Cubical Agda

Last year I wrote a post about cubicaltt on this blog. Since then there have been a lot of exciting developments in the world of cubes. In particular there are now two cubical proof assistants that are currently being developed in Gothenburg and Pittsburgh. One of them is a cubical version of Agda developed by Andrea Vezzosi at Chalmers and the other is a system called redtt developed by my colleagues at CMU.

These systems differ from cubicaltt in that they are proper proof assistants for cubical type theory in the sense that they support unification, interactive proof development via holes, etc… Cubical Agda inherits Agda’s powerful dependent pattern matching functionality, and redtt has a succinct notation for defining functions by eliminators. Our goal with cubicaltt was never to develop yet another proof assistant, but rather to explore how it could be to program and work in a core system based on cubical type theory. This meant that many things were quite tedious to do in cubicaltt, so it is great that we now have these more advanced systems that are much more pleasant to work in.

This post is about Cubical Agda, but more or less everything in it can also be done (with slight modifications) in redtt. This extension of Agda has actually been around for a few years now, however it is just this year that the theory of HITs has been properly worked out for cubical type theory:

On Higher Inductive Types in Cubical Type Theory

Inspired by this paper (which I will refer as “CHM”) Andrea has extended Cubical Agda with user definable HITs with definitional computation rules for all constructors. Working with these is a lot of fun and I have been doing many of the proofs in synthetic homotopy theory from the HoTT book cubically. Having a system with native support for HITs makes many things a lot easier and most of the proofs I have done are significantly shorter. However, this post will not focus on HITs, but rather on a core library for Cubical Agda that we have been developing over the last few months:

The core part of this library has been designed with the aim to:

1. Expose and document the cubical primitives of Agda.

2. Provide an interface to HoTT as presented in the book (i.e. “Book HoTT”), but where everything is implemented with the cubical primitives under the hood.

The idea behind the second of these was suggested to me by Martín Escardó who wanted a file which exposes an identity type with the standard introduction principle and eliminator (satisfying the computation rule definitionally), together with function extensionality, univalence and propositional truncation. All of these notions should be represented using cubical primitives under the hood which means that they all compute and that there are no axioms involved. In particular this means that one can import this file in an Agda developments relying on Book HoTT and no axioms should then be needed; more about this later.

Our cubical library compiles with the latest development version of Agda and it is currently divided into 3 main parts:


The first of these contain various basic results from HoTT/UF, like isomorphisms are equivalences (i.e. have contractible fibers), Hedberg’s theorem (types with decidable equality are sets), various proofs of different formulations of univalence, etc. This part of the library is currently in flux as I’m adding a lot of results to it all the time.

The second one is the one I will focus on in this post and it is supposed to be quite stable by now. The files in this folder expose the cubical primitives and the cubical interface to HoTT/UF. Ideally a regular user should not have to look too closely at these files and instead just import Cubical.Core.Everything or Cubical.Core.HoTT-UF.

The third folder contains various HITs (S¹, S², S³, torus, suspension, pushouts, interval, join, smash products…) with some basic theory about these. I plan to write another post about this soon, so stay tuned.

As I said above a regular user should only really need to know about the Cubical.Core.Everything and Cubical.Core.HoTT-UF files in the core library. The Cubical.Core.Everything file exports the following things:

-- Basic primitives (some are from Agda.Primitive)
open import Cubical.Core.Primitives public

-- Basic cubical prelude
open import Cubical.Core.Prelude public

-- Definition of equivalences, Glue types and
-- the univalence theorem
open import Cubical.Core.Glue public

-- Propositional truncation defined as a
-- higher inductive type
open import Cubical.Core.PropositionalTruncation public

-- Definition of Identity types and definitions of J,
-- funExt, univalence and propositional truncation
-- using Id instead of Path
open import Cubical.Core.Id public

I will explain the contents of the Cubical.Core.HoTT-UF file in detail later in this post, but I would first like to clarify that it is absolutely not necessary to use that file as a new user. The point of it is mainly to provide a way to make already existing HoTT/UF developments in Agda compute, but I personally only use the cubical primitives provided by the Cubical.Core.Everything file when developing something new in Cubical Agda as I find these much more natural to work with (especially when reasoning about HITs).

