Wednesday, December 24, 2008

bipolarism theory

Another interesting conference, on Bi-Polarism Theory and Mathematics is Inconsistent. And while you're in the holiday spirit, check out The Twelf Days of Christmas.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

lies and updates

So in case you haven't realized, those promises to post more on this blog were just lies. Not gonna happen. But in the hope of generating a bit more content, and also to give this blog a more Web 2.0 feel, I've added a "google reader shared items" bar, which links to various posts by other people that I find interesting. Don't worry, there aren't plans for an AdSense bar in the near future.

A few other updates:

  • This past weekend there was a small workshop at CMU, Bernaysfest, dedicated to the life and work of Paul Bernays, a collaborator of David Hilbert. I snuck in, and heard a bunch of interesting talks on the history of proof theory. (Bernd Buldt's talk, listed as TBA on the schedule, was on "Mathematical practice and platonism: A phenomenological perspective", and quite interesting once I understood what he was trying to do. He wants to give an explanation for why so many mathematicians are platonists, why mathematical objects feel "real" to them, by looking at mathematics as a social process.) The workshop also brought Bill Tait, who last week gave a standing-room-only talk about cut-elimination in predicative systems (Richard Zach blogs about).
  • A month ago I gave a fluffy talk on "walking the way of duality" at the Student Seminar Series. Here are the slides, but I'm keeping the video to myself, thank you very much.
  • My refinement types paper was accepted to PLPV, as was Dan and Bob's paper, so we'll be going to Savannah.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Refinement types and computational duality

Apologies that this blog hasn't seen much action for a while. Hopefully that will get fixed soon, but then again the whole thesis thing might get in the way. This post is just to say that recently I've been having fun writing up a paper:

One lesson learned painfully over the past twenty years is the perilous interaction of Curry-style refinement typing with evaluation order and side-effects. This led eventually to the value restriction on polymorphism in ML, as well as, more recently, to similar artifacts in prototype refinement type systems for ML with intersection and union types. For example, some of the traditional subtyping laws for unions and intersections are unsound in the presence of effects, while union-elimination requires an evaluation context restriction in addition to the value restriction on intersection-introduction.

This paper reexamines the interaction between refinement types and evaluation order from the perspective of computational duality. Building on recent work on the Curry-Howard interpretation of focusing proofs as pattern-matching programs written in infinitary, higher-order syntax, I give a simple explanation of intersection and union types in the presence of effects, reconstructing phenomena such as the value restriction and differing subtyping laws for call-by-value and call-by-name-- not as ad hoc artifacts, but indeed as logical theorems. However, this abstract account using infinitary syntax has the drawback that refinement checking is undecidable---to address this, I show how to systematically construct a finitary syntax via defunctionalization, and then give an algorithmic refinement checking system. Parallel to the text, a formalization in the dependently-typed functional language Agda is described, both for the sake of clarifying these ideas, and also because it was an important guide in developing them. As one example, the Agda encoding split very naturally into an intrinsic ("Church") view of well-typed programs, and an extrinsic ("Curry") view of refinement typing for those programs.

Code available here.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Today is election day... maybe I can post about a couple unusual things today. First: go vote! If you live in Pennsylvania, are eligible to vote, are registered with a political party, and haven't voted already. (Not sure what segment of my huge readership that applies to.) Yesterday I heard Barack Obama speak at the Petersen Events Center. The content of the speech wasn't all that exciting (since it's all been said before), but I was very impressed by the fact that he made the effort for a last-minute, late-night stop in Pittsburgh. You could see on his face just how tired he was, but also that he knew the stakes, and was determined to keep standing up. It somewhat reminded me of kibadachi practice.

Second: over the weekend I met an old friend from college, Ben Schmidt, who now studies American history at Princeton. Later I was looking at his website, and saw that he has a very interesting paper about using a variation of Google's PageRank algorithm to rank PhD programs:

Ranking Doctoral Programs by Placement: A New Method
Benjamin M. Schmidt and Matthew M. Chingos
Forthcoming in PS: Political Science & Politics

Most existing rankings of graduate programs rely on some measure of faculty quality, whether it be reputation (as in the National Research Council and US News rankings), honors (prizes, membership in learned societies, etc.), or research quality and quantity (as in citation studies and publication counts). We propose a ranking that focuses instead on the success of a program’s graduates. By using stochastic matrices, it is possible to create a system in which programs essentially “vote” for each other by hiring graduates of other programs as professors in their own department. This system allows us to create an objective, results-oriented measure that is well suited to measure the quality of departments whose graduates aspire to academic positions. The rankings correlate well with reputational ranking systems, and include a per capita measure that recognizes the accomplishments of smaller but high quality programs.

