Countable Lawvere Theories and Computational Effects
Laboratory for the Foundations of Computer Science, University of Edinburgh, King’s Buildings,
Edinburgh EH9 3JZ, SCOTLAND
Lawvere theories have been one of the two main category theoretic formulations of universal algebra, the other being monads. Monads have appeared extensively over the past fifteen years in the theoretical computer science literature, specifically in connection with computational effects, but Lawvere theories have not. So we define the notion of (countable) Lawvere theory and give a precise statement of its relationship with the notion of monad on the category Set. We illustrate with examples arising from the study of computational effects, explaining how the notion of Lawvere theory keeps one closer to computational practice. We then describe constructions that one can make with Lawvere theories, notably sum, tensor, and distributive tensor, reflecting the ways in which the various computational effects are usually combined, thus giving denotational semantics for the combinations.