[Haskell-cafe] memorize function with number parameterized types in GHC

wren ng thornton wren at freegeek.org
Mon Nov 7 00:05:49 CET 2011

On 11/6/11 10:51 AM, Bin Jin wrote:
> Yes, but I think it's not a funtion since the function didn't use the
> parameter. So maybe there is a way to make memorizing possible.

In general, if the argument is not used then

     \x -> E

is equal to

     let e = E in \x -> e

Which we can make strict by adding a bang-pattern or a seq

     let !e = E in \x -> e
     let e = E in e `seq` \x -> e

The strictness isn't always necessary, but it helps to ensure that GHC 
doesn't get rid of the let-binding which would take us back to the 
original (\x -> E). Now, if we use this as the definition of the 
function, it'll ensure that the computation of E is done as a CAF and 
hence is memoized (since laziness is call-by-name + memoization).

This trick can be generalized to any function of which parts of it are 
constant in some subset of parameters. That is, if we have

     \x y z -> E (F (G H x) y) z

then this can be converted into

     let !h = H in
     \x ->
     let !g = G h x in
     \y ->
     let !f = F g y in
     \z ->
     E f z

Now, whenever we want to use this function we pass in as many arguments 
as we are holding fixed, and force the resulting function in order to 
memoize the initial computations. For example, if the above function is 
called foo, then we could use it like:

     forM xs $ \x -> do
         let !foo_x = foo x
         forM ys $ \y -> do
             let !foo_x_y = foo_x y
             forM zs $ \z -> do
                 let !foo_x_y_z = foo_x_y z

In this example we're performing loop invariant code motion, but doing 
so dynamically in order to maintain a separation between the definition 
of foo and its use.

Live well,

More information about the Haskell-Cafe mailing list