Software

Taming Wildcards in Java's Type System

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Executive Summary

Wildcards have become an important part of Java's type system since their introduction 7 years ago. Yet there are still many open problems with Java's wildcards. For example, there are no known sound and complete algorithms for sub-typing (and consequently type checking) Java wildcards, and in fact sub-typing is suspected to be undecidable because wildcards are a form of bounded existential types. Furthermore, some Java types with wildcards have no joins, making inference of type arguments for generic methods particularly difficult.

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