Cubical Primitives

It is not my intention to write another detailed explanation of cubical type theory in this post; for that see my previous post and the paper (which is commonly referred to as “CCHM”, after the authors of CCHM):

Cubical Type Theory: a constructive interpretation of the univalence axiom

The main things that the CCHM cubical type theory extends dependent type theory with are:

  1. An interval pretype
  2. Kan operations
  3. Glue types
  4. Cubical identity types

The first of these is what lets us work directly with higher dimensional cubes in type theory and incorporating this into the judgmental structure is really what makes the system tick. The Cubical.Core.Primitives and Cubical.Core.Prelude files provide 1 and 2, together with some extra stuff that are needed to get 3 and 4 up and running.

Let’s first look at the cubical interval I. It has endpoints i0 : I and i1 : I together with connections and reversals:

_∧_ : I → I → I
_∨_ : I → I → I
~_ : I → I

satisfying the structure of a De Morgan algebra (as in CCHM). As Agda doesn’t have a notion of non-fibrant types (yet?) the interval I lives in Setω.

There are also (dependent) cubical Path types:

PathP : ∀ {ℓ} (A : I → Set ℓ) → A i0 → A i1 → Set ℓ

from which we can define non-dependent Paths:

Path : ∀ {ℓ} (A : Set ℓ) → A → A → Set ℓ
Path A a b = PathP (λ _ → A) a b

A non-dependent path Path A a b gets printed as a ≡ b. I would like to generalize this at some point and have cubical extension types (inspired by A type theory for synthetic ∞-categories). These extension types are already in redtt and has proved to be very natural and useful, especially for working with HITs as shown by this snippet of redtt code coming from the proof that the loop space of the circle is the integers:

def decode-square
  : (n : int)
  → [i j] s1 [
    | i=0 → loopn (pred n) j
    | i=1 → loopn n j
    | j=0 → base
    | j=1 → loop i
  = ...

Just like in cubicaltt we get short proofs of the basic primitives from HoTT/UF:

refl : ∀ {ℓ} {A : Set ℓ} (x : A) → x ≡ x
refl x = λ _ → x

sym : ∀ {ℓ} {A : Set ℓ} {x y : A} → x ≡ y → y ≡ x
sym p = λ i → p (~ i)

cong : ∀ {ℓ ℓ'} {A : Set ℓ} {B : A → Set ℓ'} {x y : A}
         (f : (a : A) → B a)
         (p : x ≡ y) →
         PathP (λ i → B (p i)) (f x) (f y)
cong f p = λ i → f (p i)

funExt : ∀ {ℓ ℓ'} {A : Set ℓ} {B : A → Set ℓ'}
           {f g : (x : A) → B x}
           (p : (x : A) → f x ≡ g x) →
           f ≡ g
funExt p i x = p x i

Note that the proof of functional extensionality is just swapping the arguments to p!

Partial elements and cubical subtypes

[In order for me to be able to explain the other features of Cubical Agda in some detail I have to spend some time on partial elements and cubical subtypes, but as these notions are quite technical I would recommend readers who are not already familiar with them to just skim over this section and read it more carefully later.]

One of the key operations in the cubical set model is to map an element of the interval to an element of the face lattice (i.e. the type of cofibrant propositions F ⊂ Ω). This map is written (_ = 1) : I → F in CCHM and in Cubical Agda it is written IsOne r. The constant 1=1 is a proof that (i1 = 1), i.e. of IsOne i1.

This lets us then work with partial types and elements directly (which was not possible in cubicaltt). The type Partial φ A is a special version of the function space IsOne φ → A with a more extensional judgmental equality. There is also a dependent version PartialP φ A which allows A to be defined only on φ. As these types are not necessarily fibrant they also live in Setω. These types are easiest to understand by seeing how one can introduce them:

sys : ∀ i → Partial (i ∨ ~ i) Set₁
sys i (i = i1) = Set → Set
sys i (i = i0) = Set

This defines a partial type in Set₁ which is defined when (i = i1) ∨ (i = i0). We define it by pattern matching so that it is Set → Set when (i = i1) and Set when (i = i0). Note that we are writing (i ∨ ~ i) and that the IsOne map is implicit. If one instead puts a hole as right hand side:

sys : ∀ i → Partial (i ∨ ~ i) Set₁
sys i x = {! x !}

and ask Agda what the type of x is (by putting the cursor in the hole and typing C-c C-,) then Agda answers:

Goal: Set₁
x : IsOne (i ∨ ~ i)
i : I

I usually introduce these using pattern matching lambdas so that I can write:

sys' : ∀ i → Partial (i ∨ ~ i) Set₁
sys' i = \ { (i = i0) → Set
           ; (i = i1) → Set → Set }

This is very convenient when using the Kan operations. Furthermore, when the cases overlap they must of course agree:

sys2 : ∀ i j → Partial (i ∨ (i ∧ j)) Set₁
sys2 i j = \ { (i = i1) → Set
             ; (i = i1) (j = i1) → Set }

In order to get this to work Andrea had to adapt the pattern-matching of Agda to allow us to pattern-match on the faces like this. It is however not yet possible to use C-c C-c to automatically generate the cases for a partial element, but hopefully this will be added at some point.

Using the partial elements there are also cubical subtypes as in CCHM:

_[_↦_] : ∀ {ℓ} (A : Set ℓ) (φ : I) (u : Partial φ A) →
A [ φ ↦ u ] = Sub A φ u

So that a : A [ φ ↦ u ] is a partial element a : A that agrees with u on φ. We have maps in and out of the subtypes:

inc : ∀ {ℓ} {A : Set ℓ} {φ} (u : A) →
        A [ φ ↦ (λ _ → u) ]

ouc : ∀ {ℓ} {A : Set ℓ} {φ : I} {u : Partial φ A} →
        A [ φ ↦ u ] → A

It would be very nice to have subtyping for these, but at the moment the user has to write inc/ouc explicitly. With this infrastructure we can now consider the Kan operations of cubical type theory.

Kan operations

In order to support HITs we use the Kan operations from CHM. The first of these is a generalized transport operation:

transp : ∀ {ℓ} (A : I → Set ℓ) (φ : I) (a : A i0) → A i1

When calling transp A φ a Agda makes sure that A is constant on φ and when calling this with i0 for φ we recover the regular transport function, furthermore when φ is i1 this is the identity function. Being able to control when transport is the identity function is really what makes this operation so useful (see the definition of comp below) and why we got HITs to work so nicely in CHM compared to CCHM.

We also have homogeneous composition operations:

hcomp : ∀ {ℓ} {A : Set ℓ} {φ : I}
          (u : I → Partial A φ) (a : A) → A

When calling hcomp A φ u a Agda makes sure that a agrees with u i0 on φ. This is like the composition operations in CCHM, but the type A is constant. Note that this operation is actually different from the one in CHM as φ is in the interval and not the face lattice. By the way the partial elements are set up the faces will then be compared under the image of IsOne. This subtle detail is actually very useful and gives a very neat trick for eliminating empty systems from Cubical Agda (this has not yet been implemented, but it is discussed here).

Using these two operations we can derive the heterogeneous composition

comp : ∀ {ℓ : I → Level} (A : ∀ i → Set (ℓ i)) {φ : I}
         (u : ∀ i → Partial φ (A i))
         (u0 : A i0 [ φ ↦ u i0 ]) → A i1
comp A {φ = φ} u u0 =
    (λ i → λ { (φ = i1) →
                 transp (λ j → A (i ∨ j)) i (u _ 1=1) })
    (transp A i0 (ouc u0))

This decomposition of the Kan operations into transport and homogeneous composition seems crucial to get HITs to work properly in cubical type theory and in fact redtt is also using a similar decomposition of their Kan operations.

We can also derive both homogeneous and heterogeneous Kan filling using hcomp and comp with connections:

hfill : ∀ {ℓ} {A : Set ℓ} {φ : I}
         (u : ∀ i → Partial φ A)
         (u0 : A [ φ ↦ u i0 ])
         (i : I) → A
hfill {φ = φ} u u0 i =
  hcomp (λ j → λ { (φ = i1) → u (i ∧ j) 1=1
                 ; (i = i0) → ouc u0 })
        (ouc u0)

fill : ∀ {ℓ : I → Level} (A : ∀ i → Set (ℓ i)) {φ : I}
        (u : ∀ i → Partial φ (A i))
        (u0 : A i0 [ φ ↦ u i0 ])
        (i : I) → A i
fill A {φ = φ} u u0 i =
  comp (λ j → A (i ∧ j))
       (λ j → λ { (φ = i1) → u (i ∧ j) 1=1
                ; (i = i0) → ouc u0 })
       (inc {φ = φ ∨ (~ i)} (ouc {φ = φ} u0))

For historical reasons we are also exposing the Kan composition operation of CCHM:

compCCHM : ∀ {ℓ} (A : (i : I) → Set ℓ) (φ : I)
             (u : ∀ i → Partial (A i) φ)
             (u0 : A i0 [ φ ↦ u i0 ]) → A i1

However this is not recommended to use for various reasons. First of all it doesn’t work with HITs and second it produces a lot of empty systems (which anyone who tried cubicaltt can confirm). So using the hcomp and transp primitives has proved a lot better for practical formalization.