Monday, April 14, 2008

a paper

Focusing on binding and computation
Dan Licata, Noam Zeilberger, and Robert Harper
To appear at LICS 08

Variable binding is a prevalent feature of the syntax and proof theory of many logical systems. In this paper, we define a programming language that provides intrinsic support for both representing and computing with binding. This language is extracted as the Curry-Howard interpretation of a focused sequent calculus with two kinds of implication, of opposite polarity. The representational arrow extends systems of definitional reflection with a notion of scoped inference rules, which are used to represent binding. On the other hand, the usual computational arrow classifies recursive functions defined by pattern-matching. Unlike many previous approaches, both kinds of implication are connectives in a single logic, which serves as a rich logical framework capable of representing inference rules that mix binding and computation.

Comments appreciated!

Saturday, April 12, 2008

just wait a second...

An article of faith is that the undecidability of the halting problem makes it impossible to restrict to terminating programs and still have a general-purpose programming language. On the other hand, another article of faith is that we'd be in big trouble if we allowed non-terminating proofs in mathematics (e.g., "Trust me, I have a proof of the Riemann Hypothesis, just wait a second..."). Why the double standard? Do we shackle ourselves by using a fragment of mathematics that disallows (we hope) non-terminating proofs? Or have we been too hasty to accept non-terminating programs? The latter stance is embraced in total functional programming. But I think the former is also not super crazy. With a more interactive notion of proof, potential non-termination would not be so dangerous.

Z: "I have a proof of the Riemann Hypothesis, can you add it to the Book?"

E: "Of course, but first can you tell me how you handle this tricky case?"

E presents tricky case to Z

Z: "Sure, no problem, this case is easily handled by, um, some math, er, ..."

Z stalls

E waits patiently, but keeps the Book firmly shut

In some sense, terminating proofs are just a time-saving mechanism for referees. It would indeed be a shame if Z wasted all of E's time with this pseudoproof of RH. On the other hand, E could be doing other things at the same time, such as drinking coffee, or running SETI@Home.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

anglo-franco photos

In Nottingham, a statue of Kevin Costner:

In London, my sister's cat Arras:

A group of angry Serbian protesters in London:

Chango Spasiuk!

The students at the Ecole Polytechnique in Lozère draw some neat murals:

Paris has a successful bike-sharing program:

The French are serious about their fast food.

The town of Antony, where I stayed with Kaustuv and Vivek, had a delightful Sunday market.

Un canard:

Indian fast food, near the Gare du Nord:

My gracious host Kaustuv:

Jean-Yves, after his first lecture on the Geometry of Interaction V:

Neither the subject nor the cameraman were prepared for this photo, hence
Paul-André came out a bit blurry. In real life, he is quite sharp!

Sunday, February 24, 2008

transatlantic updates

So I just arrived in Paris today. Last week I was in Nottingham at DTP, then visiting my sister in London. Both were awesome! In my talk at DTP, I began with some ludics propaganda, then tried to walk the audience through how to encode focusing with higher-order rules in Agda (and extract a functional programming language with explicit evaluation order and pattern-matching). You can check out the annotated agda code. I also had/overheard lots of great conversations, in particular Sebastian Hanowksy taught me some fascinating things about synthetic topology and the delay monad, and Anton Setzer/Peter Hancock piqued my interest in going back to Buchholz's work about the ω/Ω-rule. The highlight of the London visit was probably seeing Chango Spasiuk.

This week I'll be meeting with Paul-André Mellies, and giving talks at PPS and LIX.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Fun with polarity and unicode

> Dependent pattern-matching and unicode: a killer combination.
> I will try to post more about this in the next few days.

"Few" is subjective.

Before getting to the Agda code that Dan and I wrote, though, I wanted to talk a little bit about a neat, simple idea I learned recently. In this paper, I argued that one way to rationally reconstruct the linear logic notion of polarity was to turn to so-called proof-theoretic semantics, and in particular Michael Dummett's distinction between verificationist and pragmatist justifications of the logical rules. A verificationist meaning-theory supposes that connectives are defined by their introduction rules, and uses this definition to justify their elimination rules. A pragmatist meaning-theory supposes the opposite: connectives are defined by their elimination rules, and this justifies their introduction rules. Well, polarity lets us refine this picture: the positive connectives are defined by their introduction rules, the negative connectives by their elimination rules.

But another (more fun?) way to think about polarity is through game-theoretic semantics. Think of the truth of a proposition A as a game between Prover and Refuter: A is valid iff Prover has a winning strategy. So the meaning of a connective is essentially a set of rules for playing a game. A few examples:

  • [A ⊕ B] : This is a game where Prover begins by selecting either A or B, after which play proceeds by the rules of that game.

