Generalized rewriting¶
 Author
Matthieu Sozeau
This chapter presents the extension of several equality related tactics to work over userdefined structures (called setoids) that are equipped with adhoc equivalence relations meant to behave as equalities. Actually, the tactics have also been generalized to relations weaker than equivalences (e.g. rewriting systems). The toolbox also extends the automatic rewriting capabilities of the system, allowing the specification of custom strategies for rewriting.
This documentation is adapted from the previous setoid documentation by Claudio Sacerdoti Coen (based on previous work by Clément Renard). The new implementation is a dropin replacement for the old one 1, hence most of the documentation still applies.
The work is a complete rewrite of the previous implementation, based on the typeclass infrastructure. It also improves on and generalizes the previous implementation in several ways:
Userextensible algorithm. The algorithm is separated into two parts: generation of the rewriting constraints (written in ML) and solving these constraints using typeclass resolution. As typeclass resolution is extensible using tactics, this allows users to define general ways to solve morphism constraints.
Subrelations. An example extension to the base algorithm is the ability to define one relation as a subrelation of another so that morphism declarations on one relation can be used automatically for the other. This is done purely using tactics and typeclass search.
Rewriting under binders. It is possible to rewrite under binders in the new implementation, if one provides the proper morphisms. Again, most of the work is handled in the tactics.
Firstclass morphisms and signatures. Signatures and morphisms are ordinary Coq terms, hence they can be manipulated inside Coq, put inside structures and lemmas about them can be proved inside the system. Higherorder morphisms are also allowed.
Performance. The implementation is based on a depthfirst search for the first solution to a set of constraints which can be as fast as linear in the size of the term, and the size of the proof term is linear in the size of the original term. Besides, the extensibility allows the user to customize the proof search if necessary.
 1
Nicolas Tabareau helped with the gluing.
Introduction to generalized rewriting¶
Relations and morphisms¶
A parametric relation R
is any term of type
forall (x1 : T1) ... (xn : Tn), relation A
.
The expression A
, which depends on x1 ... xn
, is called the carrier
of the relation and R
is said to be a relation over A
; the list
x1,...,xn
is the (possibly empty) list of parameters of the relation.
Example: Parametric relation
It is possible to implement finite sets of elements of type A
as
unordered lists of elements of type A
.
The function set_eq: forall (A : Type), relation (list A)
satisfied by two lists with the same elements is a parametric relation
over (list A)
with one parameter A
. The type of set_eq
is convertible with forall (A : Type), list A > list A > Prop.
An instance of a parametric relation R
with n parameters is any term
(R t1 ... tn)
.
Let R
be a relation over A
with n
parameters. A term is a parametric
proof of reflexivity for R
if it has type
forall (x1 : T1) ... (xn : Tn), reflexive (R x1 ... xn)
.
Similar definitions are given for parametric proofs of symmetry and transitivity.
Example: Parametric relation (continued)
The set_eq
relation of the previous example can be proved to be
reflexive, symmetric and transitive. A parametric unary function f
of type
forall (x1 : T1) ... (xn : Tn), A1 > A2
covariantly respects two parametric relation instances
R1
and R2
if, whenever x
, y
satisfy R1 x y
, their images (f x
) and (f y
)
satisfy R2 (f x) (f y)
. An f
that respects its input and output
relations will be called a unary covariant morphism. We can also say
that f
is a monotone function with respect to R1
and R2
. The
sequence x1 ... xn
represents the parameters of the morphism.
Let R1
and R2
be two parametric relations. The signature of a
parametric morphism of type forall (x1 : T1) ... (xn : Tn), A1 > A2
that covariantly respects two instances \(I_{R_1}\) and \(I_{R_2}\) of R1
and R2
is written \(I_{R_1} ++> I_{R_2}\). Notice that the special arrow ++>, which
reminds the reader of covariance, is placed between the two relation
instances, not between the two carriers. The signature relation
instances and morphism will be typed in a context introducing
variables for the parameters.