Using these operations we can do all of the standard cubical stuff, like composing paths and defining J with its computation rule (up to a Path):

compPath : ∀ {ℓ} {A : Set ℓ} {x y z : A} →
             x ≡ y → y ≡ z → x ≡ z
compPath {x = x} p q i =
  hcomp (λ j → \ { (i = i0) → x
                 ; (i = i1) → q j })
        (p i)

module _ {ℓ ℓ'} {A : Set ℓ} {x : A}
         (P : ∀ y → x ≡ y → Set ℓ') (d : P x refl) where
  J : {y : A} → (p : x ≡ y) → P y p
  J p = transp (λ i → P (p i) (λ j → p (i ∧ j))) i0 d

  JRefl : J refl ≡ d
  JRefl i = transp (λ _ → P x refl) i d

The use of a module here is not crucial in any way, it’s just an Agda trick to make J and JRefl share some arguments.

Glue types and univalence

The file Cubical.Core.Glue defines fibers and equivalences (as they were originally defined by Voevodsky in his Foundations library, i.e. as maps with contractible fibers). Using this we export the Glue types of Cubical Agda which lets us extend a total type by a partial family of equivalent types:

Glue : ∀ {ℓ ℓ'} (A : Set ℓ) {φ : I} →
         (Te : Partial φ (Σ[ T ∈ Set ℓ' ] T ≃ A)) →
         Set ℓ'

This comes with introduction and elimination forms (glue and unglue). With this we formalize the proof of a variation of univalence following the proof in Section 7.2 of CCHM. The key observation is that unglue is an equivalence:

unglueIsEquiv : ∀ {ℓ} (A : Set ℓ) (φ : I)
                  (f : PartialP φ (λ o → Σ[ T ∈ Set ℓ ] T ≃ A)) →
                  isEquiv {A = Glue A f} (unglue {φ = φ})
equiv-proof (unglueIsEquiv A φ f) = λ (b : A) →
  let u : I → Partial φ A
      u i = λ{ (φ = i1) → equivCtr (f 1=1 .snd) b .snd (~ i) }
      ctr : fiber (unglue {φ = φ}) b
      ctr = ( glue (λ { (φ = i1) → equivCtr (f 1=1 .snd) b .fst }) (hcomp u b)
            , λ j → hfill u (inc b) (~ j))
  in ( ctr
     , λ (v : fiber (unglue {φ = φ}) b) i →
         let u' : I → Partial (φ ∨ ~ i ∨ i) A
             u' j = λ { (φ = i1) → equivCtrPath (f 1=1 .snd) b v i .snd (~ j)
                      ; (i = i0) → hfill u (inc b) j
                      ; (i = i1) → v .snd (~ j) }
         in ( glue (λ { (φ = i1) → equivCtrPath (f 1=1 .snd) b v i .fst }) (hcomp u' b)
            , λ j → hfill u' (inc b) (~ j)))

The details of this proof is best studied interactively in Agda and by first understanding the proof in CCHM. The reason this is a crucial observation is that it says that any partial family of equivalences can be extended to a total one from Glue [ φ ↦ (T,f) ] A to A:

unglueEquiv : ∀ {ℓ} (A : Set ℓ) (φ : I)
              (f : PartialP φ (λ o → Σ[ T ∈ Set ℓ ] T ≃ A)) →
              (Glue A f) ≃ A
unglueEquiv A φ f = ( unglue {φ = φ} , unglueIsEquiv A φ f )

and this is exactly what we need to prove the following formulation of the univalence theorem:

EquivContr : ∀ {ℓ} (A : Set ℓ) → isContr (Σ[ T ∈ Set ℓ ] T ≃ A)
EquivContr {ℓ} A =
  ( ( A , idEquiv A)
  , λ w i →
      let f : PartialP (~ i ∨ i) (λ x → Σ[ T ∈ Set ℓ ] T ≃ A)
          f = λ { (i = i0) → ( A , idEquiv A ) ; (i = i1) → w }
      in ( Glue A f , unglueEquiv A (~ i ∨ i) f) )

