Modal Reasoning = Metric Reasoning, via Lawvere

by   Ugo Dal Lago, et al.

Graded modal types systems and coeffects are becoming a standard formalism to deal with context-dependent computations where code usage plays a central role. The theory of program equivalence for modal and coeffectful languages, however, is considerably underdeveloped if compared to the denotational and operational semantics of such languages. This raises the question of how much of the theory of ordinary program equivalence can be given in a modal scenario. In this work, we show that coinductive equivalences can be extended to a modal setting, and we do so by generalising Abramsky's applicative bisimilarity to coeffectful behaviours. To achieve this goal, we develop a general theory of ternary program relations based on the novel notion of a comonadic lax extension, on top of which we define a modal extension of Abramsky's applicative bisimilarity (which we dub modal applicative bisimilarity). We prove such a relation to be a congruence, this way obtaining a compositional technique for reasoning about modal and coeffectful behaviours. But this is not the end of the story: we also establish a correspondence between modal program relations and program distances. This correspondence shows that modal applicative bisimilarity and (a properly extended) applicative bisimilarity distance coincide, this way revealing that modal program equivalences and program distances are just two sides of the same coin.


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