Higher-order arity raising

John Hannan, Patrick Hicks

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Arity raising, also known as variable splitting or flattening, is the program optimization which transforms a function of one argument into a function of several arguments by decomposing the structure of the original one argument into individual components in that structure. This optimization eliminates the need for the structuring of the components and also allows more arguments to be passed in registers during a function call. We present a formal specification of arity raising for a higher-order functional language. This specification supports the general arity raising of functions, even for functions which are passed as arguments or returned as values. We define a practical algorithm, based on algorithm W, which implements arity raising, and we prove this algorithm sound with respect to the deductive system. These results provide a declarative framework for reasoning about arity raising and support a richer form of the transformation than is currently found in compilers for functional languages.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)27-38
Number of pages12
JournalSIGPLAN Notices (ACM Special Interest Group on Programming Languages)
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1999

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Software
  • Computer Graphics and Computer-Aided Design


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