The previous definitions are extended straightforwardly to nary morphisms, that are required to be simultaneously monotone on every argument.
Morphisms can also be contravariant in one or more of their arguments.
A morphism is contravariant on an argument associated with the relation
instance \(R\) if it is covariant on the same argument when the inverse
relation \(R^{−1}\) (inverse R
in Coq) is considered. The special arrow >
is used in signatures for contravariant morphisms.
Functions having arguments related by symmetric relations instances
are both covariant and contravariant in those arguments. The special
arrow ==>
is used in signatures for morphisms that are both
covariant and contravariant.
An instance of a parametric morphism \(f\) with \(n\) parameters is any term \(f \, t_1 \ldots t_n\).
Example: Morphisms
Continuing the previous example, let union: forall (A : Type), list A > list A > list A
perform the union of two sets by appending one list to the other. union
is a binary
morphism parametric over A
that respects the relation instance
(set_eq A)
. The latter condition is proved by showing:
The signature of the function union A
is set_eq A ==> set_eq A ==> set_eq A
for all A
.
Example: Contravariant morphisms
The division function Rdiv : R > R > R
is a morphism of signature
le ++> le > le
where le
is the usual order relation over
real numbers. Notice that division is covariant in its first argument
and contravariant in its second argument.
Leibniz equality is a relation and every function is a morphism that respects Leibniz equality. Unfortunately, Leibniz equality is not always the intended equality for a given structure.
In the next section we will describe the commands to register terms as
parametric relations and morphisms. Several tactics that deal with
equality in Coq can also work with the registered relations. The exact
list of tactics will be given in this section.
For instance, the tactic reflexivity can be used to solve a goal R n n
whenever R
is an instance of a registered reflexive relation. However, the
tactics that replace in a context C[]
one term with another one
related by R
must verify that C[]
is a morphism that respects the
intended relation. Currently the verification consists of checking
whether C[]
is a syntactic composition of morphism instances that respects some obvious
compatibility constraints.
Example: Rewriting
Continuing the previous examples, suppose that the user must prove
set_eq int (union int (union int S1 S2) S2) (f S1 S2)
under the
hypothesis H : set_eq int S2 (@nil int)
. It
is possible to use the rewrite
tactic to replace the first two
occurrences of S2
with @nil int
in the goal since the
context set_eq int (union int (union int S1 nil) nil) (f S1 S2)
,
being a composition of morphisms instances, is a morphism. However the
tactic will fail replacing the third occurrence of S2
unless f
has also been declared as a morphism.
Adding new relations and morphisms¶

Command
Add Parametric Relation binder* : one_term_{A} one_term_{Aeq} reflexivity proved by one_term? symmetry proved by one_term? transitivity proved by one_term? as ident
¶ Declares a parametric relation of
one_term_{A}
, which is aType
, sayT
, withone_term_{Aeq}
, which is a relation onT
, i.e. of type(T > T > Prop)
. Thus, ifone_term_{A}
isA: forall α_{1} … α_{n}, Type
thenone_term_{Aeq}
isAeq: forall α_{1} … α_{n}, (A α_{1} … α_{n}) > (A α_{1} … α_{n}) > Prop
, or equivalently,Aeq: forall α_{1} … α_{n}, relation (A α_{1} … α_{n})
.one_term_{A}
andone_term_{Aeq}
must be typeable under the contextbinder
s. In practice, thebinder
s usually correspond to theα
sThe final
ident
gives a unique name to the morphism and it is used by the command to generate fresh names for automatically provided lemmas used internally.Notice that the carrier and relation parameters may refer to the context of variables introduced at the beginning of the declaration, but the instances need not be made only of variables. Also notice that
A
is not required to be a term having the same parameters asAeq
, although that is often the case in practice (this departs from the previous implementation).To use this command, you need to first import the module
Setoid
using the commandRequire Import Setoid
.

Command
Add Relation one_term one_term reflexivity proved by one_term? symmetry proved by one_term? transitivity proved by one_term? as ident
¶ If the carrier and relations are not parametric, use this command instead, whose syntax is the same except there is no local context.