This formulation of univalence was proposed by Martín Escardó in (see also Theorem 5.8.4 of the HoTT Book):!msg/homotopytypetheory/HfCB_b-PNEU/Ibb48LvUMeUJ

We have also formalized a quite slick proof of the standard formulation of univalence from EquivContr (see Cubical.Basics.Univalence). This proof uses that EquivContr is contractibility of singletons for equivalences, which combined with subst can be used to prove equivalence induction:

contrSinglEquiv : ∀ {ℓ} {A B : Set ℓ} (e : A ≃ B) →
                    (B , idEquiv B) ≡ (A , e)
contrSinglEquiv {A = A} {B = B} e =
  isContr→isProp (EquivContr B) (B , idEquiv B) (A , e)

EquivJ : ∀ {ℓ ℓ′} (P : (A B : Set ℓ) → (e : B ≃ A) → Set ℓ′)
           (r : (A : Set ℓ) → P A A (idEquiv A))
           (A B : Set ℓ) (e : B ≃ A) →
           P A B e
EquivJ P r A B e =
  subst (λ x → P A (x .fst) (x .snd))
        (contrSinglEquiv e) (r A)

We then use that the Glue types also gives a map ua which maps the identity equivalence to refl:

ua : ∀ {ℓ} {A B : Set ℓ} → A ≃ B → A ≡ B
ua {A = A} {B = B} e i =
  Glue B (λ { (i = i0) → (A , e)
            ; (i = i1) → (B , idEquiv B) })

uaIdEquiv : ∀ {ℓ} {A : Set ℓ} → ua (idEquiv A) ≡ refl
uaIdEquiv {A = A} i j =
  Glue A {φ = i ∨ ~ j ∨ j} (λ _ → A , idEquiv A)

Now, given any function au : ∀ {ℓ} {A B : Set ℓ} → A ≡ B → A ≃ B satisfying auid : ∀ {ℓ} {A B : Set ℓ} → au refl ≡ idEquiv A we directly get that this is an equivalence using the fact that any isomorphism is an equivalence:

module Univalence
         (au : ∀ {ℓ} {A B : Set ℓ} → A ≡ B → A ≃ B)
         (auid : ∀ {ℓ} {A B : Set ℓ} → au refl ≡ idEquiv A) where
  thm : ∀ {ℓ} {A B : Set ℓ} → isEquiv au
  thm {A = A} {B = B} =
    isoToIsEquiv {B = A ≃ B} au ua
      (EquivJ (λ _ _ e → au (ua e) ≡ e)
              (λ X → compPath (cong au uaIdEquiv)
                              (auid {B = B})) _ _)
      (J (λ X p → ua (au p) ≡ p)
         (compPath (cong ua (auid {B = B})) uaIdEquiv))

We can then instantiate this with for example the au map defined using J (which is how Vladimir originally stated the univalence axiom):

eqweqmap : ∀ {ℓ} {A B : Set ℓ} → A ≡ B → A ≃ B
eqweqmap {A = A} e = J (λ X _ → A ≃ X) (idEquiv A) e

eqweqmapid : ∀ {ℓ} {A : Set ℓ} → eqweqmap refl ≡ idEquiv A
eqweqmapid {A = A} = JRefl (λ X _ → A ≃ X) (idEquiv A)

univalenceStatement : ∀ {ℓ} {A B : Set ℓ} →
                      isEquiv (eqweqmap {ℓ} {A} {B})
univalenceStatement = Univalence.thm eqweqmap eqweqmapid

Note that eqweqmapid is not proved by refl, instead we need to use the fact that the computation rule for J holds up to a Path. Furthermore, I would like to emphasize that there is no problem with using J for Path’s and that the fact that the computation rule doesn’t hold definitionally is almost never a problem for practical formalization as one rarely use it as it is often more natural to just use the cubical primitives. However, in Section 9.1 of CCHM we solve this by defining cubical identity types satisfying the computation rule definitionally (following a trick of Andrew Swan).

