Deriving Dependently-Typed OOP from First Principles (paper) (
from to on 25 Jun 21:51


The expression problem describes how most types can easily be extended with new ways to produce the type or new ways to consume the type, but not both. When abstract syntax trees are defined as an algebraic data type, for example, they can easily be extended with new consumers, such as print or eval, but adding a new constructor requires the modification of all existing pattern matches. The expression problem is one way to elucidate the difference between functional or data-oriented programs (easily extendable by new consumers) and object-oriented programs (easily extendable by new producers).

This difference between programs which are extensible by new producers or new consumers also exists for dependently typed programming, but with one core difference: Dependently-typed programming almost exclusively follows the functional programming model and not the object-oriented model, which leaves an interesting space in the programming language landscape unexplored.

In this paper, we explore the field of dependently-typed object-oriented programming by deriving it from first principles using the principle of duality. That is, we do not extend an existing object-oriented formalism with dependent types in an ad-hoc fashion, but instead start from a familiar data-oriented language and derive its dual fragment by the systematic use of defunctionalization and refunctionalization

Our central contribution is a dependently typed calculus which contains two dual language fragments. We provide type- and semantics-preserving transformations between these two language fragments: defunctionalization and refunctionalization. We have implemented this language and these transformations and use this implementation to explain the various ways in which constructions in dependently typed programming can be explained as special instances of the general phenomenon of duality.


Expression problem (wikipedia)

Defunctionalization (wikipedia)

Codata in action, or how to connect Functional Programming and Object Oriented Programming (Javier Casas)


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