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Continuous Relations

This is the Base.Relations.Continuous module of the Agda Universal Algebra Library.

{-# OPTIONS --without-K --exact-split --safe #-}

module Base.Relations.Continuous where

-- Imports from Agda and the Agda Standard Library -------------------------------
open import Agda.Primitive  using () renaming ( Set to Type )
open import Level           using ( _⊔_ ; suc ; Level  )

-- Imports from agda-algebras ----------------------------------------------------
open import Overture        using ( Π ; Π-syntax ; Op ; arity[_] )

private variable α ρ : Level


In set theory, an n-ary relation on a set A is simply a subset of the n-fold product A × A × ⋯ × A. As such, we could model these as predicates over the type A × A × ⋯ × A, or as relations of type A → A → ⋯ → A → Type β (for some universe β). To implement such a relation in type theory, we would need to know the arity in advance, and then somehow form an n-fold arrow →. It’s easier and more general to instead define an arity type I : Type 𝓥, and define the type representing I-ary relations on A as the function type (I → A) → Type β. Then, if we are specifically interested in an n-ary relation for some natural number n, we could take I to be a finite set (e.g., of type Fin n).

Below we define Rel to be the type (I → A) → Type β and we call this the type of continuous relations. This generalizes “discrete” relations (i.e., relations of finite arity—unary, binary, etc), defined in the standard library since inhabitants of the continuous relation type can have arbitrary arity.

The relations of type Rel not completely general, however, since they are defined over a single type. Said another way, they are single-sorted relations. We will remove this limitation when we define the type of dependent continuous relations later in the module. Just as Rel A β is the single-sorted special case of the multisorted REL A B β in the standard library, so too is our continuous version, Rel I A β, the single-sorted special case of a completely general type of relations. The latter represents relations that not only have arbitrary arities, but also are defined over arbitrary families of types.

Concretely, given an arbitrary family A : I → Type α of types, we may have a relation from A i to A j to A k to …, where the collection represented by the “indexing” type I might not even be enumerable.

We refer to such relations as dependent continuous relations (or dependent relations for short) because the definition of a type that represents them requires depedent types. The REL type that we define below manifests this completely general notion of relation.

Warning! The type of binary relations in the standard library’s Relation.Binary module is also called Rel. Therefore, to use both the discrete binary relation from the standard library, and our continuous relation type, we recommend renaming the former when importing with a line like this

open import Relation.Binary renaming ( REL to BinREL ; Rel to BinRel )

Continuous and dependent relations

Here we define the types Rel and REL. The first of these represents predicates of arbitrary arity over a single type A. As noted above, we call these continuous relations. The definition of REL goes even further and exploits the full power of dependent types resulting in a completely general relation type, which we call the type of dependent relations.

Here, the tuples of a relation of type REL I 𝒜 β inhabit the dependent function type 𝒜 : I → Type α (where the codomain may depend on the input coordinate i : I of the domain). Heuristically, we can think of an inhabitant of type REL I 𝒜 β as a relation from 𝒜 i to 𝒜 j to 𝒜 k to …. (This is only a rough heuristic since I could denote an uncountable collection.) See the discussion below for a more detailed explanation.

module _ {𝓥 : Level} where
 ar : Type (suc 𝓥)
 ar = Type 𝓥

-- Relations of arbitrary arity over a single sort.
 Rel : Type α  ar  {ρ : Level}  Type (α  𝓥  suc ρ)
 Rel A I {ρ} = (I  A)  Type ρ

 Rel-syntax : Type α  ar  (ρ : Level)  Type (𝓥  α  suc ρ)
 Rel-syntax A I ρ = Rel A I {ρ}

 syntax Rel-syntax A I ρ = Rel[ A ^ I ] ρ
 infix 6 Rel-syntax

 -- The type of arbitrarily multisorted relations of arbitrary arity
 REL : (I : ar)  (I  Type α)  {ρ : Level}  Type (𝓥  α  suc ρ)
 REL I 𝒜 {ρ} = ((i : I)  𝒜 i)  Type ρ

