Publication details

Saarland University Computer Science

Dynamic Opacity for Abstract Types

Andreas Rossberg

Technical Report, Programming Systems Lab, Universität des Saarlandes, Saarbrücken, Germany, September 2002

Existential types are the standard formalisation of abstract types. While this formulation is sufficient in entirely statically typed languages, it proves to be too weak for languages enriched with forms of dynamic typing: in the presence of operations performing type analysis, the abstraction barrier erected by the static typing rules for existential types is no longer impassable, because parametricity is violated. We present a light-weight calculus for polymorphic languages with abstract types that addresses this shortcoming. It features a variation of existential types that retains most of the simplicity of standard existentials. It relies on modified scoping rules and explicit coercions between the quantified variable and its witness type.

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