Towards a Java Subtyping Operad

06/01/2017
by   Moez A. AbdelGawad, et al.
Rice University
0

The subtyping relation in Java exhibits self-similarity. The self-similarity in Java subtyping is interesting and intricate due to the existence of wildcard types and, accordingly, the existence of three subtyping rules for generic types: covariant subtyping, contravariant subtyping and invariant subtyping. Supporting bounded type variables also adds to the complexity of the subtyping relation in Java and in other generic nominally-typed OO languages such as C# and Scala. In this paper we explore defining an operad to model the construction of the subtyping relation in Java and in similar generic nominally-typed OO programming languages. Operads, from category theory, are frequently used to model self-similar phenomena. The Java subtyping operad, we hope, will shed more light on understanding the type systems of generic nominally-typed OO languages.

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