The proofs of reflexivity, symmetry and transitivity can be omitted if the relation is not an equivalence relation. The proofs must be instances of the corresponding relation definitions: e.g. the proof of reflexivity must have a type convertible to
reflexive (A t1 … tn) (Aeq t′ 1 … t′ n)
. Each proof may refer to the introduced variables as well.
Example: Parametric relation
For Leibniz equality, we may declare:
Some tactics (reflexivity
, symmetry
, transitivity
) work only on
relations that respect the expected properties. The remaining tactics
(replace
, rewrite
and derived tactics such as autorewrite
) do not
require any properties over the relation. However, they are able to
replace terms with related ones only in contexts that are syntactic
compositions of parametric morphism instances declared with the
following command.

Command
Add Parametric Morphism binder* : one_term with signature term as ident
¶ Declares a parametric morphism
one_term
of signatureterm
. The final identifierident
gives a unique name to the morphism and it is used as the base name of the typeclass instance definition and as the name of the lemma that proves the welldefinedness of the morphism. The parameters of the morphism as well as the signature may refer to the context of variables. The command asks the user to prove interactively that the function denoted by the firstident
respects the relations identified from the signature.
Example
We start the example by assuming a small theory over homogeneous sets and we declare set equality as a parametric equivalence relation and union of two sets as a parametric morphism.
 Require Export Setoid.
 Require Export Relation_Definitions.
 Set Implicit Arguments.
 Parameter set : Type > Type.
 set is declared
 Parameter empty : forall A, set A.
 empty is declared
 Parameter eq_set : forall A, set A > set A > Prop.
 eq_set is declared
 Parameter union : forall A, set A > set A > set A.
 union is declared
 Axiom eq_set_refl : forall A, reflexive _ (eq_set (A:=A)).
 eq_set_refl is declared
 Axiom eq_set_sym : forall A, symmetric _ (eq_set (A:=A)).
 eq_set_sym is declared
 Axiom eq_set_trans : forall A, transitive _ (eq_set (A:=A)).
 eq_set_trans is declared
 Axiom empty_neutral : forall A (S : set A), eq_set (union S (empty A)) S.
 empty_neutral is declared
 Axiom union_compat : forall (A : Type), forall x x' : set A, eq_set x x' > forall y y' : set A, eq_set y y' > eq_set (union x y) (union x' y').
 union_compat is declared
 Add Parametric Relation A : (set A) (@eq_set A) reflexivity proved by (eq_set_refl (A:=A)) symmetry proved by (eq_set_sym (A:=A)) transitivity proved by (eq_set_trans (A:=A)) as eq_set_rel.
 eq_set_rel_relation is defined eq_set_rel_Reflexive is defined eq_set_rel_Symmetric is defined eq_set_rel_Transitive is defined eq_set_rel is defined
 Add Parametric Morphism A : (@union A) with signature (@eq_set A) ==> (@eq_set A) ==> (@eq_set A) as union_mor.
 1 goal A : Type ============================ forall x y : set A, eq_set x y > forall x0 y0 : set A, eq_set x0 y0 > eq_set (union x x0) (union y y0)
 Proof.
 exact (@union_compat A).
 No more goals.
 Qed.
It is possible to reduce the burden of specifying parameters using
(maximally inserted) implicit arguments. If A
is always set as
maximally implicit in the previous example, one can write:
We proceed now by proving a simple lemma performing a rewrite step and
then applying reflexivity, as we would do working with Leibniz
equality. Both tactic applications are accepted since the required
properties over eq_set
and union
can be established from the two
declarations above.
 Goal forall (S : set nat), eq_set (union (union S (empty nat)) S) (union S S).
 1 goal ============================ forall S : set nat, eq_set (union (union S (empty nat)) S) (union S S)
 Proof. intros. rewrite empty_neutral. reflexivity. Qed.
 1 goal S : set nat ============================ eq_set (union (union S (empty nat)) S) (union S S) 1 goal S : set nat ============================ eq_set (union S S) (union S S) No more goals.
