Specific denotations for pure types

Conal Elliott conal at conal.net
Fri Mar 20 15:02:15 EDT 2009

I just learned on #haskell that Int has implementation/machine-dependent
semantics.  I'd always assumed that pure (non-imperative) types have
specific denotational models, so that for instance the denotation of
something of type Int is either bottom or a (smallish) integer.  Since
precise & simple denotation is at the heart of how I think about
programming, and Haskell is my favorite language, I'm startled and
disappointed.  I knew we didn't have a denotational semantics for Haskell,
but I'd previously assumed it was just a matter of working out the details.

Has implementation-independent denotation been discussed for Haskell' ?


  - Conal
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