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Algebraic Foundations to Effect-Dependent Optimisations

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We present a general theory of Gifford-style type and effect annotations, where effect annotations are sets of effects. Generality is achieved by recourse to the theory of algebraic effects, a development of Moggi’s monadic theory of computational effects that emphasises the operations causing the effects at hand and their equational theory. The key observation is that annotation effects can be identified with operation symbols.

We develop an annotated imperative and functional language with a kind of computations for every effect set; it can be thought of as a sequential, annotated intermediate language. We develop a range of validated optimisations (i.e., equivalences), generalising many existing ones and adding new ones. We classify these optimisations as structural, algebraic, or abstract: structural optimisations always hold; algebraic ones depend on the effect theory at hand; and abstract ones depend on the global nature of that theory (we give modularly-checkable sufficient conditions for their validity).

Joint work with Gordon Plotkin, appeared in POPL ’12.

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