Haskell Symposium 2018
Many fancy types (e.g., generalized algebraic data types, type families) require a type checker plugin. These fancy types have a type index (e.g., type level natural numbers) with an equality relation that is difficult or impossible to represent using GHC’s built-in type equality. The most practical way to represent these equality relations is through a plugin that asserts equality constraints. However, such plugins are difficult to write and reason about. In this paper, we (1) present a formal theory of reasoning about the correctness of type checker plugins for type indices, and, (2) apply this theory in creating Thoralf, a generic and extensible plugin for type indices that translates GHC constraint problems to queries to an external SMT solver. By “generic and extensible”, we mean the restrictions on extending Thoralf are slight, and, if some type index could be encoded as an SMT sort, then a programmer could extend Thoralf by providing this encoding function.
Otwani, Divesh and Eisenberg, Richard A., "The Thoralf Plugin: For Your Fancy Type Needs" (2018). Computer Science Faculty Research and Scholarship. 82.