Quotient types in type theory

Li, Nuo (2015) Quotient types in type theory. PhD thesis, University of Nottingham.

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Martin-Lof's intuitionistic type theory (Type Theory) is a formal system that serves not only as a foundation of constructive mathematics but also as a dependently typed programming language. Dependent types are types that depend on values of other types. Type Theory is based on the Curry-Howard isomorphism which relates computer programs with mathematical proofs so that we can do computer-aided formal reasoning and write certified programs in programming languages like Agda, Epigram etc. Martin Lof proposed two variants of Type Theory which are differentiated by the treatment of equality. In Intensional Type Theory, propositional equality defined by identity types does not imply definitional equality, and type checking is decidable. In Extensional Type Theory, propositional equality is identified with definitional equality which makes type checking undecidable. Because of the good computational properties, Intensional Type Theory is more popular, however it lacks some important extensional concepts such as functional extensionality and quotient types.

This thesis is about quotient types. A quotient type is a new type whose equality is redefined by a given equivalence relation. However, in the usual formulation of Intensional Type Theory, there is no type former to create a quotient. We also lose canonicity if we add quotient types into Intensional Type Theory as axioms. In this thesis, we first investigate the expected syntax of quotient types and explain it with categorical notions. For quotients which can be represented as a setoid as well as defined as a set without a quotient type former, we propose to define an algebraic structure of quotients called definable quotients. It relates the setoid interpretation and the set definition via a normalisation function which returns a normal form (canonical choice) for each equivalence class. It can be seen as a simulation of quotient types and it helps theorem proving because we can benefit from both representations. However this approach cannot be used for all quotients. It seems that we cannot define a normalisation function for some quotients in Type Theory, e.g. Cauchy reals and finite multisets. Quotient types are indeed essential for formalisation of mathematics and reasoning of programs. Then we consider some models of Type Theory where types are interpreted as structured objects such as setoids, groupoids or weak omega-groupoids. In these models equalities are internalised into types which means that it is possible to redefine equalities. We present an implementation of Altenkirch's setoid model and show that quotient types can be defined within this model. We also describe a new extension of Martin-Lof type theory called Homotopy Type Theory where types are interpreted as weak omega-groupoids. It can be seen as a generalisation of the groupoid model which makes extensional concepts including quotient types available. We also introduce a syntactic encoding of weak omega-groupoids which can be seen as a first step towards building a weak omega-groupoids model in Intensional Type Theory. All of these implementations were performed in the dependently typed programming language Agda which is based on intensional Martin-Lof type theory.

Item Type: Thesis (University of Nottingham only) (PhD)
Supervisors: Altenkirch, Thorsten
Keywords: Type Theory, Quotient Types, Homotopy Type Theory
Subjects: Q Science > QA Mathematics > QA 75 Electronic computers. Computer science
Faculties/Schools: UK Campuses > Faculty of Science > School of Computer Science
Item ID: 28941
Depositing User: Li, Nuo
Date Deposited: 14 Oct 2015 09:37
Last Modified: 15 Dec 2017 21:17
URI: https://eprints.nottingham.ac.uk/id/eprint/28941

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