Coq for Homotopy Type Theory
Start date: Jun 1, 2015,
End date: May 31, 2020
Every year, software bugs cost hundreds of millions of euros to companies and administrations. Hence, software quality is a prevalent notion and interactive theorem provers based on type theory have shown their efficiency to prove correctness of important pieces of software like the C compiler of the CompCert project. One main interest of such theorem provers is the ability to extract directly the code from the proof. Unfortunately, their democratization suffers from a major drawback, the mismatch between equality in mathematics and in type theory. Thus, significant Coq developments have only been done by virtuosos playing with advanced concepts of computer science and mathematics. Recently, an extension of type theory with homotopical concepts such as univalence is gaining traction because it allows for the first time to marry together expected principles of equality. But the univalence principle has been treated so far as a new axiom which breaks one fundamental property of mechanized proofs: the ability to compute with programs that make use of this axiom. The main goal of the CoqHoTT project is to provide a new generation of proof assistants with a computational version of univalence and use them as a base to implement effective logical model transformation so that the power of the internal logic of the proof assistant needed to prove the correctness of a program can be decided and changed at compile time—according to a trade-off between efficiency and logical expressivity. Our approach is based on a radically new compilation phase technique into a core type theory to modularize the difficulty of finding a decidable type checking algorithm for homotopy type theory. The impact of the CoqHoTT project will be very strong. Even if Coq is already a success, this project will promote it as a major proof assistant, for both computer scientists and mathematicians. CoqHoTT will become an essential tool for program certification and formalization of mathematics.
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