Sound and complete bidirectional typechecking for higher-rank polymorphism with existentials and indexed types

Draft paper

Joshua Dunfield and Neelakantan R. Krishnaswami


Bidirectional typechecking, in which terms either synthesize a type or are checked against a known type, has become popular for its scalability, its error reporting, and its ease of implementation. Following principles from proof theory, bidirectional typing can be applied to many type constructs. The principles underlying a bidirectional approach to indexed types (generalized algebraic datatypes) are less clear. Building on proof-theoretic treatments of equality, we give a declarative specification of typing based on focalization. This approach permits declarative rules for coverage of pattern matching, as well as support for first-class existential types using a focalized subtyping judgment. We use refinement types to avoid explicitly passing equality proofs in our term syntax, making our calculus close to languages such as Haskell and OCaml. An explicit rule deduces when a type is principal, leading to reliable substitution principles for a rich type system with significant type inference. We also give a set of algorithmic typing rules, and prove that it is sound and complete with respect to the declarative system. The proof requires a number of technical innovations, including proving soundness and completeness in a mutually-recursive fashion.

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BibTeX entry

    author =    {Joshua Dunfield and Neelakantan R. Krishnaswami},
    title =     {Sound and Complete Bidirectional Typechecking for Higher-Rank Polymorphism with Existentials and Indexed Types},
    month =     jan,
    year =      {2016},
    note =      {\url{}}

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Joshua Dunfield