Capabilities for Uniqueness and Borrowing

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Executive Summary

An important application of unique object references is safe and efficient message passing in concurrent object-oriented programming. However, to prevent the ill effects of aliasing, practical systems often severely restrict the shape of messages passed by reference. Moreover, the problematic interplay between destructive reads - often used to implement unique references - and temporary aliasing through "Borrowed" references is exacerbated in a concurrent setting, increasing the potential for unpredictable run-time errors. This paper introduces a new approach to uniqueness. The idea is to use capabilities for enforcing both at-most-once consumption of unique references, and a flexible notion of uniqueness.

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