Journal of Functional Programming | VOL. 32
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Denotational semantics as a foundation for cost recurrence extraction for functional languages

Publication Date Jan 1, 2022

Abstract

Abstract A standard informal method for analyzing the asymptotic complexity of a program is to extract a recurrence that describes its cost in terms of the size of its input and then to compute a closed-form upper bound on that recurrence. We give a formal account of that method for functional programs in a higher order language with $\mathtt{let}$ -polymorphism. The method consists of two phases. In the first phase, a monadic translation is performed to extract a cost-annotated version of the original program. In the second phase, the extracted program is interpreted in a model. The key feature of this second phase is that different models describe different notions of size. This plays out in several ways. For example, when analyzing functions that take arguments of inductive types, different notions of size may be appropriate depending on the analysis. When analyzing polymorphic functions, our approach shows that one can formally describe the notion of size of an argument in terms of the data that is common to the notions of size for each type instance of the domain type. We give several examples of different models that formally justify various informal cost analyses to show the applicability of our approach.

Concepts

Notions Of Size Monadic Translation Higher Order Language Denotational Semantics Programs In Language Version Of Program Informal Analyses Method For Programs Standard Method Informal Cost

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