The tables of relations and morphisms are managed by the typeclass
instance mechanism. The behavior on section close is to generalize the
instances by the variables of the section (and possibly hypotheses
used in the proofs of instance declarations) but not to export them in
the rest of the development for proof search. One can use the
cmd:Existing Instance
command to do so outside the section, using the name of the
declared morphism suffixed by _Morphism
, or use the Global
modifier
for the corresponding class instance declaration
(see First Class Setoids and Morphisms) at
definition time. When loading a compiled file or importing a module,
all the declarations of this module will be loaded.
Rewriting and non reflexive relations¶
To replace only one argument of an nary morphism it is necessary to prove that all the other arguments are related to themselves by the respective relation instances.
Example
To replace (union S empty)
with S
in (union (union S empty) S) (union S S)
the rewrite tactic must exploit the monotony of union
(axiom union_compat
in the previous example). Applying union_compat
by hand we are left with the
goal eq_set (union S S) (union S S)
.
When the relations associated with some arguments are not reflexive, the tactic cannot automatically prove the reflexivity goals, that are left to the user.
Setoids whose relations are partial equivalence relations (PER) are
useful for dealing with partial functions. Let R
be a PER. We say that an
element x
is defined if R x x
. A partial function whose domain
comprises all the defined elements is declared as a morphism that
respects R
. Every time a rewriting step is performed the user must
prove that the argument of the morphism is defined.
Example
Let eqO
be fun x y => x = y /\ x <> 0
(the
smallest PER over nonzero elements). Division can be declared as a
morphism of signature eq ==> eq0 ==> eq
. Replacing x
with
y
in div x n = div y n
opens an additional goal eq0 n n
which is equivalent to n = n /\ n <> 0
.
Rewriting and non symmetric relations¶
When the user works up to relations that are not symmetric, it is no longer the case that any covariant morphism argument is also contravariant. As a result it is no longer possible to replace a term with a related one in every context, since the obtained goal implies the previous one if and only if the replacement has been performed in a contravariant position. In a similar way, replacement in an hypothesis can be performed only if the replaced term occurs in a covariant position.
Example: Covariance and contravariance
Suppose that division over real numbers has been defined as a morphism of signature
Z.div : Z.lt ++> Z.lt > Z.lt
(i.e. Z.div
is increasing in
its first argument, but decreasing on the second one). Let <
denote Z.lt
. Under the hypothesis H : x < y
we have
k < x / y > k < x / x
, but not k < y / x > k < x / x
. Dually,
under the same hypothesis k < x / y > k < y / y
holds, but
k < y / x > k < y / y
does not. Thus, if the current goal is
k < x / x
, it is possible to replace only the second occurrence of
x
(in contravariant position) with y
since the obtained goal
must imply the current one. On the contrary, if k < x / x
is an
hypothesis, it is possible to replace only the first occurrence of
x
(in covariant position) with y
since the current
hypothesis must imply the obtained one.
Contrary to the previous implementation, no specific error message will be raised when trying to replace a term that occurs in the wrong position. It will only fail because the rewriting constraints are not satisfiable. However it is possible to use the at modifier to specify which occurrences should be rewritten.
As expected, composing morphisms together propagates the variance annotations by switching the variance every time a contravariant position is traversed.
Example
Let us continue the previous example and let us consider
the goal x / (x / x) < k
. The first and third occurrences of
x
are in a contravariant position, while the second one is in
covariant position. More in detail, the second occurrence of x
occurs covariantly in (x / x)
(since division is covariant in
its first argument), and thus contravariantly in x / (x / x)
(since division is contravariant in its second argument), and finally
covariantly in x / (x / x) < k
(since <
, as every
transitive relation, is contravariant in its first argument with
respect to the relation itself).
Rewriting in ambiguous setoid contexts¶
One function can respect several different relations and thus it can be declared as a morphism having multiple signatures.
