Binders Unbound

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Executive Summary

Implementors of compilers, program refactorers, theorem provers, proof checkers, and other systems that manipulate syntax know that dealing with name binding is difficult to do well. Furthermore, their implementations are tedious, requiring "Boilerplate" code that must be updated whenever the object language definition changes. Many researchers have therefore sought to specify binding syntax declaratively, so that tools can correctly handle the details behind the scenes. In this paper, the authors present a new domain-specific language, UNBOUND, for specifying binding structure. Their language is particularly expressive - it supports multiple atom types, pattern binders, type annotations, recursive binders, and nested binding (necessary for telescopes, a feature found in dependently-typed languages).

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