The Verse Calculus: a Core Calculus for Functional Logic Programming

The Verse Calculus: a Core Calculus for Functional Logic Programming

  • LENNART AUGUSTSSON, Epic Games, Sweden
  • KOEN CLAESSEN, Epic Games, Sweden
  • RANJIT JHALA, Epic Games, USA
  • SIMON PEYTON JONES, Epic Games, United Kingdom
  • OLIN SHIVERS, Epic Games, USA/li>
  • TIM SWEENEY, Epic Games, USA

Functional logic languages have a rich literature, but it is tricky to give them a satisfying semantics. In this
paper we describe the Verse calculus, VC, a new core calculus for functional logical programming. Our main
contribution is to equip VC with a small-step rewrite semantics, so that we can reason about a VC program
in the same way as one does with lambda calculus; that is, by applying successive rewrites to it.

This draft paper describes our current thinking about Verse. It is very much a work in progress, not a finished
product. The broad outlines of the design are stable. However, the details of the rewrite rules may well change; we
think that the current rules are not confluent, in tiresome ways. (If you are knowledgeable about confluence proofs,
please talk to us!)We are eager to enagage in a dialogue with the community. Please do write to us.

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Also see the slide deck

Also see the slide deck Beyond Functional Programming: The Verse Programming Language.

View from 100,000 Feet
  • Verse is a functional logic language (like Curry or Mercury).
  • Verse is a declarative language: a variable names a single
    value, not a cell whose value changes over time.
  • Verse is lenient but not strict:
    • Like strict:, everything gets evaluated in the end
    • Like lazy: functions can be called before the argument has a value
  • Verse has an unusual static type system: types are firstclass values.
  • Verse has an effect system, rather than using monads.


The world may know Tim Sweeney for other things, but personally I will always know him as LtU user 97.

Seriously, that's a real co-author hall of fame...

Also published in ICFP

This has also been publish in Proceedings of the ACM on Programming Languages,Volume 7,Issue ICFP as The Verse Calculus: A Core Calculus for Deterministic Functional Logic Programming

Video Presentation