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Edmund Smith edmundsmith

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Follow-up to Method on Emulating Higher-Kinded Types (HKTs) in Rust

First off, thanks for all the comments and kind words on the original writeup; I've been meaning to follow up on some of the suggestions and write about the different ways to represent monads (and functors, HKTs, etc) that now exist, but a month of being busy has kind of gotten in the way (mainly with three new kittens!).

And for sure, I do not expect (nor do I want) this to become the norm for production-level Rust: rather, I hope that this can contribute to the foundations of programming with higher-level abstractions in Rust, somewhat like how early template metaprogramming in C++ and typeclass-constraint-unification metaprogramming in Haskell have contributed, perhaps indirectly, to later innovations in their respective languages and ecosystems that were much more reasoned, sound and usable.

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One of the things suggested in the com

edmundsmith /
Created Jul 7, 2019
Method for Emulating Higher-Kinded Types in Rust

Method for Emulating Higher-Kinded Types in Rust


I've been fiddling about with an idea lately, looking at how higher-kinded types can be represented in such a way that we can reason with them in Rust here and now, without having to wait a couple years for what would be a significant change to the language and compiler.

There have been multiple discussions on introducing higher-ranked polymorphism into Rust, using Haskell-style Higher-Kinded Types (HKTs) or Scala-looking Generalised Associated Types (GATs). The benefit of higher-ranked polymorphism is to allow higher-level, richer abstractions and pattern expression than just the rank-1 polymorphism we have today.

As an example, currently we can express this type:

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