A Type System for Recursive Modules

Derek Dreyer. 20 July, 2007.
Communicated by Dave MacQueen.


There has been much work in recent years on extending ML with recursive modules. One of the most difficult problems in the development of such an extension is the double vision problem, which concerns the interaction of recursion and data abstraction. In previous work, I defined a type system called RTG, which solves the double vision problem at the level of a System-F-style core calculus. In this paper, I scale the ideas and techniques of RTG to the level of a recursive ML-style module calculus called RMC, thus establishing that no tradeoff between data abstraction and recursive modules is necessary. First, I describe RMC's typing rules for recursive modules informally and discuss some of the design questions that arose in developing them. Then, I present the formal semantics of RMC, which is interesting in its own right. The formalization synthesizes aspects of both the Definition and the Harper-Stone interpretation of Standard ML, and includes a novel two-pass algorithm for recursive module typechecking in which the coherence of the two passes is emphasized by their representation in terms of the same set of inference rules.

Original Document

The original document is available in PDF (uploaded 20 July, 2007 by Dave MacQueen).