Formalizing soundness of contextual effects

Polyvios Pratikakis, Jeffrey S. Foster, Michael Hicks, Iulian Neamtiu

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

1 Scopus citations


A contextual effect system generalizes standard type and effect systems: where a standard effect system computes the effect of an expression e, a contextual effect system additionally computes the prior and future effect of e, which characterize the behavior of computation prior to and following, respectively, the evaluation of e. This paper describes the formalization and proof of soundness of contextual effects, which we mechanized using the Coq proof assistant. Contextual effect soundness is an unusual property because the prior and future effect of a term e depends not on e itself (or its evaluation), but rather on the evaluation of the context in which e appears. Therefore, to state and prove soundness we must "match up" a subterm in the original typing derivation with the possibly-many evaluations of that subterm during the evaluation of the program, in a way that is robust under substitution. We do this using a novel typed operational semantics. We conjecture that our approach could prove useful for reasoning about other properties of derivations that rely on the context in which that derivation appears.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationTheorem Proving in Higher Order Logics - 21st International Conference, TPHOLs 2008, Proceedings
PublisherSpringer Verlag
Number of pages16
ISBN (Print)3540710655, 9783540710653
StatePublished - 2008
Externally publishedYes
Event21st International Conference on Theorem Proving in Higher Order Logics, TPHOLs 2008 - Montreal, QC, Canada
Duration: Aug 18 2008Aug 21 2008

Publication series

NameLecture Notes in Computer Science (including subseries Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence and Lecture Notes in Bioinformatics)
Volume5170 LNCS
ISSN (Print)0302-9743
ISSN (Electronic)1611-3349


Other21st International Conference on Theorem Proving in Higher Order Logics, TPHOLs 2008
CityMontreal, QC

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Theoretical Computer Science
  • General Computer Science


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