A Novice-Friendly Induction Tactic for Lean (under consideration at CPP 2021)

Draft paper

In theorem provers based on dependent type theory such as Coq and Lean, induction is a fundamental proof method and induction tactics are omnipresent in proof scripts. Yet the ergonomics of existing induction tactics are not ideal: they do not reliably support inductive predicates and relations; they sometimes generate overly specific or unnecessarily complex induction hypotheses; and they occasionally choose confusing names for the hypotheses they introduce.

This paper describes a new induction tactic, implemented in Lean 3, which addresses these issues. The tactic is particularly suitable for educational use, but experts should also find it more convenient than existing induction tactics. In addition, the tactic serves as a moderately complex case study for the metaprogramming framework of Lean 3. The paper describes some difficulties encountered during the implementation and suggests improvements of the framework.