Example
Union over homogeneous lists can be given all the
following signatures: eq ==> eq ==> eq
(eq
being the
equality over ordered lists) set_eq ==> set_eq ==> set_eq
(set_eq
being the equality over unordered lists up to duplicates),
multiset_eq ==> multiset_eq ==> multiset_eq
(multiset_eq
being the equality over unordered lists).
To declare multiple signatures for a morphism, repeat the Add Morphism
command.
When morphisms have multiple signatures it can be the case that a rewrite request is ambiguous, since it is unclear what relations should be used to perform the rewriting. Contrary to the previous implementation, the tactic will always choose the first possible solution to the set of constraints generated by a rewrite and will not try to find all the possible solutions to warn the user about them.
Commands and tactics¶
First class setoids and morphisms¶
The implementation is based on a firstclass representation of properties of relations and morphisms as typeclasses. That is, the various combinations of properties on relations and morphisms are represented as records and instances of these classes are put in a hint database. For example, the declaration:
is equivalent to an instance declaration:
The declaration itself amounts to the definition of an object of the
record type Coq.Classes.RelationClasses.Equivalence
and a hint added
to the typeclass_instances
hint database. Morphism declarations are
also instances of a typeclass defined in Classes.Morphisms
. See the
documentation on Typeclasses and the theories files in Classes
for further explanations.
One can inform the rewrite tactic about morphisms and relations just
by using the typeclass mechanism to declare them using the Instance
and
Context
commands. Any object of type Proper (the type of
morphism declarations) in the local context will also be automatically
used by the rewriting tactic to solve constraints.
Other representations of first class setoids and morphisms can also be handled by encoding them as records. In the following example, the projections of the setoid relation and of the morphism function can be registered as parametric relations and morphisms.
Example: First class setoids
 Require Import Relation_Definitions Setoid.
 Record Setoid : Type := { car: Type; eq: car > car > Prop; refl: reflexive _ eq; sym: symmetric _ eq; trans: transitive _ eq }.
 Setoid is defined car is defined eq is defined refl is defined sym is defined trans is defined
 Add Parametric Relation (s : Setoid) : (@car s) (@eq s) reflexivity proved by (refl s) symmetry proved by (sym s) transitivity proved by (trans s) as eq_rel.
 eq_rel_relation is defined eq_rel_Reflexive is defined eq_rel_Symmetric is defined eq_rel_Transitive is defined eq_rel is defined
 Record Morphism (S1 S2 : Setoid) : Type := { f: car S1 > car S2; compat: forall (x1 x2 : car S1), eq S1 x1 x2 > eq S2 (f x1) (f x2) }.
 Morphism is defined f is defined compat is defined
 Add Parametric Morphism (S1 S2 : Setoid) (M : Morphism S1 S2) : (@f S1 S2 M) with signature (@eq S1 ==> @eq S2) as apply_mor.
 1 goal S1, S2 : Setoid M : Morphism S1 S2 ============================ forall x y : car S1, eq S1 x y > eq S2 (f S1 S2 M x) (f S1 S2 M y)
 Proof. apply (compat S1 S2 M). Qed.
 No more goals.
 Lemma test : forall (S1 S2 : Setoid) (m : Morphism S1 S2) (x y : car S1), eq S1 x y > eq S2 (f _ _ m x) (f _ _ m y).
 1 goal ============================ forall (S1 S2 : Setoid) (m : Morphism S1 S2) (x y : car S1), eq S1 x y > eq S2 (f S1 S2 m x) (f S1 S2 m y)
 Proof. intros. rewrite H. reflexivity. Qed.
 1 goal S1, S2 : Setoid m : Morphism S1 S2 x, y : car S1 H : eq S1 x y ============================ eq S2 (f S1 S2 m x) (f S1 S2 m y) 1 goal S1, S2 : Setoid m : Morphism S1 S2 x, y : car S1 H : eq S1 x y ============================ eq S2 (f S1 S2 m y) (f S1 S2 m y) No more goals.