  • [A & B] : This is a game where Refuter begins by selecting either A or B, after which play proceeds by the rules of that game.

  • [A] : Play A, but with the roles of Prover and Refuter swapped.

  • [0] : Prover begins but has no moves, so Refuter automatically wins.

  • [⊤] : Refuter begins but has no moves, so Prover automatically wins.

The polarity of a connective/formula is just the answer to the important question: "Which player begins?" (By the way, this also gives another explanation for focus and inversion. Focus is just the fact that after making a move in the game A ⊕ B, Prover doesn't have to give up her turn to Refuter, e.g., A could itself be the game A₁⊕ A₂. Inversion is the fact that the second player really has no choice in the matter, e.g., in the game A ⊕ B, Refuter has to account for Prover playing either A or B.)

The reason I like this (I think pretty old) idea is that not only is it a good icebreaker at parties, but it also suggests a natural generalization, which Samson Abramsky (a bit tongue-in-cheek) calls Socially Responsive, Environmentally Friendly Logic. Rather than treating only 2-player games between Prover and Refuter, we can encode n-player games using n distinct polarities. For example, Abramsky defines the connective A ⊕α B as the game where α begins play, selecting between A and B. I think this is a really cool and promising generalization.

But anyways, today let's stick with the boring, bipolar world. I'm going to talk about how to give a focused encoding of polarized intuitionistic logic in Agda, which is simultaneously a deep embedding of a language with explicit evaluation order and pattern-matching. For those playing along, the full code is available here. Let's start with some boilerplate:

open import Data.List
open import Data.String renaming (_++_ to concat)

module Main where

Now we define the syntax of polarized formulas, as two mutually inductive datatypes.

module Types where
Atom : Set
Atom = String

data Pos : Set where
X⁺ : Atom -> Pos
↓ : Neg -> Pos
1⁺ : Pos
_*_ : Pos -> Pos -> Pos
0⁺ : Pos
_+_ : Pos -> Pos -> Pos
2⁺ : Pos
ℕ : Pos

data Neg : Set where
X- : Atom -> Neg
↑ : Pos -> Neg
⊤ : Neg
_→_ : Pos -> Neg -> Neg
_&_ : Neg -> Neg -> Neg

infixr 14 _→_
infixr 15 _&_
infixr 15 _+_
infixr 16 _*_

Positive formulas include positive atoms and shifted negative formulas, as well as strict products and sums. (We would call the units 1 and 0, but unfortunately Agda doesn't let us overload numerical constants.) For fun, we also defined the type of booleans 2⁺, and the type of natural numbers ℕ. Negative formulas include negative atoms and shifted positive formulas, as well as functions and lazy products. Observe the essential use of Unicode!

Now we define hypotheses (positive atoms or arbitrary negative formulas) and conclusions (negative atoms or arbitrary positive formulas), as well as some simple machinery for inspecting contexts. Contexts are basically lists of hypotheses, but since inversion introduces multiple hypotheses at a time, it is more convenient to work with lists of lists of hypotheses. Hence we define LCtx (linear context) and UCtx (unrestricted context), and the membership relationships ∈ and ∈∈. Proofs of membership are isomorphic to De Bruijn indices.

module Contexts where
open Types public

data Hyp : Set where
HP : Atom -> Hyp
HN : Neg -> Hyp

data Conc : Set where
CP : Pos -> Conc
CN : Atom -> Conc

LCtx : Set
LCtx = List Hyp

UCtx : Set
UCtx = List LCtx

data _∈_ : Hyp -> LCtx -> Set where
f0 : {h : Hyp} {Δ : LCtx} -> h ∈ (h :: Δ )
fS : {h h' : Hyp} {Δ : LCtx} -> h' ∈ Δ -> h' ∈ (h :: Δ)

data _∈∈_ : Hyp -> UCtx -> Set where
s0 : {h : Hyp} {Δ : LCtx} {Γ : UCtx} -> h ∈ Δ -> h ∈∈ (Δ :: Γ)
sS : {h : Hyp} {Δ : LCtx} {Γ : UCtx} -> h ∈∈ Γ -> h ∈∈ (Δ :: Γ)

Okay, now we can start the fun stuff. First we define patterns:

module Patterns where
open Contexts public

[_] : {A : Set} -> A -> List A
[_] x = x :: []