Cubical identity types

The idea behind the cubical identity types is that an element of an identity type is a pair of a path and a formula which tells us where this path is constant, so for example reflexivity is just the constant path together with the fact that it is constant everywhere (note that the interval variable comes before the path as the path depends on it):

refl : ∀ {ℓ} {A : Set ℓ} {x : A} → Id x x
refl {x = x} = ⟨ i1 , (λ _ → x) ⟩

These types also come with an eliminator from which we can prove J such that it is the identity function on refl, i.e. where the computation rule holds definitionally (for details see the Agda code in Cubical.Core.Id). We then prove that Path and Id are equivalent types and develop the theory that we have for Path for Id as well, in particular we prove the univalence theorem expressed with Id everywhere (the usual formulation can be found in Cubical.Basics.UnivalenceId).

Note that the cubical identity types are not an inductive family like in HoTT which means that we cannot use Agda’s pattern-matching to match on them. Furthermore Cubical Agda doesn’t support inductive families yet, but it should be possible to adapt the techniques of Cavallo/Harper presented in

Higher Inductive Types in Cubical Computational Type Theory

in order to extend it with inductive families. The traditional identity types could then be defined as in HoTT and pattern-matching should work as expected.

Propositional truncation

The core library only contains one HIT: propositional truncation (Cubical.Core.PropositionalTruncation). As Cubical Agda has native support for user defined HITs this is very convenient to define:

data ∥_∥ {ℓ} (A : Set ℓ) : Set ℓ where
  ∣_∣ : A → ∥ A ∥
  squash : ∀ (x y : ∥ A ∥) → x ≡ y

We can then prove the recursor (and eliminator) using pattern-matching:

recPropTrunc : ∀ {ℓ} {A : Set ℓ} {P : Set ℓ} →
                 isProp P → (A → P) → ∥ A ∥ → P
recPropTrunc Pprop f ∣ x ∣          = f x
recPropTrunc Pprop f (squash x y i) =
  Pprop (recPropTrunc Pprop f x) (recPropTrunc Pprop f y) i

However I would not only use recPropTrunc explicitly as we can just use pattern-matching to define functions out of HITs. Note that the cubical machinery makes it possible for us to define these pattern-matching equations in a very nice way without any ap‘s. This is one of the main reasons why I find it a lot more natural to work with HITs in cubical type theory than in Book HoTT: the higher constructors of HITs construct actual elements of the HIT, not of its identity type!

This is just a short example of what can be done with HITs in Cubical Agda, I plan to write more about this in a future post, but for now one can look at the folder Cubical/HITs for many more examples (S¹, S², S³, torus, suspension, pushouts, interval, join, smash products…).

Constructive HoTT/UF

By combining everything I have said so far we have written the file Cubical.Core.HoTT-UF which exports the primitives of HoTT/UF defined using cubical machinery under the hood:

open import Cubical.Core.Id public
     using ( _≡_            -- The identity type.
           ; refl           -- Unfortunately, pattern matching on refl is not available.
           ; J              -- Until it is, you have to use the induction principle J.
           ; transport      -- As in the HoTT Book.
           ; ap
           ; _∙_
           ; _⁻¹
           ; _≡⟨_⟩_         -- Standard equational reasoning.
           ; _∎
           ; funExt         -- Function extensionality
                            -- (can also be derived from univalence).
           ; Σ              -- Sum type. Needed to define contractible types, equivalences
           ; _,_            -- and univalence.
           ; pr₁            -- The eta rule is available.
           ; pr₂
           ; isProp         -- The usual notions of proposition, contractible type, set.
           ; isContr
           ; isSet
           ; isEquiv        -- A map with contractible fibers
                            -- (Voevodsky's version of the notion).
           ; _≃_            -- The type of equivalences between two given types.
           ; EquivContr     -- A formulation of univalence.
           ; ∥_∥             -- Propositional truncation.
           ; ∣_∣             -- Map into the propositional truncation.
           ; ∥∥-isProp       -- A truncated type is a proposition.
           ; ∥∥-recursion    -- Non-dependent elimination.
           ; ∥∥-induction    -- Dependent elimination.

The idea is that if someone has some code written using HoTT/UF axioms in Agda they can just import this file and everything should compute properly. The only downside is that one has to rewrite all pattern-matches on Id to explicit uses of J, but if someone is willing to do this and have some cool examples that now compute please let me know!

