follows. Suppose $F$ is a complete ordered field. If $b \in F$ is an upper bound for the natural numbers, construed as a subset of $F$, then so $b - 1$, but then no element of $F$ can be the least upper bound of $\mathbb{N}$. By excluded middle, above every $x \in F$ there is $n \in \mathbb{N}$.

So I asked myself and the constructive news mailing list what the constructive status of the theorem is. But something was amiss, as Fred Richman immediately asked me to provide an example of a complete ordered field. Why would he do that, don't we have the MacNeille reals? After agreeing on definitions, Toby Bartels gave the answer, which I am taking the liberty to adapt a bit and present here. I am probably just reinventing the wheel, so if someone knows an original reference, please provide it in the comments.

The theorem holds constructively, but for a bizarre reason: if there exists a complete ordered field, then the law of excluded middle holds, and the standard proof is valid!

continue reading (11 comments)

Published as arXiv:1807.05923.

Abstract: This note recapitulates and expands the contents of a tutorial on the mathematical theory of algebraic effects and handlers which I gave at the Dagstuhl seminar 18172 "Algebraic effect handlers go mainstream". It is targeted roughly at the level of a doctoral student with some amount of mathematical training, or at anyone already familiar with algebraic effects and handlers as programming concepts who would like to know what they have to do with algebra. We draw an uninterrupted line of thought between algebra and computational effects. We begin on the mathematical side of things, by reviewing the classic notions of universal algebra: signatures, algebraic theories, and their models. We then generalize and adapt the theory so that it applies to computational effects. In the last step we replace traditional mathematical notation with one that is closer to programming languages.

continue reading (2 comments)

The blog moved from Wordpress to Jekyll

You may have noticed that lately I have had trouble with the blog. It was dying periodically because the backend database kept crashing. It was high time I moved away from Wordpress anyway, so I bit the bullet and ported the blog.

continue reading (4 comments)

I gave a keynote talk "Derivations as Computations" at ICFP 2019.

continue reading

Here are the slides with speaker notes for the talk What is an explicit bijection which I gave at the 31st International Conference on Formal Power Series and Algebraic Combinatorics (FPSAC 2019). It was the "outsider" talk, where they invite someone to tell them something outside of their area.

So how does one sell homotopy type theory to people who are interested in combinatorics? That is a tough sell. I used my MathOverflow question "What is an explicit bijection?" to give a stand-up comedy introduction, after which I plunged into type theory. I am told I plunged a little too hard. For instance, people asked "why are we doing this" because I did not make it clear enough that we are trying to make a distinction between "abstractly exists" and "concretely constructed". Oh well, it’s difficult to explain homotopy type theory in 50 minutes. Anyhow, I hope you can get something useful from the slides.

Download slides: what-is-an-explicit-bijection.pdf

Video recording of the lecture is now available.

continue reading (2 comments)
later posts
Postsby categoryby yearall