Abstract Collections

Daan Leijen daanleijen at xs4all.nl
Mon Mar 29 11:14:54 EST 2004

Hi Robert,

On Fri, 26 Mar 2004 10:31:57 +0100, Robert Will <robertw at stud.tu-ilmenau.de> wrote:
> On Tue, 23 Mar 2004, Daan Leijen wrote:
>> It would help me if you could use Haddock to show the interface in html
>> format (documentation is not necessary for now, just the type signatures
>> would be great).
> I can only do that later, so if noone wants to jump in, you have to wait
> some weaks.  (Alternatively, use 'grep ::' on the code.)

Ha, never thought about "grep", I'll use that for now.

>> Could you maybe also tell something about the relation with Edison? This
>> framework seemed to have the same goals as Dessy?  Why is it not suitable
>> for your purposes?
> Since this comparison is rather spread out in my design documents, here is
> a summary:
> [snip]

Thanks for the extensive clarification. I'll look into some more.

-- Daan.

> First of all, my Collections are a more model-centered while Edison is
> more algorithm-centered.  Okasaki's (good!) choice to have all concrete
> structures implement all operations of a class, does already make this
> difference small, but still Edison centers around algorithms (and data
> structures for use in algorithms), while I center on specifications and
> data structures for use in day-to-day non-algorithmic programming.  A
> discussion of this is found in the material for (imperative) Dessy:
> http://www.stud.tu-ilmenau.de/~robertw/dessy
> Next, I'm using a brand-new algebraic approach with inheritance as
> refinement to specify the collections and to build up the hierarchy.
> Thereby many things become simpler (and more different from the
> List-centered traditional functions).  This is explained at length in
> http://www.stud.tu-ilmenau.de/~robertw/dessy/fun/principles.htm
> As a consequence of that approach, functions that work on all of the
> Collections get a clear (and useful) semantics.  Programmer's won't need
> to learn Sequence.fold, Map.fold, Set.fold, and so on -- they just learn
> to fold (along the right lines).  This is what makes the approach
> challenge the traditional "list" data type and with it large parts of
> current programming (formal derivation) methodology.
> Lastly, the differences in more concrete design decisions, most notably:
>  - I have no unordered structures.
>  - I always view (==) as equality.
> http://www.stud.tu-ilmenau.de/~robertw/dessy/fun/principles.htm#not_here
>> Please be aware that the goal of DData is just to provide a range of
>> generally useful *concrete* data structures.  Currently, JP Bernardy is
>> doing an excellent job of publicly discussing the design and naming
>> schemes to make DData part of the hierarchical libraries.
> Yes, of course, DData is a good (even indespensable) thing.  However, the
> long-term goal of the abstract collections is to make all such autonomous
> libraries obsolete, so there's a natural conflict.  We have to manage a
> smooth transition.
> I think some of JP's changes to DData are already very good steps in that
> transition, notably the view of (==) as equality and the consequent
> removal of bias.  This is another confirmation of my prejudice that people
> in the FP community are much more ready to accept change for The Right
> Thing than "imperative folks".  That's one of the reasons that Functional
> Dessy got out so fast, while the imperative version is older and has still
> not seen the light of the day.  (Another reason is of course, that FP is
> simpler, we have only algebraic Collections, no mutable ones.  Imperative
> Dessy will be the first library that has both...)
>> Are there any important design issues/restrictions that have to be
>> fulfilled to make DData implement some of the collections?
> Simple answer (from my advertising dept.): "To add a new data structure
> one just needs to implement two (in numbers: <b>2</b>) functions and the
> structure will inherit (about) 30 functions and hundreds of other
> polymorhic functions can be used with it."
> But of course you don't just want to implement 'split' and 'unsplit' since
> then most of DData's (optimised) code will not be used.  So there are some
> real compromises to make (hard thinking required).  And since Dessy
> already provides all of DData's algorithms (re-implemented, sharing much
> code with other algorithms) with a Collections-interface, I can't see a
> benefit of such a port at time being.
> I think at the moment the focus should be on collecting more experience
> with the Collections, setting up Design by Contract and a (performance and
> correctness) test framework.  After that we can think about
> implementations.  However, we can already see that the "markets" of DData
> and Dessy are clearly distinct: one optimised for performance (at the
> expense of code duplication) and the other as a tool-box for algorithms
> (with code that longs to be ready by others, e.g. students).  The
> synergetic effect will not only be provided by a common interface, but
> also by exchange of algorithmic ideas and "practical issues of
> optimisation".  Brave new world.  :-)
> Robert
> _______________________________________________
> Libraries mailing list
> Libraries at haskell.org
> http://www.haskell.org/mailman/listinfo/libraries

More information about the Libraries mailing list