On the Invariance of the Unitary Cost Model for Head Reduction

Beniamino Accattoli & Ugo Dal Lago
The lambda-calculus is a widely accepted computational model of higher-order functional programs, yet there is not any direct and universally accepted cost model for it. As a consequence, the computational difficulty of reducing lambda-terms to their normal form is typically studied by reasoning on concrete implementation algorithms. In this paper, we show that when head reduction is the underlying dynamics, the unitary cost model is indeed invariant. This improves on known results, which only deal...