Version 3 (modified by diatchki, 9 years ago) (diff)


The only "magic" thing about GHC.TypeNats are the instances of NatI. The rest is implemented like this:

newtype Nat (n :: Nat) = Nat Integer

natToInteger :: Nat n -> Integer
natToInteger (Nat n) = n

So, now we just need instances like these:

instance NatI 0 where nat = Nat 0
instance NatI 1 where nat = Nat 1
instance NatI 2 where nat = Nat 2

Because we cannot generate this infinite family of instances, we have some code in GHC which can solve NatI predicates on the fly.

The "proof" (aka "dictionary") for NatI n is just the number n. This is OK because:

  1. GHC uses a newtype to represent the dictionaries for classes that have just a single method and no super-classes. NatI is just such a class.
  2. Nat is already a newtype for Integer.

Therefore, the dictionaries for class NatI are just integers.