assertion_stmt := "assert" sexpr ";"

The usual assert statement. Abort the program if the argument expression evaluates to false when control flows through the assert statement. Cannot be switched off!


assertion_stmt  := "axiom" sdeclname sfun_arg ":" sexpr ";"

Define an axiom with a general predicate. An axiom is a function which is true for all arguments. Axioms are core assertions about invariants which can be used to specify semantics and form the basis of reasoning about semantics which goes beyond structure.

assertion_stmt  := "axiom" sdeclname sfun_arg ":" sexpr "=" sexpr ";"

A variant of an axiom which expresses the semantic equality of two expressions. Do not confuse this with an expresion containing run time equality (==). Semantic equality means that one expression could be replaced by the other without any observable difference in behaviour in any program, this can be asserted even if the type does not provide an equality operator (==).


assertion_stmt  := "lemma" sdeclname sfun_arg ":" sexpr ";"
assertion_stmt  := "lemma" sdeclname sfun_arg ":" sexpr "=" sexpr ";"

A lemma is a proposition which it is expected could be proved by a good automatic theorem prover, given the axioms.


assertion_stmt  := "theorem" sdeclname sfun_arg ":" sexpr proof? ";"
assertion_stmt  := "theorem" sdeclname sfun_arg ":" sexpr "=" sexpr proof? ";"

A theorem is a proposition which it is expected could NOT be proved by a good automatic theorem prover, given the axioms. In the future, we might like to provide a “proof sketch” which a suitable tool could fill in. For the present, you can give a proof as a plain text in a string as a hint to the reader.


assertion_stmt  := "reduce" sname "|"? sreductions ";"
  private sreduce_args := "(" stypeparameter_comma_list ")"
  private sreduction := stvarlist sreduce_args ":" sexpr "=>" sexpr
  private sreductions := sreduction
  private sreductions := sreduction "|" sreductions

A reduction is a special kind of proposition of equational form which also directs the compiler to actually replace the LHS expression with the RHS expression when found.

Reductions allow powerful high level optimisations, such as eliminating two successive list reversals.

The client must take great care that reductions don’t lead to infinite loops. Confluence isn’t required but is probably desirable.

Reductions should be used sparingly because searching for patterns to reduce is applied to every sub-expression of every expression in the whole program, repeatedly after any reduction is applied, and this whole process is done at several different places in the program, to try to effect the reductions. Particularly both before and after inlining, since that can destroy or create candidate patterns.