Induction principles from well-founded function definitions

In this repository I am prototyping a tool that takes a (well-founded) recursive function definition in Lean4, and derive a custom tailored induction principle that follows that function's execution paths.


def ackermann : Nat → Nat → Nat
  | 0, m => m + 1
  | n+1, 0 => ackermann n 1
  | n+1, m+1 => ackermann n (ackermann (n + 1) m)


ackermann.induct (motive : Nat → Nat → Prop) (case1 : ∀ (m : Nat), motive 0 m)
  (case2 : ∀ (n : Nat), motive n 1 → motive (Nat.succ n) 0)
  (case3 : ∀ (n m : Nat), motive (n + 1) m → motive n (ackermann (n + 1) m) → motive (Nat.succ n) (Nat.succ m))
  (x x : Nat) : motive x x


inductive Tree
  | node : List Tree → Tree

def Tree.rev : Tree → Tree
  | node ts => .node ( (fun ⟨t, _ht⟩ => t.rev) |>.reverse)


Tree.rev.induct (motive : Tree → Prop)
  (case1 : ∀ (ts : List Tree),
    (∀ (t : Tree), t ∈ ts → motive t) →
    motive (Tree.node ts))
  (x : Tree) : motive x

This is work in progress, so do not use this in production yet.

I am interested in interesting and small test cases. Just talk to me (Joachim Breitner) on zulip.


The idea of the implemenation is to take the final function definition (in terms of WellFounded.fix), which has all the decreasing proofs in it, and rewrite that definition into one that proves the desired induction principle. The steps are

  • Unfold the definition to expose the WellFounded.fixF function.
  • Construct a suitable motive.
  • Replace its argument (with the oldIH argument) as follows:
  • For every recursive call (i.e. call to oldIH) we replace it with a call to the original function.
  • Also, for every call to oldIH, we pass its argument o newIH to construct the induction hypothesis for this recursive call.
  • For top-level matches
    • check if it is refining the oldIH; if it is, replace that with newIH.
    • use the splitter, if present, to get extra assumptions for overlapping matches
    • keep the match application
  • In the branches of the top-level matches
    • Create a hole with the (refined) motive.
    • Pass all induction hypothese to that hole
  • Finally, abstract over all these holes.
  • Profit.