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  1. Sound migratory typing envisions a safe and smooth refactoring of untyped code bases to typed ones. However, the cost of enforcing safety with run-time checks is often prohibitively high, thus performance regressions are a likely occurrence. Additional types can often recover performance, but choosing the right components to type is difficult because of the exponential size of the migratory typing lattice. In principal though, migration could be guided by off-the-shelf profiling tools. To examine this hypothesis, this paper follows the rational programmer method and reports on the results of an experiment on tens of thousands of performance-debugging scenarios via seventeen strategies for turning profiler output into an actionable next step. The most effective strategy is the use of deep types to eliminate the most costly boundaries between typed and untyped components; this strategy succeeds in more than 50% of scenarios if two performance degradations are tolerable along the way.

     
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available October 16, 2024
  2. Equipping an existing programming language with a gradual type system requires two major steps. The first and most visible one in academia is to add a notation for types and a type checking apparatus. The second, highly practical one is to provide a type veneer for the large number of existing untyped libraries; doing so enables typed components to import pieces of functionality and get their uses type-checked, without any changes to the libraries. When programmers create such typed veneers for libraries, they make mistakes that persist and cause trouble. The question is whether the academically investigated run-time checks for gradual type systems assist programmers with debugging such mistakes. This paper provides a first, surprising answer to this question via a rational-programmer investigation: run-time checks alone are typically less helpful than the safety checks of the underlying language. Combining Natural run-time checks with blame, however, provides significantly superior debugging hints.

     
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available August 30, 2024
  3. The literature presents many strategies for enforcing the integrity of types when typed code interacts with untyped code. This article presents a uniform evaluation framework that characterizes the differences among some major existing semantics for typed–untyped interaction. Type system designers can use this framework to analyze the guarantees of their own dynamic semantics.

     
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  4. Sound gradual types come in many forms and offer varying levels of soundness. Two extremes are deep types and shal- low types. Deep types offer compositional guarantees but depend on expensive higher-order contracts. Shallow types enforce only local properties, but can be implemented with first-order checks. This paper presents a language design that supports both deep and shallow types to utilize their complementary strengths. In the mixed language, deep types satisfy a strong com- plete monitoring guarantee and shallow types satisfy a first- order notion of type soundness. The design serves as the blueprint for an implementation in which programmers can easily switch between deep and shallow to leverage their dis- tinct advantages. On the GTP benchmark suite, the median worst-case overhead drops from several orders of magnitude down to 3x relative to untyped. Where an exhaustive search is feasible, 40% of all configurations run fastest with a mix of deep and shallow types. 
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  5. Mixed-typed languages enable programmers to link typed and untyped components in various ways. Some offer rich type systems to facilitate the smooth migration of untyped code to the typed world; others merely provide a convenient form of type Dynamic together with a conventional structural type system. Orthogonal to this dimension, Natural systems ensure the integrity of types with a sophisticated contract system, while Transient systems insert simple first-order checks at strategic places within typed code. Furthermore, each method of ensuring type integrity comes with its own blame-assignment strategy. Typed Racket has a rich migratory type system and enforces the types with a Natural semantics. Reticulated Python has a simple structural type system extended with Dynamic and enforces types with a Transient semantics. While Typed Racket satisfies the most stringent gradual-type soundness properties at a significant performance cost, Reticulated Python seems to limit the performance penalty to a tolerable degree and is nevertheless type sound. This comparison raises the question of whether Transient checking is applicable to and beneficial for a rich migratory type system. This paper reports on the surprising difficulties of adapting the Transient semantics of Reticulated Python to the rich migratory type system of Typed Racket. The resulting implementation, Shallow Typed Racket, is faster than the standard Deep Typed Racket but only when the Transient blame assignment strategy is disabled. For language designers, this report provides valuable hints on how to equip an existing compiler to support a Transient semantics. For theoreticians, the negative experience with Transient blame calls for a thorough investigation of this strategy. 
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  6. Programming language theoreticians develop blame assignment systems and prove blame theorems for gradually typed programming languages. Practical implementations of gradual typing almost completely ignore the idea of blame assignment. This contrast raises the question whether blame provides any value to the working programmer and poses the challenge of how to evaluate the effectiveness of blame assignment strategies. This paper contributes (1) the first evaluation method for blame assignment strategies and (2) the results from applying it to three different semantics for gradual typing. These results cast doubt on the theoretical effectiveness of blame in gradual typing. In most scenarios, strategies with imprecise blame assignment are as helpful to a rationally acting programmer as strategies with provably correct blame. 
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  7. Abstract The research on gradual typing has led to many variations on the Gradually Typed Lambda Calculus (GTLC) of Siek & Taha (2006) and its underlying cast calculus. For example, Wadler and Findler (2009) added blame tracking, Siek et al . (2009) investigated alternate cast evaluation strategies, and Herman et al . (2010) replaced casts with coercions for space efficiency. The meta-theory for the GTLC has also expanded beyond type safety to include blame safety (Tobin-Hochstadt & Felleisen, 2006), space consumption (Herman et al ., 2010), and the gradual guarantees (Siek et al ., 2015). These results have been proven for some variations of the GTLC but not others. Furthermore, researchers continue to develop variations on the GTLC, but establishing all of the meta-theory for new variations is time-consuming. This article identifies abstractions that capture similarities between many cast calculi in the form of two parameterized cast calculi, one for the purposes of language specification and the other to guide space-efficient implementations. The article then develops reusable meta-theory for these two calculi, proving type safety, blame safety, the gradual guarantees, and space consumption. Finally, the article instantiates this meta-theory for eight cast calculi including five from the literature and three new calculi. All of these definitions and theorems, including the two parameterized calculi, the reusable meta-theory, and the eight instantiations, are mechanized in Agda making extensive use of module parameters and dependent records to define the abstractions. 
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  8. null (Ed.)
    Absatract Actors collaborate via message exchanges to reach a common goal. Experience has shown, however, that pure message-based communication is limiting and forces developers to use design patterns. The recently introduced dataspace actor model borrows ideas from the tuple space realm. It offers a tightly controlled, shared storage facility for groups of actors. In this model, actors assert facts that they wish to share and interests in such assertions. The dataspace notifies interested parties of changes to the set of assertions that they are interested in. Although it is straightforward to add the dataspace model to untyped languages, adding a typed interface is both necessary and challenging. Without restrictions on exchanged data, a faulty actor may propagate erroneous data through a malformed assertion, causing an otherwise well-behaved actor to crash—violating the key principle of failure isolation. A properly designed type system can prevent this scenario and rule out other kinds of uncooperative actors. This paper presents the first structural type system for the dataspace model of actors; it does not address the question of behavioral types for assertion-oriented protocols. 
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