-- Pat⁺ Δ A⁺ = linear entailment "Δ ⇒ A⁺"
data Pat⁺ : LCtx -> Pos -> Set where
Px : {x : Atom} -> Pat⁺ [ HP x ] (X⁺ x)
Pu : {A⁻ : Neg} -> Pat⁺ [ HN A⁻ ] (↓ A⁻)
P<> : Pat⁺ [] 1⁺
Ppair : {Δ1 : LCtx} { Δ2 : LCtx } {A : Pos} {B : Pos}
-> Pat⁺ Δ1 A -> Pat⁺ Δ2 B -> Pat⁺ (Δ1 ++ Δ2) (A * B)

Pinl : {Δ : LCtx} {A B : Pos} -> Pat⁺ Δ A -> Pat⁺ Δ (A + B)
Pinr : {Δ : LCtx} {A B : Pos} -> Pat⁺ Δ B -> Pat⁺ Δ (A + B)
Ptt : Pat⁺ [] 2⁺
Pff : Pat⁺ [] 2⁺
Pz : Pat⁺ [] ℕ
Ps : {Δ : LCtx } -> Pat⁺ Δ ℕ -> Pat⁺ Δ ℕ

-- Pat⁻ Δ A⁻ c = linear entailment "Δ ; A⁻ ⇒ c"
data Pat⁻ : LCtx -> Neg -> Conc -> Set where
Dx : forall {x} -> Pat⁻ [] (X- x) (CN x)
Dp : forall {A⁺} -> Pat⁻ [] (↑ A⁺) (CP A⁺)
Dapp : {Δ1 : LCtx } {Δ2 : LCtx} {A⁺ : Pos} {B⁻ : Neg} {c : Conc}
-> Pat⁺ Δ1 A⁺ -> Pat⁻ Δ2 B⁻ c -> Pat⁻ (Δ2 ++ Δ1) (A⁺ → B⁻) c
Dfst : {Δ : LCtx} {A⁻ : Neg} {B⁻ : Neg} {c : Conc}
-> Pat⁻ Δ A⁻ c -> Pat⁻ Δ (A⁻ & B⁻) c
Dsnd : {Δ : LCtx} {A⁻ : Neg} {B⁻ : Neg} {c : Conc}
-> Pat⁻ Δ B⁻ c -> Pat⁻ Δ (A⁻ & B⁻) c

Observe that the constructors for Pat⁺ are just value patterns. The constructors for Pat⁻ are somewhat less familiar: they correspond to patterns for elimination contexts, which are sometimes called spines.

Finally, we define the generic focused sequent calculus:

module Logic where
open Patterns public

-- RFoc Γ A⁺ = right-focus "Γ ⊢ [A⁺]"
data RFoc : UCtx -> Pos -> Set where
Val : forall {Γ A⁺ Δ} -> Pat⁺ Δ A⁺ -> SatCtx Γ Δ -> RFoc Γ A⁺

-- LInv Γ c₀ c = left-inversion "Γ ; c₀ ⊢ c"
data LInv : UCtx -> Conc -> Conc -> Set where
Id- : forall {Γ X- } -> LInv Γ (CN X-) (CN X-)
Fn : forall {Γ A⁺ c}
-> ({Δ : LCtx} -> Pat⁺ Δ A⁺ -> UnFoc (Δ :: Γ) c)
-> LInv Γ (CP A⁺) c

-- RInv Γ h = right-inversion "Γ ⊢ h;"
data RInv : UCtx -> Hyp -> Set where
Susp : forall {Γ A⁻ }
-> ({Δ : LCtx} {c : Conc} -> Pat⁻ Δ A⁻ c -> UnFoc (Δ :: Γ) c)
-> RInv Γ (HN A⁻)
Id+ : forall {Γ X⁺ } -> ((HP X⁺) ∈∈ Γ) -> RInv Γ (HP X⁺)

-- LFoc Γ A⁻ c = left-focus "Γ ; [A⁻] ⊢ c"
data LFoc : UCtx -> Neg -> Conc -> Set where
Spine : forall {Δ A⁻ c0 c Γ} -> Pat⁻ Δ A⁻ c0 -> SatCtx Γ Δ -> LInv Γ c0 c
-> LFoc Γ A⁻ c

-- UnFoc Γ c = unfocused "Γ ⊢ c"
data UnFoc : UCtx -> Conc -> Set where
Ret : forall {Γ A⁺ } -> RFoc Γ A⁺ -> UnFoc Γ (CP A⁺)
App : forall {Γ A⁻ c} -> ((HN A⁻) ∈∈ Γ) -> LFoc Γ A⁻ c -> UnFoc Γ c

