Yannick Forster

Saarland University Computer Science

PhD Thesis: Computability in Constructive Type Theory

Author: Yannick Forster
Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Gert Smolka


We give a formalised and machine-checked account of computability theory in the Calculus of Inductive Constructions (CIC), the constructive type theory underlying the Coq proof assistant.

We first develop synthetic computability theory, pioneered by Richman, Bridges, and Bauer, where one treats all functions as computable, eliminating the need for a model of computation. We assume a novel parametric axiom for synthetic computability and give proofs of results like Rice’s theorem, the Myhill isomorphism theorem, and the existence of Post’s simple and hypersimple predicates relying on no other axioms such as Markov’s principle or choice axioms.

As a second step, we introduce models of computation. We give a concise overview of definitions of various standard models and contribute machine-checked simulation proofs, posing a non-trivial engineering effort.

We identify a notion of synthetic undecidability relative to a fixed halting problem, allowing axiom-free machine-checked proofs of undecidability. We contribute such undecidability proofs for the historical foundational problems of computability theory which require the iden- tification of invariants left out in the literature and now form the basis of the Coq Library of Undecidability Proofs.

We then identify the weak call-by-value λ-calculus L as sweet spot for programming in a model of computation. We introduce a certifying extraction framework and analyse an axiom stating that every function of type ℕ → ℕ is L-computable.

Submitted thesis

Mechanisation in Coq

Legal notice, Privacy policy