# Inductive Types with Path Constructors

## ⇦ Previous · Index · Next ⇨

Recall the previous post, in which we had higher dimensional paths (squares) and we can use path application to reduce their dimensions.

`module HITs where`

`open import Cubical.Core.Everything`

`open import Cubical.Foundations.Prelude`

`open import Cubical.Foundations.Isomorphism`

`open import Agda.Builtin.Nat`

`variable A : Set`

Recall our classical integer definition (click the `Int`

to see):

`import Cubical.Data.Int using (Int)`

It's (kind of) bad as it's not symmetric -- Taking the number two as an example, positive two is `pos 2`

, while negative two is `negsuc 1`

. Proving the associative law on the addition operation of this integer is a pain in the ass due to the lack of symmetry (take a glance at here) on this integer (the definition is not symmetric, therefore the operations are naturally not symmetric as well).

We may want a symmetric version of integers -- imagine something like this:

`data Int : Set where`

` pos : Nat -> Int`

` neg : Nat -> Int`

but now we're having two zeros -- `pos 0`

and `neg 0`

. We define the classical integer not symmetrically **intentionally** to avoid the presence of two zeros, as mathematically we claim that zero is neither positive nor negative (we can say it in another way that there's positive zero but not negative).

Question: *can we tell Agda that **pos 0** is equal to **neg 0**?* If so, the above definition will be usable!

The answers is *yes yes yes, YES*!

## Path Constructor

Recall that paths are:

Defined as functions whose domains are intervals and codomains are the endpoints' types

Treated as an equivalence relation

we can add constructors that are paths, to a datatype, like adding `pos 0 ≡ neg 0`

, which is a path (and if there's a definition of such path, it's gonna be a function from interval to Int), to `Int`

:

` zro : pos 0 ≡ neg 0`

If we rewrite the type of `zro`

using a function type (while `zro`

itself has a path type) we get a constructor-ish type (whose return type is the type it's constructing):

`zroFn : I -> Int`

`zroFn i = zro i`

Since `zro`

returns an `Int`

and it's a constructor, we call it "path constructor". Before introducing some advanced properties of path constructors, we can already have a lot of fun stuffs like this:

`posneg : pos 0 ≡ neg 0`

`posneg = zro`

`negpos : neg 0 ≡ pos 0`

`negpos i = zro (~ i)`

## Path Constraints

What's special about path constructors is that they also *constraint* your pattern matching clauses when a datatype with path constructors appear at the left-hand-side of the pattern matching clauses. I'll go with an example -- the `succ`

function. When we write the `succ`

function for `Int`

, we'll need to pattern match over the path constructor:

`succ : Int -> Int`

`succ (pos x) = pos (suc x)`

`succ (neg zero) = pos 1`

`succ (neg (suc x)) = neg x`

`-- The above three clauses are trivial`

`succ (zro i) = -- What should we return in this case?`

Well, the rule for the path constructor case is that, we can return anything satisfying (taken this `succ`

on `Int`

for instance):

`succ (zro i)`

should reduce (definitionally equal) to:`succ (pos 0)`

(the`pos 0`

comes from`zro i0`

) when`i`

equals (substituted with)`i0`

`succ (neg 0)`

(the`neg 0`

comes from`zro i1`

) when`i`

equals (substituted with)`i1`

We may call this property for short "the path endpoints are respected".

and because both `succ (pos 0)`

and `succ (neg 0)`

equals to `pos 1`

, the only possible body for the `zro`

case will be `pos 1`

.

`succ : Int -> Int`

`succ (pos x) = pos (suc x)`

`succ (neg zero) = pos 1`

`succ (neg (suc x)) = neg x`

`succ (zro i) = pos 1`

In fact, Agda's constraint solver is abled to solve some clauses of the function. We can write the above function with holes:

`succ′ : Int -> Int`

`succ′ (pos x) = pos (suc x)`

`succ′ (neg zero) = {!!}`

`succ′ (neg (suc x)) = neg x`

`succ′ (zro i) = {!!}`

Load this blog in your Agda editor and try using "Auto" on them. Both holes can be solved.

Due to the presence of the path constructor whose type is `pos 0 ≡ neg 0`

, Agda knows `succ' (neg zero)`

is equal to `succ' (pos zero)`

, where `succ' (pos x)`

is defined as `pos (suc x)`

, applying the pattern with `pos zero`

results in `pos (suc zero)`

, which is `pos 1`

.

Similarly, we can define the `pred`

function:

`pred : Int -> Int`

`pred (pos zero) = neg 1`

`pred (pos (suc x)) = pos x`

`pred (neg x) = neg (suc x)`

`pred (zro i) = neg 1`

## Isomorphism

`module IsoInt where`

` open Cubical.Data.Int renaming (Int to StdInt)`

` pattern spos n = StdInt.pos n`

` pattern nsuc n = StdInt.negsuc n`

Given the standard Integer definition, we can prove that the HIT (short for higher-inductive types, that are inductive types with path constructors) integer is isomorphic to it. To prove isomorphism under type theory, we need to provide two function that (in fact, only known to us) are inverse to each other, and prove this inverse relation (to convince Agda that they are inverse).