That’s all I had to say about the library for now. Pull-requests and feedback on how to improve it are very welcome! Please use the Github page for the library for comments and issues:

If you find some bugs in Cubical Agda you can use the Github page of Agda to report them (just check that no-one has already reported the bug):

Posted in Uncategorized | 21 Comments

Impredicative Encodings, Part 3

In this post I will argue that, improving on previous work of Awodey-Frey-Speight, (higher) inductive types can be defined using impredicative encodings with their full dependent induction principles — in particular, eliminating into all type families without any truncation hypotheses — in ordinary (impredicative) Book HoTT without any further bells or whistles. But before explaining that and what it means, let me review the state of the art.

Continue reading

Posted in Foundations, Higher Inductive Types | 50 Comments

Differential Geometry in Modal HoTT

As some of you might remember, back in 2015 at the meeting of the german mathematical society in Hamburg, Urs Schreiber presented three problems or “exercises” as he called it back then. There is a page about that on the nLab, if you want to know more. In this post, I will sketch a solution to some part of the first of these problems, while the occasion of writing it is a new version of my article about this, which now comes with a long introduction.

Urs Schreiber’s problems were all about formalizing results in higher differential geometry, that make also sense in the quite abstract setting of differential cohesive toposes and cohesive toposes.
A differential cohesive topos is a topos with some extra structure given by three monads and three comonads with some nice properties and adjunctions between them. There is some work concerned with having this structure in homotopy type theory. A specialized cohesive homotopy type theory concerned with three of the six (co-)monads, called real-cohesive homotopy type theory was introduced by Mike Shulman.

What I want to sketch here today is concerned only with one of the monads of differential cohesion. I will call this monad coreduction and denote it with \Im. By the axioms of differential cohesion, it has a left and a right adjoint and is idempotent. These properties are more than enough to model a monadic modality in homotopy type theory. Monadic modalities were already defined at the end of section 7 in the HoTT-Book and named just “modalities” and it is possible to have a homotopy type theory with a monadic modality just by adding some axioms — which is known not to work for non-trivial comonadic modalities.

So let us assume that \Im is a monadic modality in HoTT. That means that we have a map \Im:\mathcal U\to \mathcal U and a unit

\iota:\prod_{X:\mathcal U} X\to \Im X

such that a property holds, that I won’t really go into in this post — but here it is for completeness: For any dependent type E:\Im X\to\mathcal U on some type X, such that the unit maps \iota_{E(x)} are equivalences for all x:X, the map

\_\circ\iota_X:\left(\prod_{x:\Im X}E(x)\right)\to\prod_{x:X}E(\iota_X(x))

is an equivalence. So the inverse to this map is an induction principle, that only holds for dependent types subject to the condition above.
The n-truncations and double negation are examples of monadic modalities.

At this point (or earlier), one might ask: “Where is the differential geometry”? The answer is that in this setting, all types carry differential geometric structure that is accessible via \Im and \iota. This makes sense if we think of some very special interpretations of \Im and \iota (and HoTT), where the unit \iota_X is given as the quotient map from a space X to its quotient \Im X by a relation that identifies infinitesimally close points in X.
Since we have this abstract monadic modality, we can turn this around and define the notion of two points x,y:X being infinitesimally close, denoted “x\sim y” in terms of the units:

(x\sim y) :\equiv (\iota_X(x)=\iota_X(y))

where “\_=\_” denotes the identity type (of \Im X in this case). The collection of all points y in a type X that are infinitesimally close to a fixed x in X, is called the formal disk at x. Let us denote it with D_x:

D_x:\equiv \sum_{y:X}y\sim x

Using some basic properties of monadic modalities, one can show, that any map f:X\to Y preserves inifinitesimal closeness, i.e.

\prod_{x,y:X}(x\sim y)\to (f(x)\sim f(y))

is inhabited. For any x in A, we can use this to get a map

df_x:D_x\to D_{f(x)}

which behaves a lot like the differential of a smooth function. For example, the chain rule holds

d(f\circ g)_x = df_{g(x)}\circ dg_x

and if f is an equivalence, all induced df_x are also equivalences. The latter corresponds to the fact that the differential of a diffeomorphism is invertible.
If we have a 0-group G with unit e, the left tranlations g\cdot\_:\equiv x\mapsto g\cdot x are a family of equivalences that consistently identify D_e with all other formal disks D_x in G given by the differentials d(g\cdot\_)_e.
This is essentially a generalization of the fact, that the tangent bundle of a Lie-group is trivialized by left translations and a solution to the first part of the first of Urs Schreiber’s problems I mentioned in the beginning.

