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In Search of Types

Kell, Stephen (2014) In Search of Types. In: Onward! 2014 Proceedings of the 2014 ACM International Symposium on New Ideas, New Paradigms, and Reflections on Programming & Software. . pp. 227-241. ACM, New York, NY, USA ISBN 978-1-4503-3210-1. (doi:10.1145/2661136.2661154) (Access to this publication is currently restricted. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided)

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Abstract

The concept of "type" has been used without a consistent, precise definition in discussions about programming languages for 60 years 1. In this essay I explore various concepts lurking behind distinct uses of this word, highlighting two traditions in which the word came into use largely independently: engineering traditions on the one hand, and those of symbolic logic on the other. These traditions are founded on differing attitudes to the nature and purpose of abstraction, but their distinct uses of "type" have never been explicitly unified. One result is that discourse across these traditions often finds itself at cross purposes, such as over applying one sense of "type" where another is appropriate, and occasionally proceeding to draw wrong conclusions. I illustrate this with examples from well-known and justly well-regarded literature, and argue that ongoing developments in both the theory and practice of programming make now a good time to resolve these problems.

Item Type: Conference or workshop item (Proceeding)
DOI/Identification number: 10.1145/2661136.2661154
Divisions: Faculties > Sciences > School of Computing
Depositing User: Stephen Kell
Date Deposited: 25 Jan 2019 14:43 UTC
Last Modified: 23 Jan 2020 04:15 UTC
Resource URI: https://kar.kent.ac.uk/id/eprint/69703 (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
Kell, Stephen: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-2702-5983
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