[Haskell-beginners] A rigid type and a better pattern

Javier M Mora jamarier at gmail.com
Sun Aug 16 08:04:10 EDT 2009

(I had problems sending this email and I don't know if earlier arrived
to  mail list. I'm going to send again. Sorry if you get it duplicate)

Hi All, this is my first email to beginners list. I'm ending my Master
Degree in Robotics (in Spain). One of my assignment is about Motion
Planning and I thought solve with Haskell. This is my problem:

* Every robot has a local state. I can get the position of the robot
from the state. The state can be rect coords or polar coords or distance
moved on a fixed path or whatever.

* I have a global state witch keep the local state of each robot.

* Every state has a different system to action over it. So, in distance
over fixed path we can "stop" or "go". In polar coords we can increase
and decrease the radius and phi. And in rect coords we can move in x and
y direction

* I have several robots at same time. But every robot has the same state
and the same action. So, all robots in the run of my program has same
local state and action.

So, I split the algorithm in a common part (used in all states and
actions) and other for each specific state-action.

This is the structure (abstract):
     class Robot a where

     class State a where
       getpos a -> [Position]

     class Action a where

later I have instances for concrete cases. In phase 1, local state is a
Int for each robot and action is a Bool (stop or run).

     data State1 = State1 [Int]
     instance State State1 where
       getpos (State1 a) = ...

     data Action1 = Action1 [Bool]
     instance Action Action1 where

I have a function "newstate" to calculate the new state from an old
state and the action. This is the type signature:

     newstate:: (State a,Action b) => a -> b -> a

and my instantiation in phase 1 is

     newstate (State1 s) (Action1 u) = State1 $
          zipWith (\x y -> if y then succ x else x) s u

I want to use polymorphism in newstation because I need use
    newstate (State2 s) (Action2 u)
in the future (phase 2) so I tried include newstate in a typeclass.

But if I write:

  class State a where
    newstate:: (Action b)=> a -> b -> a


  class Action a where
    newstate:: (State b) => b -> a -> b

(and move newstate definition to correct instance block)

I get similar errors in both cases: (this is the first case):

    Couldn't match expected type `b' against inferred type `Action1'
      `b' is a rigid type variable bound by
          the type signature for `newstate' at Tipos.hs:17:24
    In the pattern: Action1 u
    In the definition of `newstate':
        newstate (State1 s) (Action1 u)
                      = State1 $ zipWith (\ x y -> if y then succ x
else x) s u
    In the instance declaration for `State State1'

My questions:

* How can I fix this error?

* the point is associate every instance of Robot with one instance of
State and with one instance of Action. So when I select the Robot I'm
goint to use I get "automagically" the correct instances of newstate and

Is there a pattern to this behaviour?

My ideal is associate every function related with a Robot with a general
typeclass "Robot" (I don't tested this) :

  class Robot a where
    initstate:: (State a) => a
    newstate:: (State a,Action b) => a-> b-> a

And the instance:

  instance Robot Robot1 where
    initstate = State1 [0,0,0]
    newstate (State1 a) (Action1 b) = ...


  instance Robot Robot2 where
    initstate = State2 [(0,0),(1,1),(2,2)] -- i.e.
    newstate (State2 a) (Action2 b) = ...

and so on.

But I think It can't work because neither initstate or newstate use Robot1.

Any tips?

Javier M Mora.

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