Tactics enabled on user provided relations¶
The following tactics, all prefixed by setoid_
, deal with arbitrary
registered relations and morphisms. Moreover, all the corresponding
unprefixed tactics (i.e. reflexivity
, symmetry
, transitivity
,
replace
, rewrite
) have been extended to fall back to their prefixed
counterparts when the relation involved is not Leibniz equality.
Notice, however, that using the prefixed tactics it is possible to
pass additional arguments such as using relation
.

Tactic
setoid_reflexivity
¶ 
Tactic
setoid_symmetry in ident?
¶ 
Tactic
setoid_transitivity one_term
¶ 
Tactic
setoid_rewrite ><? one_term with bindings? at rewrite_occs? in ident?
¶ 
Tactic
setoid_rewrite ><? one_term with bindings? in ident at rewrite_occs
¶ 
Tactic
setoid_replace one_term with one_term using relation one_term? in ident? at int_or_var+? by ltac_expr3?
¶ The
using relation
arguments cannot be passed to the unprefixed form. The latter argument tells the tactic what parametric relation should be used to replace the first tactic argument with the second one. If omitted, it defaults to theDefaultRelation
instance on the type of the objects. By default, it means the most recentEquivalence
instance in the global environment, but it can be customized by declaring newDefaultRelation
instances. As Leibniz equality is a declared equivalence, it will fall back to it if no other relation is declared on a given type.
Every derived tactic that is based on the unprefixed forms of the
tactics considered above will also work up to user defined relations.
For instance, it is possible to register hints for autorewrite
that
are not proofs of Leibniz equalities. In particular it is possible to
exploit autorewrite
to simulate normalization in a term rewriting
system up to user defined equalities.
Printing relations and morphisms¶
Use the Print Instances
command with the class names Reflexive
, Symmetric
or Transitive
to print registered reflexive, symmetric or transitive relations and
with the class name Proper
to print morphisms.
When rewriting tactics refuse to replace a term in a context because the latter is not a composition of morphisms, this command can be useful to understand what additional morphisms should be registered.
Deprecated syntax and backward incompatibilities¶

Command
Add Setoid one_term_{carrier} one_term_{congruence} one_term_{proofs} as ident
¶ This command for declaring setoids and morphisms is also accepted due to backward compatibility reasons.
Here
one_term_{congruence}
is a congruence relation without parameters,one_term_{carrier}
is its carrier andone_term_{proofs}
is an object of type (Setoid_Theory one_term_{carrier} one_term_{congruence}
) (i.e. a record packing together the reflexivity, symmetry and transitivity lemmas). Notice that the syntax is not completely backward compatible since the identifier was not required.

Command
Add Morphism one_term : ident
¶ 
Command
Add Morphism one_term with signature term as ident
¶ This command is restricted to the declaration of morphisms without parameters. It is not fully backward compatible since the property the user is asked to prove is slightly different: for nary morphisms the hypotheses of the property are permuted; moreover, when the morphism returns a proposition, the property is now stated using a biimplication in place of a simple implication. In practice, porting an old development to the new semantics is usually quite simple.

Command
Declare Morphism one_term : ident
¶ Declares a parameter in a module type that is a morphism.
Notice that several limitations of the old implementation have been
lifted. In particular, it is now possible to declare several relations
with the same carrier and several signatures for the same morphism.
Moreover, it is now also possible to declare several morphisms having
the same signature. Finally, the replace
and rewrite
tactics can be
used to replace terms in contexts that were refused by the old
implementation. As discussed in the next section, the semantics of the
new setoid_rewrite
tactic differs slightly from the old one and
rewrite
.
Extensions¶
Rewriting under binders¶
Warning
Due to compatibility issues, this feature is enabled only
when calling the setoid_rewrite
tactic directly and not rewrite
.
To be able to rewrite under binding constructs, one must declare
morphisms with respect to pointwise (setoid) equivalence of functions.
Example of such morphisms are the standard all
and ex
combinators for
universal and existential quantification respectively. They are
declared as morphisms in the Classes.Morphisms_Prop
module. For
example, to declare that universal quantification is a morphism for
logical equivalence:
 Require Import Morphisms.
