[Haskell-cafe] >> and sequencing [newbie]
jeff p
mutjida at gmail.com
Sun Apr 15 20:32:49 EDT 2007
Hello,
On 4/15/07, David Powers <david at grayskies.net> wrote:
> so... this is likely a question based on serious misunderstandings, but can
> anyone help me understand the exact mechanism by which monads enforce
> sequencing?
>
Monads do not enforce sequencing.
In general, data dependencies enforce sequencing (i.e. if expression x
depends upon expression y then expression y will have to be evaluated
first). Consider:
let x = case y of Just y' -> f y'
Nothing -> g
y = some code
in more stuff
Here y must be evaluated before x because x needs to look at y in
order to compute.
> Specifically, I'm confused by the >> operator. If I understand
> things properly f a >> g expands to something like:
>
> f >>= \_ -> g
>
> What I'm missing is how the expansion of f is ever forced under lazy
> evaluation. Since the result is never used, doesn't it just stay as a
> completely unevaluated thunk?
>
(>>=) is an overloaded function. Some instances of it will cause f to
be evaluated, others won't. Consider the State monad:
instance Monad (State s) where
return a = State $ \s -> (a, s)
m >>= k = State $ \s -> case runState m s of
(a, s') -> runState (k a) s'
Note that (>>=) causes m to be evaluated (up to a pair) before
evaluating k because (>>=) needs to look at the result of m.
An example of a monad in which (>>=) doesn't force evaluation of the
first argument before the second is the Identity monad:
instance Monad Identity where
return a = Identity a
m >>= k = k (runIdentity m)
Note that (>>=) actually forces the evaluation of k before m.
-Jeff
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