[Haskell-beginners] [Haskell-cafe] select :: [(Float,
a)] -> a -- Weighted stochastic selection - help?
Nicolas Pouillard
nicolas.pouillard at gmail.com
Sat Sep 6 08:16:58 EDT 2008
Excerpts from C.M.Brown's message of Sat Sep 06 12:43:08 +0200 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.
OK, let's restrict the word side-effect to printing on the screen as the only
side-effect possible.
Some recalls:
- Yes the 'IO' monad allow the user to define side-effecting functions
- No the user cannot produce a side-effect in a pure language
- The 'main' *function* is a side-effecting function
- The runtime system consume 'main' and trigger it's effects
Example:
putStrLn is a side-effecting function expecting *2* arguments,
the first one is the string to print, and the second one is the world state.
So if you could give to arguments to putStrLn you could make a side-effect,
however you don't have a value of type RealWorld.
Is this clear?
In <<putStrLn "Hello">> the putStrLn function only partially applied,
so it's still a function that waits for the RealWorld value.
However RealWorld values are not given to the user, only functions
that combine 'RealWorld->RealWorld' values are given.
If the program is:
main :: IO ()
main = putStrLn "Hello"
That's somewhat equivalent to:
main realWorld = putStrLn "Hello" realWorld
So you're program is a *function* that waits for a realWorld argument.
The runtime system of Haskell gives the initial real world value to the
main function:
int main() { haskell_main(the_initial_real_world_value); return 0; }
A pure model for IO (in fact putStrLn only):
data RealWorld = W { screenOutput :: String }
type IO a = RealWorld -> (a, RealWorld)
putStrLn :: String -> IO ()
putStrLn str world = ((), W { screenOutput = screenOutput world ++ str })
Hope this helps,
> 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
> >
> >
--
Nicolas Pouillard aka Ertai
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