A static cost analysis for a higher-order language
We develop a static complexity analysis for a higher-order functional language with structural list recursion. The complexity of an expression is a pair consisting of a cost and a potential. The former is defined to be the size of the expression's evaluation derivation in a standard big-step operational semantics. The latter is a measure of the "future" cost of using the value of that expression. A translation function ||.|| maps target expressions to complexities. Our main result is the following Soundness Theorem: If t is a term in the target language, then the cost component of ||t|| is an upper bound on the cost of evaluating t. The proof of the Soundness Theorem is formalized in Coq, providing certified upper bounds on the cost of any expression in the target language.
N. Danner, J. Paykin, and J.S. Royer. A static cost semantics for a higher-order language. arXiv:1206.3523 [cs.PL].