Purity Reflection

Note: This feature is experimental and not yet intended for use.

Purity reflection is an advanced Flix feature that enables higher-order functions to inspect the purity of their function arguments. This allows us to write functions that use selective lazy and/or parallel evaluation.

For example, here is the implementation of Set.count:

pub def count(f: a -> Bool \ ef, s: Set[a]): Int32 \ ef =
    typematch f {
        case g: a -> Bool \ {} =>
            if (useParallelEvaluation(s))
                let h = (k, _) -> g(k);
                let Set(t) = s;
                RedBlackTree.parCount(threads() - 1, h, t) as \ {}
                foldLeft((b, k) -> if (f(k)) b + 1 else b, 0, s)
        case g: a -> Bool \ ef => foldLeft((b, k) -> if (g(k)) b + 1 else b, 0, s)
        case _: _ => unreachable!()

Here the reifyEff construct allows us to reflect on the purity of f. We have two cases: f is guaranteed to be pure (in which case we bind it to g and take the first branch) and f may be impure.

If f is pure then we apply it in parallel over the set. Otherwise we apply it sequentially.