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Typability and Type Checking in System F Are Equivalent and Undecidable
 Annals of Pure and Applied Logic
, 1998
"... Girard and Reynolds independently invented System F (a.k.a. the secondorder polymorphically typed lambda calculus) to handle problems in logic and computer programming language design, respectively. Viewing F in the Curry style, which associates types with untyped lambda terms, raises the questions ..."
Abstract

Cited by 58 (4 self)
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Girard and Reynolds independently invented System F (a.k.a. the secondorder polymorphically typed lambda calculus) to handle problems in logic and computer programming language design, respectively. Viewing F in the Curry style, which associates types with untyped lambda terms, raises the questions of typability and type checking . Typability asks for a term whether there exists some type it can be given. Type checking asks, for a particular term and type, whether the term can be given that type. The decidability of these problems has been settled for restrictions and extensions of F and related systems and complexity lowerbounds have been determined for typability in F, but this report is the rst to resolve whether these problems are decidable for System F. This report proves that type checking in F is undecidable, by a reduction from semiuni cation, and that typability in F is undecidable, by a reduction from type checking. Because there is an easy reduction from typability to typ...
Typability and Type Checking in the SecondOrder lambdaCalculus Are Equivalent and Undecidable
, 1993
"... We consider the problems of typability and type checking in the Girard/Reynolds secondorder polymorphic typedcalculus, for which we use the short name "System F" and which we use in the "Curry style" where types are assigned to pureterms. These problems have been considered and proven to be d ..."
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Cited by 12 (1 self)
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We consider the problems of typability and type checking in the Girard/Reynolds secondorder polymorphic typedcalculus, for which we use the short name "System F" and which we use in the "Curry style" where types are assigned to pureterms. These problems have been considered and proven to be decidable or undecidable for various restrictions and extensions of System F and other related systems, and lowerbound complexity results for System F have been achieved, but they have remained "embarrassing open problems" 3 for System F itself. We first prove that type checking in System F is undecidable by a reduction from semiunification. We then prove typability in System F is undecidable by a reduction from type checking. Since the reverse reduction is already known, this implies the two problems are equivalent. The second reduction uses a novel method of constructingterms such that in all type derivations, specific bound variables must always be assigned a specific type. Using this technique, we can require that specif subterms must be typable using a specific, fixed type assignment in order for the entire term to be typable at all. Any desired type assignment maybe simulated. We develop this method, which we call \constants for free", for both the K and I calculi.