As announced last week, yesterday I gave a talk on function totality at the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Croatian Section. The talk was located at the University of Zagreb at the Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Computing. Slides used during the talk are freely available. The talk was in Croatian.
Edsger Dijkstra said the following of abstraction:
“The purpose of abstraction is not to be vague, but to create a new semantic level in which one can be absolutely precise.”
Abstraction is a cornerstone of programming a complex software system. Without it, a complex software system is a complicated software system. In this article I will explore an important tool in achieving abstraction in programming: function totality.
You might think it’s only imperative programmers that don’t see value in function totality, but neither do many functional programmers. The ability to abstract in programming is severely impaired when totality is ignored. A programmer should strive to work in a programming language with a compiler that supports totality checking, such as Agda and Idris.