[isabelle-dev] »real« considered harmful
florian.haftmann at informatik.tu-muenchen.de
Tue Jun 2 20:18:53 CEST 2015
recently, I stumbled (once again) over the matter of the »real« conversion.
There is an inclusion hierarchy (⊆) of numerical types
(num ⊆) nat ⊆ int ⊆ rat ⊆ real ⊆ complex
We can embed »smaller« into »bigger« types using conversions
(numeral ⊆) of_nat ⊆ of_int ⊆ of_rat ⊆ of_real
These conversions have solid generic algebraic definitions!
For historic reasons, there is also the conversion real :: 'a ⇒ real
which is overloaded and can be instantiated to arbitrary types. This
(co)conversion works in the other direction without any algebraic
My impression is that having this conversion is a bad idea. For
illustration have a look at
which gives a wonderful generic lemma relating fraction division and
»floor (of_int k / of_int l) = k div l«
Note that the result type of the of_int conversion is polymorphic and
can be instantiated to rat and real likewise!
In the presence of the »real« conversion, there is a second variant
»floor (real k / real l) = k div l«
which must be given separately!
For uniformity it would be much better to have »real« disappear in the
middle run. I see two potential inconveniences at the moment:
* Writing »of_foo« might demand a type annotation on its result in many
cases (n.b. operations of type foo ⇒ 'a are one of the rare cases where
explicit type annotations must be given in terms rather than at »fixes«).
* We have the existing abbreviations »real_of_foo« which have no type
ambiguity, but might seem a little bit verbose.
Anyway, the duplication seems more grivious to me than such syntax issues.
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