The Optimal Fixed Point Combinator
In this paper, we develop a general theory of fixed point combinators, in higher-order logic equipped with Hilbert's epsilon operator. This combinator allows for a direct and effective formalization of corecursive values, recursive and corecursive functions, as well as functions mixing recursion and corecursion. It supports higher-order recursion, nested recursion, and offers a proper treatment of partial functions in the sense that domains need not be hardwired in the definition of functionals. Our work, which has been entirely implemented in Coq, unifies and generalizes existing results on contraction conditions and complete ordered families of equivalences, and relies on the theory of optimal fixed points for the treatment of partial functions. It provides a practical way to formalize circular definitions in higher-order logic.
ITP: International Conference on Interactive Theorem Proving, July 2010