# [Haskell-cafe] Church vs Boehm-Berarducci encoding of Lists

Jay Sulzberger jays at panix.com
Thu Sep 20 22:00:26 CEST 2012

On Thu, 20 Sep 2012, Jay Sulzberger wrote:

>
>
> On Thu, 20 Sep 2012, oleg at okmij.org wrote:
>
>>
>> Dan Doel wrote:
>>>>> P.S. It is actually possible to write zip function using
>>>>> Boehm-Berarducci
>>>>> encoding:
>>>>>         http://okmij.org/ftp/Algorithms.html#zip-folds
>>>
>>> If you do, you might want to consider not using the above method, as I
>>> seem to recall it doing an undesirable amount of extra work (repeated
>>> O(n) tail).
>> It is correct. The Boehm-Berarducci web page discusses at some extent
>> the general inefficiency of the encoding, the need for repeated
>> reflections and reifications for some (but not all) operations. That
>> is why arithmetic on Church numerals is generally a bad idea.
>>
>> A much better encoding of numerals is what I call P-numerals
>> 	http://okmij.org/ftp/Computation/lambda-calc.html#p-numerals
>> It turns out, I have re-discovered them after Michel Parigot (so my
>> name P-numerals is actually meaningful). Not only they are faster; one
>> can _syntactically_ prove that PRED . SUCC is the identity.
>
> What is the setup that, here, gives the distinction between a
> syntactic proof and some other kind of proof?
>
> oo--JS.

Ah, I have just read the for-any vs for-all part of

http://okmij.org/ftp/Computation/lambda-calc.html#p-numerals

and I think I understand something.

oo--JS.

>
>
>>
>> The general idea of course is Goedel's recursor R.
>>
>>   R b a 0 = a
>>   R b a (Succ n) = b n (R b a n)
>>
>> which easily generalizes to lists. The enclosed code shows the list
>> encoding that has constant-time cons, head, tail and trivially
>> expressible fold and zip.
>>
>>
>> Kim-Ee Yeoh wrote:
>>> So properly speaking, tail and pred for Church-encoded lists and nats
>>> are trial-and-error affairs. But the point is they need not be if we
>>> use B-B encoding, which looks _exactly_ the same, except one gets a
>>> citation link to a systematic procedure.
>>>
>>> So it looks like you're trying to set the record straight on who actually
>>> did what.
>>
>> Exactly. Incidentally, there is more than one way to build a
>> predecessor of Church numerals. Kleene's solution is not the only
>> one. Many years ago I was thinking on this problem and designed a
>> different predecessor:
>>
>> excerpted from http://okmij.org/ftp/Haskell/LC_neg.lhs
>>
>>
>>    One ad hoc way of defining a predecessor of a positive numeral
>> 		    predp cn+1 ==> cn
>>    is to represent "predp cn" as "cn f v"
>>    where f and v are so chosen that (f z) acts as
>> 	    if z == v then c0 else (succ z)
>>    We know that z can be either a numeral cn or a special value v. All
>>    Church numerals have a property that (cn combI) is combI: the identity
>>    combinator is a fixpoint of every numeral. Therefore, ((cn combI) (succ
>>    cn)) reduces to (succ cn). We only need to choose the value v in such
>>    a way that ((v I) (succ v)) yields c0.
>>
>>    > predp = eval \$
>>    >   c ^ c
>>    >        # (z ^ (z # combI # (succ # z)))       -- function f(z)
>>    >        # (a ^ x ^ c0)                         -- value v
>>
>>
>> {-# LANGUAGE Rank2Types #-}
>>
>> -- List represented with R
>>
>> newtype R x = R{unR :: forall w.
>>  -- b
>>  (x -> R x -> w -> w)
>>  -- a
>>  -> w
>>  -- result
>>  -> w}
>>
>> nil :: R x
>> nil = R (\b a -> a)
>>
>> -- constant type
>> cons :: x -> R x -> R x
>> cons x r = R(\b a -> b x r (unR r b a))
>>
>> -- constant time
>> rhead :: R x -> x
>> rhead (R fr) = fr (\x _ _ -> x) (error "head of the empty list")
>>
>> -- constant time
>> rtail :: R x -> R x
>> rtail (R fr) = fr (\_ r _ -> r) (error "tail of the empty list")
>>
>> -- fold
>> rfold :: (x -> w -> w) -> w -> R x -> w
>> rfold f z (R fr) = fr (\x _ w -> f x w) z
>>
>> -- zip is expressed via fold
>> rzipWith :: (x -> y -> z) -> R x -> R y -> R z
>> rzipWith f r1 r2 =  rfold f' z r1 r2
>> where f' x tD = \r2 -> cons (f x (rhead r2)) (tD (rtail r2))
>>       z       = \_  -> nil
>>
>> -- tests
>>
>> toR :: [a] -> R a
>> toR = foldr cons nil
>>
>> toL :: R a -> [a]
>> toL = rfold (:) []
>>
>>
>> l1 = toR [1..10]
>> l2 = toR "abcde"
>>
>>
>> t1 = toL \$ rtail l2
>> -- "bcde"
>>
>> t2 = toL \$ rzipWith (,) l2 l1
>> -- [('a',1),('b',2),('c',3),('d',4),('e',5)]
>>
>
>

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