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Journal Articles Journal of the ACM (JACM) Year : 2021

The Marriage of Univalence and Parametricity


Reasoning modulo equivalences is natural for everyone, including mathematicians. Unfortunately, in proof assistants based on type theory, which are frequently used to mechanize mathematical results and carry out program verification efforts, equality is appallingly syntactic and, as a result, exploiting equivalences is cumbersome at best. Parametricity and univalence are two major concepts that have been explored in the literature to transport programs and proofs across type equivalences, but they fall short of achieving seamless, automatic transport. This work first clarifies the limitations of these two concepts when considered in isolation, and then devises a fruitful marriage between both. The resulting concept, called univalent parametricity, is an extension of parametricity strengthened with univalence that fully realizes programming and proving modulo equivalences. Our approach handles both type and term dependency, as well as type-level computation. In addition to the theory of univalent parametricity, we present a lightweight framework implemented in the Coq proof assistant that allows the user to transparently transfer definitions and theorems for a type to an equivalent one, as if they were equal. For instance, this makes it possible to conveniently switch between an easy-to-reason-about representation and a computationally-efficient representation, as soon as they are proven equivalent. The combination of parametricity and univalence supports transport à la carte: basic univalent transport, which stems from a type equivalence, can be complemented with additional proofs of equivalences between functions over these types, in order to be able to transport more programs and proofs, as well as to yield more efficient terms. We illustrate the use of univalent parametricity on several examples, including a recent integration of native integers in Coq. This work paves the way to easier-to-use proof assistants by supporting seamless programming and proving modulo equivalences.
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hal-03120580 , version 1 (25-01-2021)



Nicolas Tabareau, Éric Tanter, Matthieu Sozeau. The Marriage of Univalence and Parametricity. Journal of the ACM (JACM), 2021, 68 (1), pp.1-44. ⟨10.1145/3429979⟩. ⟨hal-03120580⟩
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