Recursive Functions with Higher Order Domains

  • Ana Bove
  • Venanzio Capretta
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 3461)


In a series of articles, we developed a method to translate general recursive functions written in a functional programming style into constructive type theory. Three problems remained: the method could not properly deal with functions taking functional arguments, the translation of terms containing λ-abstractions was too strict, and partial application of general recursive functions was not allowed. Here, we show how the three problems can be solved by defining a type of partial functions between given types. Every function, including arguments to higher order functions, λ-abstractions and partially applied functions, is then translated as a pair consisting of a domain predicate and a function dependent on the predicate. Higher order functions are assigned domain predicates that inherit termination conditions from their functional arguments. The translation of a λ-abstraction does not need to be total anymore, but generates a local termination condition. The domain predicate of a partially applied function is defined by fixing the given arguments in the domain of the original function. As in our previous articles, simultaneous induction-recursion is required to deal with nested recursive functions. Since by using our method the inductive definition of the domain predicate can refer globally to the domain predicate itself, here we need to work on an impredicative type theory for the method to apply to all functions. However, in most practical cases the method can be adapted to work on a predicative type theory with type universes.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ana Bove
    • 1
  • Venanzio Capretta
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Computing ScienceChalmers University of TechnologyGöteborgSweden
  2. 2.Department of Mathematics and StatisticsUniversity of OttawaOttawaCanada

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