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Concept# Type theory

Summary

In mathematics, logic, and computer science, a type theory is the formal presentation of a specific type system, and in general, type theory is the academic study of type systems. Some type theories serve as alternatives to set theory as a foundation of mathematics. Two influential type theories that were proposed as foundations are Alonzo Church's typed λ-calculus and Per Martin-Löf's intuitionistic type theory. Most computerized proof-writing systems use a type theory for their foundation, a common one is Thierry Coquand's Calculus of Inductive Constructions.
History
History of type theory
Type theory was created to avoid a paradox in a mathematical foundation based on naive set theory and formal logic. Russell's paradox, which was discovered by Bertrand Russell, existed because a set could be defined using "all possible sets", which included itself. Between 1902 and 1908, Bertrand Russell proposed various "theories of type" to fix the problem. By 1908 Russell arriv

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Algebraic data types and pattern matching are key features of functional programming languages. Exhaustivity checking of pattern matching is a safety belt that defends against unmatched exceptions at runtime and boosts type safety. However, the presence of language features like inheritance, typecase, traits, GADTs, path-dependent types and union types makes the checking difficult and the algorithm complex. In this paper we propose a generic algorithm that decouples the checking algorithm from specific type theories. The decoupling makes the algorithm simple and enables easy customization for specific type systems.

2016Algebraic data types and pattern matching are key features of functional programming languages. Exhaustivity checking of pattern matching is a safety belt that defends against unmatched exceptions at runtime and boosts type safety. However, the presence of language features like inheritance, typecase, traits, GADTs, path-dependent types and union types makes the checking difficult and the algorithm complex. In this paper we propose a generic algorithm that decouples the checking algorithm from specific type theories. The decoupling makes the algorithm simple and enables easy customization for specific type systems.