Structural Recursion with Locally Scoped Names (Abstract)

This paper introduces a new recursion principle for inductively defined data modulo α-equivalence of bound names that makes use of Odersky-style local names when recursing over bound names. It is formulated in simply typed λ-calculus extended with names that can be restricted to a lexical scope, tested for equality, explicitly swapped and abstracted. The new recursion principle is motivated by the nominal sets notion of "α-structural recursion", whose use of names and associated freshness side-conditions in recursive definitions formalizes common practice with binders. The new calculus has a simple interpretation in nominal sets equipped with name restriction operations. It is shown to adequately represent α-structural recursion while avoiding the need to verify freshness side-conditions in definitions and computations. The paper is a revised and expanded version of [AM Pitts, "Nominal System T", Proc. ACM POPL 2010].