Handling Higher-Order Effects

03/07/2022
by   Cas van der Rest, et al.
0

Algebraic effect handlers is a programming paradigm where programmers can declare their own syntactic operations, and modularly define the semantics of these using effect handlers. However, we cannot directly define algebraic effect handlers for many higher-order operations (or higher-order effects) – i.e., operations that have computations as parameters. Examples of such higher-order effects include common programming features, such as try-catch exception handlers, function abstraction, and more. In this paper we present a new kind of effect handler that addresses this shortcoming. Our effect handler approach is closely related to previous work on scoped effect handlers, which also supports higher-order effects. A key difference is that our effect handlers make it easy to understand separate (higher-order) effects as separate concerns, since effects do not interact. In contrast, effect interaction is the default with scoped effect handlers. While separate concerns is the default with our handlers, it is also possible to define handlers where effects interact.

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