From `StdInt`

to `Int`

, we turn `pos`

into `pos`

, and `negsuc`

into `neg ∘ suc`

:

` StdInt->Int : StdInt -> Int`

` StdInt->Int (spos n) = pos n`

` StdInt->Int (nsuc n) = neg (suc n)`

On the other hand, due to the absence of path constructors in the standard definition, we map `zro i`

to `pos 0`

.

` Int->StdInt : Int -> StdInt`

` Int->StdInt (pos x) = spos x`

` Int->StdInt (neg zero) = spos 0`

` Int->StdInt (neg (suc x)) = nsuc x`

` Int->StdInt (zro i) = spos 0`

Let's try to prove the two functions are actually inverse to each other. One side of the isomorphism is trivial:

` StdInt->Int->StdInt : (n : StdInt) -> Int->StdInt (StdInt->Int n) ≡ n`

` StdInt->Int->StdInt (spos _) = refl`

` StdInt->Int->StdInt (nsuc _) = refl`

This is provable because our two patterns substitutes `Int->StdInt (StdInt->Int n)`

into `Int->StdInt (StdInt->Int (spos n))`

and `Int->StdInt (StdInt->Int (nsuc n))`

, which unfolds to `spos n`

and `nsuc n`

, identical to the right-hand-side of the path in the return type.

Two cases of the other side of the isomorphism is a bit harder, I'll talk about'em one by one (Agda cell will follow below).

` Int->StdInt->Int : (n : Int) -> StdInt->Int (Int->StdInt n) ≡ n`

` Int->StdInt->Int (pos x) = refl`

` Int->StdInt->Int (neg zero) =`

This clause is the first non-trivial case. If we substitute `Int->StdInt n`

with `neg zero`

, we get `spos 0`

, while substituting `StdInt->Int n`

with `spos 0`

we get `pos 0`

. Therefore this clause has type `pos 0 ≡ neg 0`

, which is exactly the type of `zro`

.

` zro`

Then we fill another trivial case.

` Int->StdInt->Int (neg (suc x)) = refl`

` Int->StdInt->Int (zro i) = lemma`

` where`

The last case is also a bit complicated, we're introducing a lemma here for readability. Doing some simple substitution we can come up with the following signature:

` lemma : pos 0 ≡ zro i`

` lemma j =`

This is a path with an interval variable in the context, which can be seen as a path between paths. The two sides of the paths are `pos 0`

and `zro i`

, while `pos 0`

(the `j = i0`

side -- I mean the `x = y`

(`x`

is an interval variable, `y`

is `i0`

or `i1`

) side by the `y`

endpoint of the path indexed by `x`

) is a constant value but `zro i`

(the `j = i1`

side) has two different sides `pos 0`

(the `i = i0`

side) and `neg 0`

(the `i = i1`

side).

To solve a cubical problem, we observe it by graphing it:

This is exactly the `minSq`

introduced in the previous blog post (substituting `a`

with `pos 0`

, `b`

with `neg 0`

)! Recall that the `minSq`

is defined with the `min`

operator, we apply the same technique here:

` zro (i ∧ j)`

We're done!

` Int->StdInt->Int : (n : Int) → StdInt->Int (Int->StdInt n) ≡ n`

` Int->StdInt->Int (pos x) = refl`

` Int->StdInt->Int (neg zero) = zro`

` Int->StdInt->Int (neg (suc x)) = refl`

` Int->StdInt->Int (zro i) = lemma`

` where`

` lemma : pos 0 ≡ zro i`

` lemma j = zro (i ∧ j)`

### Isomorphism and Path

A nice thing that the Cubical Type Theory can bring you is that you can create a path between isomorphic types. The theory behind is beyong the topic of this blog, but we can have a try on the library function based on the theory:

` Int≡StdInt : Int ≡ StdInt`

` Int≡StdInt = isoToPath (iso Int->StdInt `

` StdInt->Int `

` StdInt->Int->StdInt `

` Int->StdInt->Int)`

## A problem

There's another integer type defined as HIT:

`infixl 5 _⊝_`

`data DeltaInt : Set where`

` _⊝_ : Nat -> Nat -> DeltaInt`

` cancel : ∀ a b -> a ⊝ b ≡ suc a ⊝ suc b`

It's defined as one natural substracted by another. This is a brand new HIT, so I recommend readers to define some common operations for it and prove their properties to get familiar with this HIT.

We can imagine a lemma of which like this:

`cancelDiamond : ∀ a b i → cancel a b i ≡ cancel (suc a) (suc b) i`

`cancelDiamond a b = {!!}`

Since `a ⊝ b`

is equal to `suc a ⊝ suc b`

, we can generalize this equality relation over an interval (which is exactly the `cancelDiamond`

function). But how do we prove this? Try graphing `cancelDiamond`

, we see a square, but it's neither a min nor a max square.

The answer will be revealed in the next blog post using new cubical operations.

##### License

*This and the **original version** of this blog are licensed under a **Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License**.*