Capture-Avoiding and Hygienic Program Transformations (incl. Proofs)

Sebastian Erdweg, Tijs van der Storm, Yi Dai

Program transformations in terms of abstract syntax trees compromise referential integrity by introducing variable capture. Variable capture occurs when in the generated program a variable declaration accidentally shadows the intended target of a variable reference. Existing transformation systems either do not guarantee the avoidance of variable capture or impair the implementation of transformations. We present an algorithm called name-fix that automatically eliminates variable capture from a generated program by systematically renaming variables. name-fix is guided by a graph representation of the binding structure of a program, and requires name-resolution algorithms for the source language and the target language of a transformation. name-fix is generic and works for arbitrary transformations in any transformation system that supports origin tracking for names. We verify the correctness of name-fix and identify an interesting class of transformations for which name-fix provides hygiene. We demonstrate the applicability of name-fix for implementing capture-avoiding substitution, inlining, lambda lifting, and compilers for two domain-specific languages.

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