A Coalgebraic View of Bar Recursion and Bar Induction

Conference paper

DOI: 10.1007/978-3-662-49630-5_6

Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 9634)
Cite this paper as:
Capretta V., Uustalu T. (2016) A Coalgebraic View of Bar Recursion and Bar Induction. In: Jacobs B., Löding C. (eds) Foundations of Software Science and Computation Structures. FoSSaCS 2016. Lecture Notes in Computer Science, vol 9634. Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg


We reformulate the bar recursion and induction principles in terms of recursive and wellfounded coalgebras. Bar induction was originally proposed by Brouwer as an axiom to recover certain classically valid theorems in a constructive setting. It is a form of induction on non-wellfounded trees satisfying certain properties. Bar recursion, introduced later by Spector, is the corresponding function definition principle.

We give a generalization of these principles, by introducing the notion of barred coalgebra: a process with a branching behaviour given by a functor, such that all possible computations terminate.

Coalgebraic bar recursion is the statement that every barred coalgebra is recursive; a recursive coalgebra is one that allows definition of functions by a coalgebra-to-algebra morphism. It is a framework to characterize valid forms of recursion for terminating functional programs. One application of the principle is the tabulation of continuous functions: Ghani, Hancock and Pattinson defined a type of wellfounded trees that represent continuous functions on streams. Bar recursion allows us to prove that every stably continuous function can be tabulated to such a tree, where by stability we mean that the modulus of continuity is its own modulus. Coalgebraic bar induction states that every barred coalgebra is wellfounded; a wellfounded coalgebra is one that admits proof by induction.

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Computer ScienceUniversity of NottinghamNottinghamUK
  2. 2.Institute of CyberneticsTallinn University of TechnologyTallinnEstonia

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