With the exception of the chain rule, all of this was in my dissertation, which I defended in 2017. A couple of month ago, I wrote an article about this and put it on the arxiv and since monday, there is an improved version with an introduction that explains what monads \Im you can think of and relates the setup to Synthetic Differential Geometry.
There is also a recording on youtube of a talk I gave about this in Bonn.

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HoTT 2019

Save the date!  Next summer will be the first:

International Conference on Homotopy Type Theory
(HoTT 2019)

Carnegie Mellon University
12 – 17 August 2019

There will also be an associated:

HoTT Summer School
7 – 10 August 2019

More details to follow soon!

Here is the conference website.

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UF-IAS-2012 wiki archived

The wiki used for the 2012-2013 Univalent Foundations program at the Institute for Advanced Study was hosted at a provider called Wikispaces. After the program was over, the wiki was no longer used, but was kept around for historical and archival purposes; much of it is out of date, but it still contains some content that hasn’t been reproduced anywhere else.

Unfortunately, Wikispaces is closing, so the UF-IAS-2012 wiki will no longer be accessible there. With the help of Richard Williamson, we have migrated all of its content to a new archival copy hosted on the nLab server:

Let us know if you find any formatting or other problems.

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A self-contained, brief and complete formulation of Voevodsky’s univalence axiom

I have often seen competent mathematicians and logicians, outside our circle, making technically erroneous comments about the univalence axiom, in conversations, in talks, and even in public material, in journals or the web.

For some time I was a bit upset about this. But maybe this is our fault, by often trying to explain univalence only imprecisely, mixing the explanation of the models with the explanation of the underlying Martin-Löf type theory, with none of the two explained sufficiently precisely.

There are long, precise explanations such as the HoTT book, for example, or the various formalizations in Coq, Agda and Lean.

But perhaps we don’t have publicly available material with a self-contained, brief and complete formulation of univalence, so that interested mathematicians and logicians can try to contemplate the axiom in a fully defined form.

So here is an attempt of a  self-contained, brief and complete formulation of Voevodsky’s Univalence Axiom in the arxiv.

This has an Agda file with univalence defined from scratch as an ancillary file, without the use of any library at all, to try to show what the length of a self-contained definition of the univalence type is. Perhaps somebody should add a Coq “version from scratch” of this.

There is also a web version UnivalenceFromScratch to try to make this as accessible as possible, with the text and the Agda code together.

The above notes explain the univalence axiom only. Regarding its role, we recommend Dan Grayson’s introduction to univalent foundations for mathematicians.

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At the 2018 U.S. Joint Mathematics Meetings in San Diego, there will be an AMS special session about homotopy type theory. It’s a continuation of the HoTT MRC that took place this summer, organized by some of the participants to especially showcase the work done during and after the MRC workshop. Following is the announcement from the organizers.

We are pleased to announce the AMS Special Session on Homotopy Type Theory, to be held on January 11, 2018 in San Diego, California, as part of the Joint Mathematics Meetings (to be held January 10 – 13).

Homotopy Type Theory (HoTT) is a new field of study that relates constructive type theory to abstract homotopy theory. Types are regarded as synthetic spaces of arbitrary dimension and type equality as homotopy equivalence. Experience has shown that HoTT is able to represent many mathematical objects of independent interest in a direct and natural way. Its foundations in constructive type theory permit the statement and proof of theorems about these objects within HoTT itself, enabling formalization in proof assistants and providing a constructive foundation for other branches of mathematics.

This Special Session is affiliated with the AMS Mathematics Research Communities (MRC) workshop for early-career researchers in Homotopy Type Theory organized by Dan Christensen, Chris Kapulkin, Dan Licata, Emily Riehl and Mike Shulman, which took place last June.

The Special Session will include talks by MRC participants, as well as by senior researchers in the field, on various aspects of higher-dimensional type theory including categorical semantics, computation, and the formalization of mathematical theories. There will also be a panel discussion featuring distinguished experts from the field.

Further information about the Special Session, including a schedule and abstracts, can be found at:
Please note that the early registration deadline is December 20, 2017.

If you have any questions about about the Special Session, please feel free to contact one of the organizers. We look forward to seeing you in San Diego.

Simon Cho (University of Michigan)
Liron Cohen (Cornell University)
Ed Morehouse (Wesleyan University)

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