[Haskell-cafe] Interesting problem from Bird (4.2.13)
R J
rj248842 at hotmail.com
Wed Mar 4 10:07:29 EST 2009
Could someone provide an elegant solution to Bird problem 4.2.13?
Here are the problem and my inelegant solution:
Problem
-------
Since concatenation seems such a basic operation on lists, we can try to construct a data type that captures
concatenation as a primitive.
For example,
data (CatList a) = CatNil
| Wrap a
| Cat (CatList a) (CatList a)
The intention is that CatNil represents [], Wrap x represents [x], and Cat x y represents
x ++ y.
However, since "++" is associative, the expressions "Cat xs (Cat ys zs)" and "Cat (Cat xs ys) zs" should be regarded as equal.
Define appropriate instances of "Eq" and "Ord" for "CatList".
Inelegant Solution
------------------
The following solution works:
instance (Eq a) => Eq (CatList a) where
CatNil == CatNil = True
CatNil == Wrap z = False
CatNil == Cat z w = ( z == CatNil && w == CatNil )
Wrap x == CatNil = False
Wrap x == Wrap z = x == z
Wrap x == Cat z w = ( Wrap x == z && w == CatNil ) ||
( Wrap x == w && z == CatNil )
Cat x y == CatNil = x == CatNil && y == CatNil
Cat x y == Wrap z = ( x == Wrap z && y == CatNil ) ||
( x == CatNil && y == Wrap z )
Cat x y == Cat z w = unwrap (Cat x y) == unwrap (Cat z w)
unwrap :: CatList a -> [a]
unwrap CatNil = []
unwrap (Wrap x) = [x]
unwrap (Cat x y) = unwrap x ++ unwrap y
instance (Eq a, Ord a) => Ord (CatList a) where
x < y = unwrap x < unwrap y
This solution correctly recognizes the equality of the following, including nested lists(represented, for example, by Wrap (Wrap 1), which corresponds to [[1]]):
Wrap 1 == Cat (Wrap 1) CatNil
Cat (Wrap 1) (Cat (Wrap 2) (Wrap 3)) == Cat (Wrap 1) (Cat (Wrap 2) (Wrap 3))
Wrap (Wrap 1) == Wrap (Cat (Wrap 1) CatNil)
Although this solution works, it's a hack, because unwrap converts CatLists to lists. The question clearly seeks a pure solution that does not rely on Haskell's built-in lists.
What's the pure solution that uses cases and recursion on
CatList, not Haskell's built-in lists, to capture the equality of nested CatLists?
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