Publication details

Saarland University Computer Science

Type Inference for First-Class Messages with Feature Constraints

Martin Müller, Susumu Nishimura

International Journal of Foundations of Computer Science 11(1):29-63, 2000

We present a constraint system, OF, of feature trees that is appropriate to specify and implement type inference for first-class messages. OF extends traditional systems of feature constraints by a selection constraint , ``by first-class feature tree'' , which is in contrast to the standard selection constraint . We investigate the satisfiability problem of OF and show that it can be solved in polynomial time, and even in quadratic time if the number of features is bounded. We compare OF with Treinen's system EF of feature constraints with first-class features, which has an NP-complete satisfiability problem. This comparison yields that the satisfiability problem for OF with negation is NP-hard. We even obtain NP-completeness, for a specific subclass of OF with negation that is useful for a related type inference problem. Based on OF we give a simple account of type inference for first-class messages in the spirit of Nishimura's recent proposal, and we show that it has polynomial time complexity: We also highlight an immediate extension of this type system that is desirable but makes type inference NP-complete.

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