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A Structural Approach to Reversible Computation
 Theoretical Computer Science
, 2001
"... Reversibility is a key issue in the interface between computation and physics, and of growing importance as miniaturization progresses towards its physical limits. Most foundational work on reversible computing to date has focussed on simulations of lowlevel machine models. By contrast, we develop ..."
Abstract

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Reversibility is a key issue in the interface between computation and physics, and of growing importance as miniaturization progresses towards its physical limits. Most foundational work on reversible computing to date has focussed on simulations of lowlevel machine models. By contrast, we develop a more structural approach. We show how highlevel functional programs can be mapped compositionally (i.e. in a syntaxdirected fashion) into a simple kind of automata which are immediately seen to be reversible. The size of the automaton is linear in the size of the functional term. In mathematical terms, we are building a concrete model of functional computation. This construction stems directly from ideas arising in Geometry of Interaction and Linear Logicâ€”but can be understood without any knowledge of these topics. In fact, it serves as an excellent introduction to them. At the same time, an interesting logical delineation between reversible and irreversible forms of computation emerges from our analysis. 1