Convergence in Infinitary Term Graph Rewriting Systems is Simple

Patrick Bahr
Mathematical Structures in Computer Science, p. 1–52, 2018.


Term graph rewriting provides a formalism for implementing term rewriting in an efficient manner by emulating duplication via sharing. Infinitary term rewriting has been introduced to study infinite term reduction sequences. Such infinite reductions can be used to model non-strict evaluation. In this paper, we unify term graph rewriting and infinitary term rewriting thereby addressing both components of lazy evaluation: non-strictness and sharing. In contrast to previous attempts to formalise infinitary term graph rewriting, our approach is based on a simple and natural generalisation of the modes of convergence of infinitary term rewriting. We show that this new approach is better suited for infinitary term graph rewriting as it is simpler and more general. The latter is demonstrated by the fact that our notions of convergence give rise to two independent canonical and exhaustive constructions of infinite term graphs from finite term graphs via metric and ideal completion. In addition, we show that our notions of convergence on term graphs are sound w.r.t. the ones employed in infinitary term rewriting in the sense that convergence is preserved by unravelling term graphs to terms. Moreover, the resulting infinitary term graph calculi provide a unified framework for both infinitary term rewriting and term graph rewriting, which makes it possible to study the correspondences between these two worlds more closely.

Category: Rewriting