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Categories of Containers

Neil Ghani Department of Computer Science University of Leicester 2pm 20 February 2004 Room 2511, JCMB, King's Buildings

The efficient representation and manipulation of data is one of the fundamental tasks in the construction of large software systems. One of the most successful approach to date has been Hindley-Milner polymorphism which provides predefined mechanisms for manipulating data structures providing they are parametric in the data.

I will talk about recent work on containers which has lead to some intriguing new insights into polymorphism. In particular I will classify all the polymorphic programs between containers and show they have a remarkably simple form. I will then extend this to cover quotient types where a similar beautiful picture emerges.

This is joint work with Michael Abbott, Thorsten Altenkirch and Conor McBride.

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