# Proposal: fix Enum Double instance

John Lato jwlato at gmail.com
Mon Jul 8 02:09:14 CEST 2013

```+1 from me, and +1 for exposing enumFromStepTo.  Like many others, the
current behavior has always bothered me.

On Fri, Jul 5, 2013 at 9:50 PM, Twan van Laarhoven <twanvl at gmail.com> wrote:

> Hello All,
>
>
> I would like to make a counterproposal in the Enum Double debate: Instead
> of deprecating or removing the instances, how about just fixing them?
>
> A perfect instance for Enum Double is not possible, because arithmetic is
> inexact. But you can actually get awfully close. I.e. instead of allowing
> the final value to be at most step/2 past the end, we can allow it to be at
> most about 2e-16*step past the end. In many practical applications this is
> close enough to not be a problem.
>
>
>
> Now for some more detail on the design:
>
> * First of all, Haskell's enumFromThenTo is stupid, because calculating
> step=then-from destroys numerical accuracy. So I will focus on implementing
> a function enumFromStepTo. You can still implement enumFromThenTo on top of
> it. But it might also make sense to expose enumFromStepTo.
>
> * It is possible to write an exact instance for Rational. It is IMO
> unacceptable that Haskell currently does not use this correct instance. I
> will use this Rational instance as a baseline for comparison.
>
>     instance EnumFromStepTo Rational where
>       enumFromStepTo f s t
>         | s >= 0 && f <= t = f : enumFromStepTo (f + s) s t
>         | s <  0 && f >= t = f : enumFromStepTo (f + s) s t
>         | otherwise = []
>
> * Writing a loop naively, by recursing with from' = from+step will result
> in accumulating the error of the addition. On the other hand, Doubles can
> represent integer numbers exactly up to 2^53, so it is better to use values
> from+i*step.
>
> * Assume for simplicity that step>0. The stopping condition will then be
> of the form  from+i*step-to > 0. When this quantity is 0 then the final
> value should be included, otherwise it shouldn't be.
>
> * Now for an error analysis. Assume that we start with
>    f,s,t :: Rational
>   and call
>    let f' = fromRational f
>    let s' = fromRational s
>    let t' = fromRational t
>    enumFromThenTo f' s' t'
>
>  The fromRational function rounds a rational number to the nearest
> representable Double. The relative error in f' is therefore bounded by abs
> (f-f') ≤ ε * abs f, where ε is the half the maximum distance between two
> adjacent doubles, which is about 1.11e-16. similarly for s' and t'. the
> result of an addition or multiplication operation will also be rounded to
> the nearest representable Double.
>
>  So, the total error in our stopping condition is bounded by
>  err(f+i*s-t)
>    ≤ ε * abs f             -- representing f
>    + ε * i * abs s         -- representing s, amplified by i
>    + ε * i * abs s         -- error in calculating (*), i * s
>    + ε * abs (f + i*s)     -- error in calculating (+), f + (i*s)
>    + ε * abs t             -- representing t
>    + ε * abs (f + i*s - t) -- error in calculating (-)
>
>  Note that the last term of the bound is the thing we are bounding. So we
> can handle that by picking a slightly larger epsilon, eps = ε/(1-ε).
>
>  This leads to the following implementation of enumFromStepTo:
>
>     enumFromStepToEps eps !f !s !t = go 0
>       where
>       go i
>         | s >= 0 && x <= t = x : go (i+1)
>         | s <  0 && x >= t = x : go (i+1)
>         | abs (x - t) < eps * bound = [x]
>         | otherwise = []
>         where
>         x = f + i * s
>         bound = abs f + 2 * abs (i * s) + abs t + abs x
>
>   with eps = 1.12e-16 :: Double
>   or   eps = 5.97e-8 :: Float
>
> I have done extensive experiments with this implementation and many
> variants, and I believe it will work in all cases.
>
> Now for enumFromTo, i.e. step=1 we could make a special case, since we
> know that step is exactly equal to 1, so there is no representation error.
> We could get rid of the multiplication, and replace i*s by 0 in the error
> calculation.
>
> Another issue that remains is enumFromThenTo. If we take
>   step = then - from
> then the relative error in step is bounded by
>   |step' - step| ≤ ε * (|then| + |from| + |then - from|).
> This error gets multiplied by i, so it can unfortunately become quite
> large.
>
> I think it would be best if we use the more general
>
>     enumFromStepToEps' !eps !f !s !sErr !t = go 0
>       where
>       go i
>         | s >= 0 && x <= t = x : go (i+1)
>         | s <  0 && x >= t = x : go (i+1)
>         | abs (x - t) < eps * bound = [x]
>         | otherwise = []
>         where
>         x = f + i * s
>         bound = abs f + abs (i * s) + abs (i * sErr) + abs t + abs x
>
>    enumFromStepTo f s t = enumFromStepToEps' eps f s s t
>    enumFromTo     f   t = enumFromStepToEps' eps f 1 0 t
>    enumFromThenTo f h t = enumFromStepToEps' eps f (h - f)
>                               (abs h + abs f + abs (h - f)) t
>
>
> I have also looked at what other language implementations do. So far I
> have found that:
>  * Octave uses a similar method, with the bound
>      3 * double_epsilon * max (abs x) (abs t),
>    which is less tight than my bound.
>    see http://hg.savannah.gnu.org/**hgweb/octave/file/**
> 787de2f144d9/liboctave/array/**Range.cc#l525<http://hg.savannah.gnu.org/hgweb/octave/file/787de2f144d9/liboctave/array/Range.cc#l525>
>
>  * numpy just uses an array with length ceil((to-from)/step)
>    see https://github.com/numpy/**numpy/blob/master/numpy/core/**
> src/multiarray/ctors.c#L2742<https://github.com/numpy/numpy/blob/master/numpy/core/src/multiarray/ctors.c#L2742>
>    It therefore suffers from numerical inaccuracies:
>    \$ python
>    >>> from numpy import arange
>    >>> notone = 9/7. - 1/7. - 1/7.
>    >>> notone
>    1.0000000000000002
>    >>> len(arange(1,1))
>    0
>    >>> len(arange(1,notone))
>    1
>
>
> In summary:
>  * change Enum Rational to the always correct implementation
>  * change Enum Double and Enum Float to the almost-always correct
> implementation propose above.
>  * (optional) expose the enumFromStepTo function.
>
>
>
> Twan
>
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