Computer Science Department
School of Computer Science, Carnegie Mellon University


A Consistent Semantics of Self-Adjusting Computation

Umut A. Acar*, Matthias Blume*, Jacob Donham

December 2006


Keywords: Self-adjusting computation, semantics, correctness proof

This paper presents a semantics of self-adjusting computation and proves that the semantics is correct and consistent. The semantics integrates change propagation with the classic idea of memoization to enable reuse of computations under mutation to memory. During evaluation, reuse of a computation via memoization triggers a change propagation that adjusts the reused computation to reflect the mutated memory. Since the semantics combines memoization and change-propagation, it involves both non-determinism and mutation. Our consistency theorem states that the nondeterminism is not harmful: any two evaluations of the same program starting at the same state yield the same result. Our correctness theorem states that mutation is not harmful: self-adjusting programs are consistent with purely functional programming. We formalized the semantics and its meta-theory in the LF logical framework and machine-checked the proofs in Twelf.

28 pages

*Toyota Technological Institute at Chicago

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