By Robert Nystrom

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When receiving a non-null argument of type list_t we can save its entries as local variables and subsequently use the pointer itself as an argument to cons(). This implements pattern matching. For details of the translation, see [Hof00]. , bound variables of inductive type are used at most once. In particular, this linearity guarantees that the memory space pointed to by a -value is not needed anywhere else. This prevents function definitions like: ¿ ¿ def list twice (list l) = match l with nil -> nil | cons(d,h,t) -> cons(d,0,cons(d,0,twice(l))) The functional semantics of twice maps a list l to a list twice as long as l with zero entries; on the other hand, the LFPL translation to C of the above code computes a circular list.

2 Sharing in Data Structures The strict linear type system in LFPL prevents sharing in data structures, which can lead to bad space behaviour in some programs. The append function shows how we might be able to allow some limited sharing within data structures but still use an in-place update implementation, provided we take care over when modification is allowed. For example, we would like to allow the expression let x=append(u,w) and y=append(v,w) in e provided that we don’t modify both x and y in e; after either has been modified we should not refer to the other.

1 (for the moment, ignore the first argument to cons). This definition of reversal is readily verified by induction and equational reasoning over the set of finite lists. On the other hand, implementing reversal imperatively using pointers is (arguably) more cumbersome and error prone and, more seriously, would be harder to verify using complicated reasoning principles for imperative programs. The advantage of an imperative implementation, of course, is that it modifies its argument in-place whereas in a traditional functional implementation the D.

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