 REL-syntax : (I : ar)  (I  Type α)  {ρ : Level}  Type (𝓥  α  suc ρ)
 REL-syntax I 𝒜 {ρ} = REL I 𝒜 {ρ}

 syntax REL-syntax I  i  𝒜) = REL[ i  I ] 𝒜
 infix 6 REL-syntax

Compatibility with general relations

 -- Lift a relation of tuples up to a relation on tuples of tuples.
 eval-Rel : {I : ar}{A : Type α}  Rel A I{ρ}  (J : ar)  (I  J  A)  Type (𝓥  ρ)
 eval-Rel R J t =  (j : J)  R λ i  t i j

A relation R is compatible with an operation f if for every tuple t of tuples belonging to R, the tuple whose elements are the result of applying f to sections of t also belongs to R.

 compatible-Rel : {I J : ar}{A : Type α}  Op(A) J  Rel A I{ρ}  Type (𝓥  α  ρ)
 compatible-Rel f R  =  t  eval-Rel R arity[ f ] t  R λ i  f (t i)
 -- (inferred type of t is I → J → A)

Compatibility of operations with dependent relations

 eval-REL :  {I J : ar}{𝒜 : I  Type α}
            REL I 𝒜 {ρ}          -- the relation type: subsets of Π[ i ∈ I ] 𝒜 i
                                  -- (where Π[ i ∈ I ] 𝒜 i is a type of dependent functions or "tuples")
            ((i : I)  J  𝒜 i)  -- an I-tuple of (𝒥 i)-tuples
            Type (𝓥  ρ)

 eval-REL{I = I}{J}{𝒜} R t =  j  R λ i  (t i) j

 compatible-REL :  {I J : ar}{𝒜 : I  Type α}
                  (∀ i  Op (𝒜 i) J)  -- for each i : I, an operation of type  Op(𝒜 i){J} = (J → 𝒜 i) → 𝒜 i
                  REL I 𝒜 {ρ}         -- a subset of Π[ i ∈ I ] 𝒜 i
                                       -- (where Π[ i ∈ I ] 𝒜 i is a type of dependent functions or "tuples")
                  Type (𝓥  α  ρ)
 compatible-REL {I = I}{J}{𝒜} 𝑓 R  = Π[ t  ((i : I)  J  𝒜 i) ] eval-REL R t

The definition eval-REL denotes an evaluation function which lifts an I-ary relation to an (I → J)-ary relation. The lifted relation will relate an I-tuple of J-tuples when the I-slices (or rows) of the J-tuples belong to the original relation. The second definition, compatible-REL, denotes compatibility of an operation with a continuous relation.

Detailed explanation of the dependent relation type

The last two definitions above may be hard to comprehend at first, so perhaps a more detailed explanation of the semantics of these deifnitions would help.

First, one should internalize the fact that 𝒶 : I → J → A denotes an I-tuple of J-tuples of inhabitants of A.

Next, recall that a continuous relation R denotes a certain collection of I-tuples (if x : I → A, then R x asserts that x belongs to R). For such R, the type eval-REL R represents a certain collection of I-tuples of J-tuples, namely, the tuples 𝒶 : I → J → A for which eval-REL R 𝒶 holds.

For simplicity, pretend for a moment that J is a finite set, say, {1, 2, ..., J}, so that we can write down a couple of the J-tuples as columns. For example, here are the i-th and k-th columns (for some i k : I).

𝒶 i 1      𝒶 k 1
𝒶 i 2      𝒶 k 2  <-- (a row of I such columns forms an I-tuple)
  ⋮          ⋮
𝒶 i J      𝒶 k J

Now eval-REL R 𝒶 is defined by ∀ j → R (λ i → 𝒶 i j) which asserts that each row of the I columns shown above belongs to the original relation R. Finally, compatible-REL takes

← Base.Relations.Discrete Base.Relations.Properties →