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Well-Typed Logic Programs Are not Wrong

Abstract : We consider prescriptive type systems for logic programs (as in Gödel or Mercury). In such systems, the typing is static, but it guarantees an operational property: if a program is «well-typed», then all derivations starting in a «well-typed» query are again «well-typed». This property has been called subject reduction. We show that this property can also be phrased as a property of the proof-theoretic semantics of logic programs, thus abstracting from the usual operational (top-down) semantics. This proof-theoretic view leads us to questioning a condition which is usually considered necessary for subject reduction, namely the head condition. It states that the head of each clause must have a type which is a variant (and not a proper instance) of the declared type. We provide a more general condition, thus reestablishing a certain symmetry between heads and body atoms. The condition ensures that in a derivation, the types of two unified terms are themselves unifiable. We discuss possible implications of this result. We also discuss the relationship between the head condition and polymorphic recursion, a concept known in functional programming.
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Contributor : Rapport de Recherche Inria <>
Submitted on : Wednesday, May 24, 2006 - 10:15:25 AM
Last modification on : Friday, May 25, 2018 - 12:02:03 PM
Long-term archiving on: : Sunday, April 4, 2010 - 9:14:11 PM


  • HAL Id : inria-00072551, version 1



Pierre Deransart, Jan Georg Smaus. Well-Typed Logic Programs Are not Wrong. [Research Report] RR-4082, INRIA. 2000. ⟨inria-00072551⟩



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