Variations on inductive-recursive definitions

Ghani, Neil and McBride, Conor and Nordvall Forsberg, Fredrik and Spahn, Stephan; (2017) Variations on inductive-recursive definitions. In: Proceedings of the 42nd International Symposium on Mathematical Foundations of Computer Science. Leibniz International Proceedings in Informatics . Schloss Dagstuhl- Leibniz-Zentrum fur Informatik GmbH, Dagstuhl Publishing, DNK. (

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Dybjer and Setzer introduced the definitional principle of inductive-recursively defined families — i.e. of families ( U : Set , T : U → D ) such that the inductive definition of U may depend on the recursively defined T — by defining a type DS D E of codes. Each c : DS D E defines a functor J c K : Fam D → Fam E , and ( U , T ) = μ J c K : Fam D is exhibited as the initial algebra of J c K . This paper considers the composition of DS -definable functors: Given F : Fam C → Fam D and G : Fam D → Fam E , is G ◦ F : Fam C → Fam E DS -definable, if F and G are? We show that this is the case if and only if powers of families are DS -definable, which seems unlikely. To construct composition, we present two new systems UF and PN of codes for inductive-recursive definitions, with UF ↪ → DS ↪ → PN . Both UF and PN are closed under composition. Since PN defines a potentially larger class of functors, we show that there is a model where initial algebras of PN -functors exist by adapting Dybjer-Setzer’s proof for DS .


Ghani, Neil ORCID logoORCID:, McBride, Conor ORCID logoORCID:, Nordvall Forsberg, Fredrik ORCID logoORCID: and Spahn, Stephan;