 Instance all_iff_morphism (A : Type) : Proper (pointwise_relation A iff ==> iff) (@all A).
 1 goal A : Type ============================ Proper (pointwise_relation A iff ==> iff) (all (A:=A))
 Proof. simpl_relation.
 1 goal A : Type x, y : A > Prop H : pointwise_relation A iff x y ============================ all x <> all y
One then has to show that if two predicates are equivalent at every
point, their universal quantifications are equivalent. Once we have
declared such a morphism, it will be used by the setoid rewriting
tactic each time we try to rewrite under an all
application (products
in Prop
are implicitly translated to such applications).
Indeed, when rewriting under a lambda, binding variable x
, say from P x
to Q x
using the relation iff, the tactic will generate a proof of
pointwise_relation A iff (fun x => P x) (fun x => Q x)
from the proof
of iff (P x) (Q x)
and a constraint of the form Proper (pointwise_relation A iff ==> ?) m
will be generated for the surrounding morphism m
.
Hence, one can add higherorder combinators as morphisms by providing
signatures using pointwise extension for the relations on the
functional arguments (or whatever subrelation of the pointwise
extension). For example, one could declare the map
combinator on lists
as a morphism:
where list_equiv
implements an equivalence on lists parameterized by
an equivalence on the elements.
Note that when one does rewriting with a lemma under a binder using
setoid_rewrite
, the application of the lemma may capture the bound
variable, as the semantics are different from rewrite where the lemma
is first matched on the whole term. With the new setoid_rewrite
,
matching is done on each subterm separately and in its local
context, and all matches are rewritten simultaneously by
default. The semantics of the previous setoid_rewrite
implementation
can almost be recovered using the at 1
modifier.
Subrelations¶
Subrelations can be used to specify that one relation is included in
another, so that morphism signatures for one can be used for the
other. If a signature mentions a relation R
on the left of an
arrow ==>
, then the signature also applies for any relation S
that is
smaller than R
, and the inverse applies on the right of an arrow. One
can then declare only a few morphisms instances that generate the
complete set of signatures for a particular constant. By default, the
only declared subrelation is iff
, which is a subrelation of impl
and
inverse impl
(the dual of implication). That’s why we can declare only
two morphisms for conjunction: Proper (impl ==> impl ==> impl) and
and
Proper (iff ==> iff ==> iff) and
. This is sufficient to satisfy any
rewriting constraints arising from a rewrite using iff
, impl
or
inverse impl
through and
.
Subrelations are implemented in Classes.Morphisms
and are a prime
example of a mostly userspace extension of the algorithm.
Constant unfolding¶
The resolution tactic is based on typeclasses and hence regards user
defined constants as transparent by default. This may slow down the
resolution due to a lot of unifications (all the declared Proper
instances are tried at each node of the search tree). To speed it up,
declare your constant as rigid for proof search using the command
Typeclasses Opaque
.
Strategies for rewriting¶
Usage¶

Tactic
rewrite_strat rewstrategy in ident?
¶ Rewrite using
rewstrategy
in the conclusion or in the hypothesisident
.
Error
Nothing to rewrite.
¶ The strategy didn't find any matches.

Error
No progress made.
¶ If the strategy succeeded but made no progress.

Error
Unable to satisfy the rewriting constraints.
¶ If the strategy succeeded and made progress but the corresponding rewriting constraints are not satisfied.
setoid_rewrite
one_term
is basically equivalent torewrite_strat outermost one_term
.
Error
Definitions¶
The generalized rewriting tactic is based on a set of strategies that can be
combined to create custom rewriting procedures. Its set of strategies is based
on the programmable rewriting strategies with generic traversals by Visser et al.
