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Programming language: Haskell
License: GNU General Public License v3.0 only
Tags: Control     Sessiontypes    
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README

Introduction

This package serves as a wrapper over both the Cloud Haskell library (distributed-process) and the sessiontypes library. It provides an interpreter for evaluating session typed programs to Cloud Haskell programs and exposes several combinators for spawning sessions.

Install

Add sessiontypes-distributed as a dependency in your .cabal file

Tutorial

Before reading this you should first read the sessiontypes tutorial, which explains session types and what happens under the hood of this library. We also assume that you're already familiar with the distributed-process library.

Similar to that tutorial we will start off by writing a simple session typed program:

{-# LANGUAGE RebindableSyntax #-}
import Control.Distributed.Session
import Control.SessionTypes.Indexed

prog :: Session ('Cap '[] (Int :!> String :?> Eps)) ('Cap '[] Eps) String
prog = do
  send 5
  x <- recv
  eps x

The program is written quite similarly to an equivalent STTerm program. We now use an indexed monad named Session. It is parameterised similarly, except that it isn't a monad transformer. The Session monad is an indexed monad reader and a wrapper over the STTerm monad that has the Process monad (from distributed-process) as its underlying monad.

One of the features that this library provides above sessiontypes is that we can evaluate a Session to a Process:

evalSession :: HasConstraint Serializable s => Session s r a -> SessionInfo -> P.Process a

This function takes not only a Session, but also a SessionInfo. The SessionInfo contains information about the dual of the given Session. That is the process that the current process should run in a session with. The SessionInfo stores the process and node identifier of that process, but it also stores a send and receive port that it can use to send and receive messages. To send and receive a message the value that will be sent must be serializable. However, the type of that value is encoded in the session type and we can't easily reach it. For that purpose we defined a type family HasConstraint that applies a given constraint to all types of kind Type in the session type.

The ability to write a session typed program and evaluate it terms of Cloud Haskell semantics only gives us a static guarantee that this specific program adheres to the given protocol. We would also like there to be another program that runs a session with this program and have it adhere to the dual of that protocol. First we will define duality.

type family Dual s = r | r -> s where
  Dual (a :!> r) = a :?> Dual r
  Dual (a :?> r) = a :!> Dual r
  Dual Eps = Eps

We can compute the dual of a session type using the type family Dual. For a send the dual is a receive and the dual of a receive is a send. If one program does a send then we expect the dual of that program to do a receive. Likewise, if one program ends the protocol then so should the dual of that program. Duality is a nice property to have, because it allows us to statically enforce that two programs in a session do not deadlock.

The following combinator can be used to spawn a session:

callLocalSession :: (HasConstraint Serializable s,
                     HasConstraint Serializable (Dual s)) =>
                     Session s r a -> Session (Dual s) r b -> Session k k (a, ProcessId)

It takes two Session arguments and we use Dual to say that the second Session must be the dual of the first. The function works similar to the call function in distributed-process. It spawns a local process for the second Session, but runs the first Session on the current process and waits for its result. The returned ProcessId is that of the spawned process.

A similar combinator for spawning a session is callRemoteSession. This time the second Session will be spawned on a remote node. But to do so we have to create a closure of that Session. Unfortunately, this cannot easily be done. The types that occur in a Closure must be of kind Type. However, the indexed of a Session are of kind Cap. So we can't construct a closure of a Session. We managed to work around this problem by defining a GADT that existentially quantifies the indexes of a Session. But we must still be able to enforce duality and apply constraints to the session types. We therefore require that the GADT takes two Session arguments, enforces that these must be dual and applies a Serializable constraint to the session types.

data SpawnSession a b where
  SpawnSession :: (HasConstraint Serializable s, HasConstraint Serializable (Dual s)) => 
                  Session s r a -> Session (Dual s) r b -> SpawnSession a b

callRemoteSession :: Serializable a => Static (SerializableDict a) -> NodeId -> Closure (SpawnSession a ()) -> Session k k (a, ProcessId)

We can now also show you the type of callRemoteSession that takes a closure of a SpawnSession. Note that if you make use of any function that takes a closure that requires a data type from this library then you will need to use sessionRemoteTable.