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least fixed point

A function f may have many fixed points (x such that f x = x). For example, any value is a fixed point of the identity function, ( x . x). If f is recursive, we can represent it as

		f = fix F


where F is some higher-order function and

		fix F = F (fix F).


The standard denotational semantics of f is then given by the least fixed point of F. This is the least upper bound of the infinite sequence (the ascending Kleene chain) obtained by repeatedly applying F to the totally undefined value, bottom. I.e.

		fix F = LUB {bottom, F bottom, F (F bottom), ...}.


The least fixed point is guaranteed to exist for a continuous function over a cpo.


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