Sequent calculus¶

In Shen, datatypes are formalised in a series of (single conclusion) sequent calculus rules. If we want to introduce a new type t, then we have to write down a series of deduction rules describing the conditions under which an object x can be proved to be an inhabitant of t. For clarity, these rules are organised into datatypes usually named after the type defined. For instance, we want to create a type colour in which red, yellow and green are colours. In sequent format, we write:

  red : colour;

  yellow : colour;

  green : colour;

In Shen ...

  (20+) (datatype colour

  yellow : colour;

  red : colour;

  green : colour;)

  (21+) red
  red : symbol

  (22+) red : colour
  red : colour

  (23+) blue : colour
  type error

The term red is now overloaded - it is both a symbol and a colour. Shen plumps for the base type first when overloading is present.

The use of 3 deduction rules is otiose - only one is needed if a side condition is placed before the rule. A side condition is signalled by the use of if , followed by some boolean expression, or let followed by a variable and an expression.

(24+) (datatype colour

          if (element? X [red yellow green])
          X : colour;)

Let’s suppose we were writing a card game and we want to use lists like [ace spades] [10 hearts] [5 diamonds] [jack clubs] as cards. If we were to enter [5 diamonds] to Shen it would come back with a type error. So we want to define a type card which is the type of all cards. A card is a 2-element list; the first element being a rank and the second a suit.

(25+) (datatype rank

         if (element? X [ace 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 jack queen king])
         X : rank;)

(28+) (datatype suit

        if (element? Suit [spades hearts diamonds clubs])
        Suit : suit;)

(29+) (datatype card

        Rank : rank; Suit : suit;
        [Rank Suit] : card;

        Rank : rank, Suit : suit >> P;
        [Rank Suit] : card >> P;)

The first rule says that a two-element list can be proved to be of the type card provided the first and second elements can be proved to be a rank and a suit respectively. The second rule says that given any proof in which it is assumed a two element list is a card, we can replace this assumption by the assumptions that the first and second elements are a rank and a suit. We need both rules to complete the identification of cards with pairs of ranks and suits f we do not use synonyms (see left).

Shen permits a shorthand for expressing this type;

(30+) (datatype card

         Rank : rank; Suit : suit;
         [Rank Suit] : card;)

Note that semi-colons separate individual goals to be proved; >> is the Shen turnstile |- and commas are used to separate individual formulae in the list of assumptions to the left of >>. Here are some sample inputs.

(21+) [5 spades]
[5 spades] : card

(22+) [king hearts]
[king hearts] : (list symbol)

(23+) [king hearts] : card
[king hearts] : card

(24+) (define get-suit
        {card --> suit}
        [Rank Suit] -> Suit)
get-suit : (card --> suit)