VMlambda: A Functional Calculus for Scientific Discovery

We are pleased to announce the following paper, available at:


Comments are welcome.

Best regards,

    Eijiro Sumii
    Hideo Bannai

       VMlambda: A Functional Calculus for Scientific Discovery

		   Eijiro Sumii        Hideo Bannai


We present VMlambda, a formalization and implementation of the
functional language VML.

VML is a programming language proposed by discovery scientists for the
purpose of assisting the process of knowledge discovery.  It is a
non-trivial extension of ML with _hypothetical views_.  Operationally,
a hypothetical view is a value with a representation that indicates
how the value was created.  The notion of hypothetical views has
already been successful in the domain of genome analysis, and known to
be useful in the process of knowledge discovery.  However, VML as a
programming language was only informally defined in English prose, and
indeed found problematic both in theory and in practice.  Thus, a
proper definition and implementation of VML with formal foundations
would be of great help to discovery science and hence corresponding
domain sciences.

This paper gives a solid foundation of VML by extending the standard
simply typed call-by-value lambda-calculus.  Although this extension,
VMlambda, is simple and clear, its design required much care to find
and fix problems of the original VML.  We also present a real
implementation of VMlambda, written in Camlp4 as a conservative
translator into OCaml.  This implementation makes extensive use of
labeled arguments and polymorphic variants -- two advanced features of
OCaml that originate in OLabl.