Patrick Bahr Associate Professor, IT University of Copenhagen

Modal FRP For All: Functional Reactive Programming Without Space Leaks in Haskell

Patrick Bahr
Submitted to POPL 2021.


Functional reactive programming (FRP) provides a high-level interface for implementing reactive systems in a declarative manner. However, this high-level interface has to be carefully reigned in to ensure that programs can in fact be executed in practice. Specifically, one must ensure that FRP programs are productive, causal and can be implemented without introducing space leaks. In recent years, modal types have been demonstrated to be an effective tool to ensure these operational properties.

In this paper, we present Rattus, a modal FRP language that simplifies previous modal FRP calculi while still maintaining the operational guarantees for productivity, causality, and space leaks. The simplified type system makes Rattus a practical programming language that can be integrated with existing functional programming languages. To demonstrate this, we have implemented a shallow embedding of Rattus in Haskell that allows the programmer to write Rattus code in familiar Haskell syntax and seamlessly integrate it with regular Haskell code. This combines the benefits enjoyed by FRP libraries such as Yampa, namely access to a rich library ecosystem (e.g. for graphics programming), with the strong operational guarantees offered by a bespoke type system. All proofs have been formalised using the Coq proof assistant.

Categories: Type Systems, Functional Programming

Tags: Functional Reactive Programming, Modal Types, Type Systems, Haskell, Garbage Collection