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Programming Language Converts Laws Into 'Provably Correct' Computer Code


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Researchers have created a programming language that is specifically designed to capture and execute legal algorithms.

The language is described in "Catala: A Programming Language for the Law," by Denis Merigoux and Nicolas Chataing at the National Institute for Research in Digital Science and Technology in Paris, and Jonathan Protzenko at Microsoft Research in the U.S.

The team has begun to translate certain legal statutes into Catala and then to implement them. In the process, they show how U.S. tax law can be translated into Catala code.

"With its clear and simple semantics, we hope for Catala formalizations of statutes to provide ideal starting point for future formal analyses of the law, enabling legal drafting, interpretation, simplification, and comparison using the full arsenal of modern formal methods," the researchers write.

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