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Quantifier Elimination and Parametric Polymorphism in Programming Languages
 J. Functional Programming
, 1992
"... We present a simple and easy to understand explanation of ML type inference and parametric polymorphism within the framework of type monomorphism, as in the first order typed lambda calculus. We prove the equivalence of this system with the standard interpretation using type polymorphism, and extend ..."
Abstract

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We present a simple and easy to understand explanation of ML type inference and parametric polymorphism within the framework of type monomorphism, as in the first order typed lambda calculus. We prove the equivalence of this system with the standard interpretation using type polymorphism, and extend the equivalence to include polymorphic fixpoints. The monomorphic interpretation gives a purely combinatorial understanding of the type inference problem, and is a classic instance of quantifier elimination, as well as an example of Gentzenstyle cut elimination in the framework of the CurryHoward propositionsastypes analogy. Supported by NSF Grant CCR9017125, and grants from Texas Instruments and from the Tyson Foundation. 1 Introduction In his influential paper, "A theory of type polymorphism in programming," Robin Milner proposed an extension to the first order typed calculus which has become known as the core of the ML programming language [Mil78, HMT90]. The extension augment...