[Haskell-beginners] [Haskell-cafe] select :: [(Float, a)] -> a
-- Weighted stochastic selection - help?
C.M.Brown
cmb21 at kent.ac.uk
Sat Sep 6 06:43:08 EDT 2008
Hi Nicolas,
I'm sorry, but I just don't get it. What are you trying to say? I think it
would be clearer if we started to define what exactly a "side-effect" is
(in any language) and work our definitions from there, because now I'm
really confused.
Thanks,
Chris.
On Sat, 6 Sep 2008, Nicolas Pouillard wrote:
> Excerpts from C.M.Brown's message of Sat Sep 06 12:04:10 +0200 2008:
> > On Sat, 6 Sep 2008, Nicolas Pouillard wrote:
> >
> > > Excerpts from C.M.Brown's message of Fri Sep 05 22:12:05 +0200 2008:
> > > > > Can you give an example? I don't see how that can be done using
> > > > > Control.Monad.State(.Strict).State, unless invocations of put or modify are
> > > > > considered side effects.
> > > >
> > > > Actually, yes, sorry; I do see your point. I guess it's just IO then.
> > >
> > > Technically, even the IO monad is pure, that's just the runtime-system
> > > that consume your 'main' function that perform effects (and unsafeP...).
> >
> > But, sure the IO monad does have side-effects? I'm confused as to how it
> > could be pure. Could you explain?
> >
> > > That's an important point to grasp about the way we do effects in a pure
> > > language.
> > >
> > > Once we've understood that point one tend to be a little less precise and
> > > consider IO as effect-full.
> >
> > I consider IO to be effect-full anyway - I can't see how it isn't!
>
> In fact one consider the IO monad to be effect-full because we don't have a
> runIO [1] function that is safe. So to be clear you go in the monad, but you
> can't go out of it. In other terms you can make 'IO t' values but you can't
> get values inside of it (without being yourself inside of it again).
>
> For instance the State monad have a runState [2] function that allows you to
> go out the of the monad, or in other terms to get the value inside. So the
> State monad really is pure.
>
> The ST monad is also pure and provides a pure running function runST [3].
> What is interesting with the ST monad is that one don't choose the state
> type, moreover one cannot access it either (no get and put functions).
> Moreover by having this rank-2 type the runST function force the caller to
> give a 'ST s a' computation that does not mix the state parameter 's'.
>
> Internally one can see 'ST' to be defined by something like that:
> type ST s a = s -> (s, a)
> So not far of the State monad.
>
> The IO monad internally is defined as 'ST RealWorld a', what means that
> 'IO a' values are in fact RealWorld passing function.
>
> An example:
>
> What is the side-effect of reducing 'putStrLn "Hello"'?
>
> Easy answer, there is no side-effect in a pure language.
>
> More precise answer:
> "Hello" :: String
> putStrLn :: String -> IO ()
> So:
> putStrLn "Hello" :: IO ()
> If one imprecisely expand IO:
> putStrLn "Hello" :: RealWorld -> (RealWorld, ())
> Thus an argument is still missing, so no effect
>
> Is this clearer?
>
> [1] hypothetical type: runIO :: IO a -> a
> [2] runState :: State s a -> s -> (a, s)
> [3] runST :: (forall s. ST s a) -> a
>
>
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