**Author:**Sam Staton (University of Cambridge).

**Conference:**16th International Conference on Foundations of Software Science and Computation Structures (FoSSaCS 2013), 18-20 March 2013, Rome, Italy.

**Journal reference:**Lecture Notes in Computer Science (to appear).

**Comments:**After last week's head-scratcher, Google Scholar Updates is back on firmer ground with a paper by somebody I know, from my old university, that cites one of my own papers. In fact, this paper is due to be presented at a conference later this year that I also have a paper at (pdf), so this is a chance to read something before I see it presented.

*Equational logic*is the logic that allows you to reason about systems that are defined with equations; its basic rules include facts such as "everything is equal to itself", and "if x is equal to y, then y is equal to x". This may not seem particularly deep, but in fact a vast number of mathematically significant systems are amenable to equational reasoning - groups, rings, Boolean algebras, and so on. I myself have conducted a short course of lectures on equational logic at the Australian National University's Logic Summer School - my slides can be found here.

For all the power of equational logic, both the demands of applications and pure curiousity have often lead people to tweak or extend the basic logic. The bulk of my own publications have looked at a certain tweak of equational logic, and this paper introduces another (my paper Nominal Equational Logic, with Andrew Pitts, is cited as related work for this reason).

Staton's new style of equational logic is called 'parameterized algebra'. In the standard equational setting, we start with a 'signature' of operation and constant symbols that can be used to build terms. For example, if we are interested in monoids we have an identity constant and a binary multiplication; if we move to groups we add a unary inverse operation, and so forth. With parameterized algebra we have two signatures - a main one, and an ancillary one that is used to define

*parameters*. The difference between this and ordinary equational logic with two sorts is two-fold. First, parameter-sorted variables can be*bound*by the main signature's operations. Second, parameter terms can be appended to the main signature's variables. For example, the term∃ a. P[a]

where a is a parameter-sorted variable and P is a main signature variable, indicates that a is bound by the existential quantifier ∃, and that P is 'standing in' for a predicate that may make some mention of a.

Once the new logic is defined, the paper goes in two directions: first, it develops the metatheory of the logic, first via Lawvere-style classifying categories, and then via monads (in fact,

*relative monads*; this is the second paper of the four I have had recommended to me that has made use of this fairly recently developed notion). Second, a major example is developed of 'disjunctive predicate logic', a fragment of first order logic (lacking e.g. implication) that uses parameters. This example is considered as a small programming language, and it is shown that it has a mathematically natural description in the 'classifying category' setting.