LISP and Symbolic Computation

, Volume 6, Issue 1–2, pp 159–175 | Cite as

A practical approach to type inference for EuLisp

  • Andreas Kind
  • Horst Friedrich


Lisp applications need to show a reasonable cost-benefit relationship between the offered expressiveness and their demand for storage and run-time. Drawbacks in efficiency, apparent inLisp as a dynamically typed programming language, can be avoided by optimizations. Statically inferred type information can be decisive for the success of these optimizations.

This paper describes a practical approach to type inference realized in a module and application compiler forEuLisp. The approach is partly related to Milner-style polymorphic type inference, but differs by describing functions withgeneric type schemes. Dependencies between argument and result types can be expressed more precisely by using generic type schemes of several lines than by using the common one-line type schemes. Generic type schemes contain types of a refined complementary lattice and bounded type variables. Besides standard and defined types so-calledstrategic types (e.g. singleton, zero, number-list) are combined into the type lattice. Local, global and control flow inference using generic type schemes with refined types generate precise typings of defined functions. Due to module compilation, inferred type schemes of exported functions can be stored in export interfaces, so they may be reused when imported elsewhere.


Type Inference Lisp Compilation Unification 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • Andreas Kind
    • 1
  • Horst Friedrich
    • 1
  1. 1.Fraunhofer Institute for Software Engineering and Systems Engineering (ISST)BerlinGermany

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