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This paper shows the equivalence of applicative similarity and contextual approximation, and hence also of bisimilarity and contextual equivalence, in the deterministic call-by-need lambda calculus with letrec. Bisimilarity simplifies equivalence proofs in the calculus and opens a way for more convenient correctness proofs for program transformations. Although this property may be a natural one to expect, to the best of our knowledge, this paper is the first one providing a proof. The proof technique is to transfer the contextual approximation into Abramsky's lazy lambda calculus by a fully abstract and surjective translation. This also shows that the natural embedding of Abramsky's lazy lambda calculus into the call-by-need lambda calculus with letrec is an isomorphism between the respective term-models.We show that the equivalence property proven in this paper transfers to a call-by-need letrec calculus developed by Ariola and Felleisen.

The paper proposes a variation of simulation for checking and proving contextual equivalence in a non-deterministic call-by-need lambda-calculus with constructors, case, seq, and a letrec with cyclic dependencies. It also proposes a novel method to prove its correctness. The calculus' semantics is based on a small-step rewrite semantics and on may-convergence. The cyclic nature of letrec bindings, as well as non-determinism, makes known approaches to prove that simulation implies contextual equivalence, such as Howe's proof technique, inapplicable in this setting. The basic technique for the simulation as well as the correctness proof is called pre-evaluation, which computes a set of answers for every closed expression. If simulation succeeds in finite computation depth, then it is guaranteed to show contextual preorder of expressions.

This note shows that in non-deterministic extended lambda calculi with letrec, the tool of applicative (bi)simulation is in general not usable for contextual equivalence, by giving a counterexample adapted from data flow analysis. It also shown that there is a flaw in a lemma and a theorem concerning finite simulation in a conference paper by the first two authors.

This paper shows the equivalence of applicative similarity and contextual approximation, and hence also of bisimilarity and contextual equivalence, in the deterministic call-by-need lambda calculus with letrec. Bisimilarity simplifies equivalence proofs in the calculus and opens a way for more convenient correctness proofs for program transformations. Although this property may be a natural one to expect, to the best of our knowledge, this paper is the first one providing a proof. The proof technique is to transfer the contextual approximation into Abramsky’s lazy lambda calculus by a fully abstract and surjective translation. This also shows that the natural embedding of Abramsky’s lazy lambda calculus into the call-by-need lambda calculus with letrec is an isomorphism between the respective term-models. We show that the equivalence property proven in this paper transfers to a call-by-need letrec calculus developed by Ariola and Felleisen. 1998 ACM Subject Classification: F.4.2, F.3.2, F.3.3, F.4.1. Key words and phrases: semantics, contextual equivalence, bisimulation, lambda calculus, call-by-need, letrec.

The paper proposes a variation of simulation for checking and proving contextual equivalence in a non-deterministic call-by-need lambda-calculus with constructors, case, seq, and a letrec with cyclic dependencies. It also proposes a novel method to prove its correctness. The calculus’ semantics is based on a small-step rewrite semantics and on may-convergence. The cyclic nature of letrec bindings, as well as nondeterminism, makes known approaches to prove that simulation implies contextual equivalence, such as Howe’s proof technique, inapplicable in this setting. The basic technique for the simulation as well as the correctness proof is called pre-evaluation, which computes a set of answers for every closed expression. If simulation succeeds in finite computation depth, then it is guaranteed to show contextual preorder of expressions.

This paper shows equivalence of applicative similarity and contextual approximation, and hence also of bisimilarity and contextual equivalence, in LR, the deterministic call-by-need lambda calculus with letrec extended by data constructors, case-expressions and Haskell's seqoperator. LR models an untyped version of the core language of Haskell. Bisimilarity simplifies equivalence proofs in the calculus and opens a way for more convenient correctness proofs for program transformations.
The proof is by a fully abstract and surjective transfer of the contextual approximation into a call-by-name calculus, which is an extension of Abramsky's lazy lambda calculus. In the latter calculus equivalence of similarity and contextual approximation can be shown by Howe's method. Using an equivalent but inductive definition of behavioral preorder we then transfer similarity back to the calculus LR.
The translation from the call-by-need letrec calculus into the extended call-by-name lambda calculus is the composition of two translations. The first translation replaces the call-by-need strategy by a call-by-name strategy and its correctness is shown by exploiting infinite tress, which emerge by unfolding the letrec expressions. The second translation encodes letrec-expressions by using multi-fixpoint combinators and its correctness is shown syntactically by comparing reductions of both calculi. A further result of this paper is an isomorphism between the mentioned calculi, and also with a call-by-need letrec calculus with a less complex definition of reduction than LR.

Our motivation is the question whether the lazy lambda calculus, a pure lambda calculus with the leftmost outermost rewriting strategy, considered under observational semantics, or extensions thereof, are an adequate model for semantic equivalences in real-world purely functional programming languages, in particular for a pure core language of Haskell. We explore several extensions of the lazy lambda calculus: addition of a seq-operator, addition of data constructors and case-expressions, and their combination, focusing on conservativity of these extensions. In addition to untyped calculi, we study their monomorphically and polymorphically typed versions. For most of the extensions we obtain non-conservativity which we prove by providing counterexamples. However, we prove conservativity of the extension by data constructors and case in the monomorphically typed scenario.

This paper shows equivalence of several versions of applicative similarity and contextual approximation, and hence also of applicative bisimilarity and contextual equivalence, in LR, the deterministic call-by-need lambda calculus with letrec extended by data constructors, case-expressions and Haskell's seq-operator. LR models an untyped version of the core language of Haskell. The use of bisimilarities simplifies equivalence proofs in calculi and opens a way for more convenient correctness proofs for program transformations. The proof is by a fully abstract and surjective transfer into a call-by-name calculus, which is an extension of Abramsky's lazy lambda calculus. In the latter calculus equivalence of our similarities and contextual approximation can be shown by Howe's method. Similarity is transferred back to LR on the basis of an inductively defined similarity. The translation from the call-by-need letrec calculus into the extended call-by-name lambda calculus is the composition of two translations. The first translation replaces the call-by-need strategy by a call-by-name strategy and its correctness is shown by exploiting infinite trees which emerge by unfolding the letrec expressions. The second translation encodes letrec-expressions by using multi-fixpoint combinators and its correctness is shown syntactically by comparing reductions of both calculi. A further result of this paper is an isomorphism between the mentioned calculi, which is also an identity on letrec-free expressions.