[LV97] [VBT98], which formed the core of
the Stratego transformation language [Vis01]. Rewriting strategies
are applied using the tactic rewrite_strat rewstrategy
.
one_term
lemma, left to right
< one_term
lemma, right to left
fail
failure
id
identity
refl
reflexivity
progress rewstrategy
progress
try rewstrategy
try catch
rewstrategy ; rewstrategy
composition
choice rewstrategy rewstrategy
left_biased_choice
repeat rewstrategy
one or more
any rewstrategy
zero or more
subterm rewstrategy
one subterm
subterms rewstrategy
all subterms
innermost rewstrategy
Innermost first. When there are multiple nested matches in a subterm, the innermost subterm is rewritten. For example, rewriting
(a + b) + c
with Nat.add_comm gives(b + a) + c
.outermost rewstrategy
Outermost first. When there are multiple nested matches in a subterm, the outermost subterm is rewritten. For example, rewriting
(a + b) + c
with Nat.add_comm givesc + (a + b)
.bottomup rewstrategy
bottomup
topdown rewstrategy
topdown
hints ident
apply hints from hint database
terms one_term*
any of the terms
eval red_expr
apply reduction
fold term
unify
( rewstrategy )
to be documented
old_hints ident
to be documented
Conceptually, a few of these are defined in terms of the others using a
primitive fixpoint operator fix
, which the tactic doesn't currently support:
try rewstrategy := choice rewstrategy id
any rewstrategy := fix ident. try (rewstrategy ; ident)
repeat rewstrategy := rewstrategy; any rewstrategy
bottomup rewstrategy := fix ident. (choice (progress (subterms ident)) rewstrategy) ; try ident
topdown rewstrategy := fix ident. (choice rewstrategy (progress (subterms ident))) ; try ident
innermost rewstrategy := fix ident. (choice (subterm ident) rewstrategy)
outermost rewstrategy := fix ident. (choice rewstrategy (subterm ident))
The basic control strategy semantics are straightforward: strategies
are applied to subterms of the term to rewrite, starting from the root
of the term. The lemma strategies unify the lefthandside of the
lemma with the current subterm and on success rewrite it to the right
handside. Composition can be used to continue rewriting on the
current subterm. The fail
strategy always fails while the identity
strategy succeeds without making progress. The reflexivity strategy
succeeds, making progress using a reflexivity proof of rewriting.
progress
tests progress of the argument rewstrategy
and fails if no
progress was made, while try
always succeeds, catching failures.
choice
is leftbiased: it will launch the first strategy and fall back
on the second one in case of failure. One can iterate a strategy at
least 1 time using repeat
and at least 0 times using any
.
The subterm
and subterms
strategies apply their argument rewstrategy
to
respectively one or all subterms of the current term under
consideration, lefttoright. subterm
stops at the first subterm for
which rewstrategy
made progress. The composite strategies innermost
and outermost
perform a single innermost or outermost rewrite using their argument
rewstrategy
. Their counterparts bottomup
and topdown
perform as many
rewritings as possible, starting from the bottom or the top of the
term.
Hint databases created for autorewrite
can also be used
by rewrite_strat
using the hints
strategy that applies any of the
lemmas at the current subterm. The terms
strategy takes the lemma
names directly as arguments. The eval
strategy expects a reduction
expression (see Performing computations) and succeeds
if it reduces the subterm under consideration. The fold
strategy takes
a term
and tries to unify it to the current subterm, converting it to term
on success. It is stronger than the tactic fold
.
Example: innermost
and outermost
The type of Nat.add_comm
is forall n m : nat, n + m = m + n
.
 Require Import Coq.Arith.Arith.
 [Loading ML file ring_plugin.cmxs ... done]
 Set Printing Parentheses.
 Goal forall a b c: nat, a + b + c = 0.
 1 goal ============================ forall a b c : nat, ((a + b) + c) = 0
 rewrite_strat innermost Nat.add_comm.
 1 goal ============================ forall a b c : nat, ((b + a) + c) = 0
 Abort.
 Goal forall a b c: nat, a + b + c = 0.
 1 goal ============================ forall a b c : nat, ((a + b) + c) = 0
Using outermost
instead gives this result:
 rewrite_strat outermost Nat.add_comm.
 1 goal ============================ forall a b c : nat, (c + (a + b)) = 0
 Abort.