Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Random Functional/Math Readings

an optimization technique used primarily to speed up computer programs by having function calls avoid repeating the calculation of results for previously-processed inputs.


= Self-balancing Binary Search Tree


Type arithmetic (or type-level computation) are calculations on the type-level, often implemented in Haskell using functional dependencies to represent functions.
 data Zero
 data Succ a
 class Add a b ab | a b -> ab, a ab -> b
 instance Add Zero b b
 instance (Add a b ab) => Add (Succ a) b (Succ ab)

Functional dependencies are used to constrain the parameters of type classes

Peano numbers are a simple way of representing the natural numbers using only a zero value and a successor function.

The Curry–Howard correspondence is the direct relationship between computer programs and proofs in programming language theory and proof theory. Also known as Curry–Howard isomorphism, proofs-as-programs correspondence and formulae-as-types correspondence, it is a generalization of a syntactic analogy between systems of formal logic and computational calculi that was first discovered by the American mathematician Haskell Curry and logician William Alvin Howard.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Big-O Comparison


Here is a table of typical cases, showing how many "operations" would be performed for various values of N. Logarithms to base 2 (as used here) are proportional to logarithms in other base, so this doesn't affect the big-oh formula.

nO(1) O(log N) O(N) O(N log N) O(N2) O(N3)


Here is a table of typical cases.

Type of SearchBig-OhComments
Linear search array/ArrayList/LinkedList O(N)
Binary search sorted array/ArrayList O(log N) Requires sorted data.
Search balanced treeO(log N)
Search hash table O(1)

access front O(1) O(1)
access back O(1) O(1)
access middle O(1) O(N)
insert at front O(N) O(1)
insert at back O(1) O(1)
insert in middleO(N) O(1)

Sorting arrays/ArrayLists

Some sorting algorithms show variability in their Big-Oh performance. It is therefore interesting to look at their best, worst, and average performance. For this description "average" is applied to uniformly distributed values. The distribution of real values for any given application may be important in selecting a particular algorithm.
Type of SortBestWorstAverageComments
BubbleSort O(N) O(N2)O(N2) Not a good sort, except with ideal data.
Selection sortO(N2)O(N2)O(N2) Perhaps best of O(N2) sorts
QuickSort O(N log N) O(N2)O(N log N) Good, but it worst case is O(N2)
HeapSort O(N log N)O(N log N)O(N log N) Typically slower than QuickSort, but worst case is much better.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011



it is clearer to write
let fn = f . g . h
than to write
let fn x = f (g (h x))

The term originated in topology, a branch of mathematics which works with spaces composed of points, and functions between those spaces. So a 'points-free' definition of a function is one which does not explicitly mention the points (values) of the space on which the function acts. In Haskell, our 'space' is some type, and 'points' are values.

This style is particularly useful when deriving efficient programs by calculation and, in general, constitutes good discipline. It helps the writer (and reader) think about composing functions (high level), rather than shuffling data (low level).
It is a common experience when rewriting expressions in pointfree style to derive more compact, clearer versions of the code -- explicit points often obscure the underlying algorithm.

Point-free style can (clearly) lead to Obfuscation when used unwisely. As higher-order functions are chained together, it can become harder to mentally infer the types of expressions. The mental cues to an expression's type (explicit function arguments, and the number of arguments) go missing.
Point-free style often times leads to code which is difficult to modify. A function written in a pointfree style may have to be radically changed to make minor changes in functionality. This is because the function becomes more complicated than a composition of lambdas and other functions, and compositions must be changed to application for a pointful function.
Perhaps these are why pointfree style is sometimes (often?) referred to as pointless style.

eta conversion


eta conversion (also written η-conversion) is adding or dropping of abstraction over a function. For
example, the following two values are equivalent under η-conversion:
\x -> abs x
Converting from the first to the second would constitute an eta reduction, and moving from the second to the first would be an eta abstraction.