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A Step-Indexed Model of Substructural State Harvard University

Summary: A Step-Indexed Model of Substructural State
Amal Ahmed
Harvard University
Matthew Fluet
Cornell University
Greg Morrisett
Harvard University
The concept of a "unique" object arises in many emerging programming languages such as Clean, CQual, Cyclone,
TAL, and Vault. In each of these systems, unique objects make it possible to perform operations that would otherwise
be prohibited (e.g., deallocating an object) or to ensure that some obligation will be met (e.g., an opened file will be
closed). However, different languages provide different interpretations of "uniqueness" and have different rules regarding
how unique objects interact with the rest of the language.
Our goal is to establish a common model that supports each of these languages, by allowing us to encode and study
the interactions of the different forms of uniqueness. The model we provide is based on a substructural variant of the
polymorphic -calculus, augmented with four kinds of mutable references: unrestricted, relevant, affine, and linear. The
language has a natural operational semantics that supports deallocation of references, strong (type-varying) updates, and


Source: Ahmed, Amal - School of Informatics, Indiana University
Fluet, Matthew - Department of Computer Engineering , Rochester Institute of Technology


Collections: Computer Technologies and Information Sciences