An injective language for reversible computation

S-C. Mu, Z. Hu and M. Takeichi. In Mathematics of Program Construction 2004, LNCS 3125, pp. 289-313, July 2004.

Erasure of information incurs an increase in entropy and dissipatse heat. Therefore, information-preserving computation is essential for constructing computers that use energy more effectively. A more recent motivation to understand reversible transformations also comes from the design of editors where editing actions on a view need to be reflected back to the source data.

In this paper we present a point-free functional language, with a relational semantics, in which the programmer is allowed to define injective functions only. Non-injective functions can be transformed into a program returning a history. The language is presented with many examples, and its relationship with Bennett’s reversible Turing machine is explained.

The language serves as a good model for program construction and reasoning for reversible computers, and hopefully for modelling bi-directional updating in an editor.

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