lambda_mountain 1.5.0

Lambda Mountain
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Lambda Mountain

λ☶ (pronounced Lambda Mountain) is a compiler backend. It is a typed fragment assembler, which means it could generate machine code, but right now the only backend targets GNU Assembler.

More information is available on the λ☶ Wiki.

There is also a Bootstrap Book that explains the compiler internals in great detail.

What is Ad-Hoc Specialization?

If we have several overloaded functions then specialization lets us choose the best fit for any particular application.

f := λ(: x X). x;
f := λ(: y Y). y;

f (: x X)

In this example the function application does not “fit” the application that expects a Y type argument, so there is only one possible candidate function.

type X implies Y;

f := λ(: x X). x;
f := λ(: y Y). y;

f (: x X)

Now both candidate functions “fit”, however X is a narrower type than Y. All X are Y, but not all Y are X. In this case we say that X is a “better fit” than Y.

How does Ad-Hoc Specialization Work?

The language here is based on System F-sub with the following inference rules added.

$$abstraction \quad \frac{\Gamma \vdash a:A \quad \Gamma \vdash b:B \quad \Gamma \vdash x:X \quad \Gamma \vdash y:Y \quad λ⟨a.b⟩⟨x.y⟩}{\Gamma \vdash λ⟨a.b⟩⟨x.y⟩:(A \to B) + (X \to Y)}$$

$$application \quad \frac{\Gamma \vdash f:(A \to B) + (C \to D) + (X \to Y) \quad \Gamma \vdash x:A + X \quad f(x)}{\Gamma \vdash f(x):B + Y}$$