-- SatCtx Γ Δ = conjoined inversion "Γ ⊢ Δ;"
data SatCtx : UCtx -> LCtx -> Set where
Sub : forall {Γ Δ} ->
({h : Hyp} -> (h ∈ Δ) -> (RInv Γ h))
-> SatCtx Γ Δ

Some examples follow (translated from this paper). Here's where Agda's second most important feature (after Unicode support) gets to show off: dependent pattern-matching! We reuse Agda's coverage checker to ensure that our object-level functions are total.

module Examples where
open Logic
NilCtx : {Γ : UCtx} -> SatCtx Γ []
NilCtx = Sub f
where f : forall {h} -> h ∈ [] -> RInv _ h
f ()

⌊_⌋ : {Δ : LCtx} -> Pat+ Δ 2⁺ -> Pat+ [] 2⁺
⌊_⌋ Ptt = Ptt
⌊_⌋ Pff = Pff

tt : {Γ : UCtx} -> RFoc Γ 2⁺
tt = Val Ptt NilCtx
ff : {Γ : UCtx} -> RFoc Γ 2⁺
ff = Val Pff NilCtx

not : (Γ : UCtx) -> RInv Γ (HN (2⁺ → ↑ 2⁺))
not Γ = Susp not*
not* : {Δ : LCtx} {c : Conc} -> Pat- Δ (2⁺ → ↑ 2⁺) c -> UnFoc (Δ :: Γ) c
not* (Dapp Ptt Dp) = Ret ff
not* (Dapp Pff Dp) = Ret tt

and : (Γ : UCtx) -> RInv Γ (HN (2⁺ → 2⁺ → ↑ 2⁺))
and Γ = Susp and*
and* : {Δ : LCtx} {c : Conc} -> Pat- Δ (2⁺ → 2⁺ → ↑ 2⁺) c -> UnFoc (Δ :: Γ) c
and* (Dapp Ptt (Dapp Ptt Dp)) = Ret tt
and* (Dapp Ptt (Dapp Pff Dp)) = Ret ff
and* (Dapp Pff (Dapp Ptt Dp)) = Ret ff
and* (Dapp Pff (Dapp Pff Dp)) = Ret ff

App' : {Γ : UCtx} {A+ B+ : Pos} {c : Conc} ->
(HN (A+ → ↑ B+) ∈∈ Γ) -> (RFoc Γ A+) -> (LInv Γ (CP B+) c) ->
UnFoc Γ c
App' u (Val p σ) F = App u (Spine (Dapp p Dp) σ F)

table1 : (Γ : UCtx) -> RInv Γ (HN (↓(2⁺ → ↑ 2⁺) → ↑ (2⁺ * 2⁺)))
table1 Γ = Susp table1*
table1* : {Δ : LCtx} {c : Conc} -> Pat- Δ (↓(2⁺ → ↑ 2⁺) → ↑ (2⁺ * 2⁺)) c -> UnFoc (Δ :: Γ) c
table1* (Dapp Pu Dp) = App' (s0 f0) tt (Fn (\b1 ->
App' (sS (s0 f0)) ff (Fn (\b2 ->
Ret (Val (Ppair ⌊ b1 ⌋ ⌊ b2 ⌋) NilCtx)))))

Monday, January 14, 2008

Back from POPL, forward to AGDA

I arrived back in Pittsburgh yesterday after a week at POPL and related workshops in San Francisco. Modulo the stress of having to prepare my presentation for the last day, it was a lot of fun! Heard lots of interesting talks, and had many interesting conversations. The highlight was probably Conor McBride's performance of "Clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right" ("I watch Olivier Danvy as he circles the room with a knife, threatening to defunctionalize my continuation"), but I also really enjoyed Janis Voigtlaender's talk, "Much Ado about Two". Knuth's 0-1 principle states that any oblivious sorting algorithm can be verified correct simply by testing it on arrays of 0s and 1s. Voigtlaender proved an analogous result for parallel prefix sort: correctness can be verified simply by testing arrays of 0s, 1s, and 2s. The neat thing is that the result can be obtained almost as a "free theorem", i.e. by proving a few simple combinatorial properties and applying parametricity. This paper also seems to me in a similar spirit as Martín Escardó's seemingly impossible functional programs and Kevin Watkin's 98-line proof of Conway's Cosmological Theorem─very clever uses of Haskell to reduce a seemingly infinite search space to a finite one. These sort of results make me feel optimisic about the future.

Another thing that makes me feel optimistic: Agda2. Dan Licata and I had a coding session today to try to translate focusing-with-higher-order-rules into Agda, and it seems almost perfectly suited. Dependent pattern-matching and unicode: a killer combination. I will try to post more about this in the next few days.