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A combinatory account of internal structure

  • Barry Jay (a1) and Thomas Given-Wilson (a1)

Traditional combinatory logic uses combinators S and K to represent all Turing-computable functions on natural numbers, but there are Turing-computable functions on the combinators themselves that cannot be so represented, because they access internal structure in ways that S and K cannot. Much of this expressive power is captured by adding a factorisation combinator F. The resulting SF-calculus is structure complete, in that it supports all pattern-matching functions whose patterns are in normal form, including a function that decides structural equality of arbitrary normal forms. A general characterisation of the structure complete, confluent combinatory calculi is given along with some examples. These are able to represent all their Turing-computable functions whose domain is limited to normal forms. The combinator F can be typed using an existential type to represent internal type information.

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The Journal of Symbolic Logic
  • ISSN: 0022-4812
  • EISSN: 1943-5886
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