[swift-evolution] [Draft] Change @noreturn to unconstructible return type

Charlie Monroe charlie at charliemonroe.net
Wed Jun 8 03:36:47 CDT 2016

> On Jun 8, 2016, at 10:28 AM, Антон Жилин via swift-evolution <swift-evolution at swift.org> wrote:
> I'll talk about how "bottom" mechanic works there. (I'm not a Haskell expert, but I'll at least try ;) )
> Firstly, there is a Void type in standard library, which is exactly what  enum Never {}  in Swift is.
> Pretty trivial: it is useful as a parameter of higher kinded types, e.g. Either.

Not really. Void is a "Unit" type - it's not an empty enum, it's an enum with exactly one value. The set of values for the Void type contains exactly one possible value.

> Then, there is bottom. Long story short, each type in Haskell includes an undefined (bottom, _|_) value. That corresponds to partially defined functions in set theory.
> Example 1: Integer -> Integer  function can either return a Z number, or be undefined at that input (return bottom)
> Example 2: ()  type actually contains two elements: () and _|_
> Example 3: Void  contains one element: _|_
> Bottom value results in an error on most occasions.
> What does returning Void mean? In set theory, set of  Integer -> Void  is an empty set. In type theory,  Integer -> Void  can contain a single element that returns bottom.
> Applying that to Swift, we express bottom value by not returning on a particular input (due to a crash or an infinite loop). We are going to express bottom type by Never (or aliases). The only way to return bottom type is as well going to be returning bottom value (in Swift meaning).
> There is also such a function in Haskell:  absurd :: forall a. Void -> a
> Of course, it just returns bottom value of type a. The philosophy of this is "from false follows anything" or like, "if we are going to crash, then we can do anything".
> Based on this, we can implement conversions from Void to any type in Swift. It would look like:
> func implementContract() -> Int {
>     return fatalError("unimplemented")
> }
> `return` is crucial here.
> This is what I suggest to change in the proposal.
> - Anton
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