CS 330 Lecture 19 – Functions and Lists
Today we solve more problems in Haskell together. Along the way we will discover some of the peculiarities of functional programming, like the supremacy of linked lists.
First, an exercise to complete with a neighbor:
- ParallelogramWrite a function
pcompletethat completes a parallelogram. Suppose you are given three points in 2D space. Compute a fourth that when combined with the others yields a paralellogram. Recall this common structure for defining functions:
f p1 p2 = some-expr where l1 = some-expr l2 = some-exprPattern matching is encouraged.
And here are the problems we’ll solve:
- Let’s write a parallelogram completer. Suppose you are given three points. Find a fourth that joins up with the three to yield a parallelogram.
parallelogram (x1, y1) (x2, y2) (x3, y3) = (x, y) where x = (x2 + x3 - x1) y = (y2 + y3 - y1)
- Let’s write a function to generate initials for someone with three names. Not everyone has three names, so this function probably will disenfranchise them. If you are designing a website, consider providing just one textbox for the name. We could write it like this:
initials first middle last = f : m : l :  where f = head first m = head middle l = head lastBut suppose we wanted to force the letters to lowercase.
Data.Char.toLowerto the rescue:
initials first middle last = f : m : l :  where f = toLower (head first) m = toLower (head middle) l = toLower (head last)We used the parentheses to force associativity. Parentheses are not our only option in Haskell. Anytime we have code like
f (expr p1 p2 p3)we can rewrite it as
f $ expr p1 p2 p3Consider this expression, which is a silly way of extracting out the digit in the 10s place:
head (tail (reverse (show 9876)))That’s more parentheses that we might like to write. We can use the
head $ tail $ reverse $ show 9876In the case of
initials, we could write
initials first middle last = f : m : l :  where f = toLower $ head first m = toLower $ head middle l = toLower $ head lastStill, this is a lot of repetition. We’re apply
toLowerin the same way to each letter. If we need to apply the same operation to every element of a collection, what can we do? We have two options. One is called
mapand we will discuss in great detail later. The other way you read about for today: a list comprehension. Let’s bundle the letters up in a list, and then generate a new list from that:
initials first middle last = [toLower c | c <- fml] where f = toLower $ head first m = toLower $ head middle l = toLower $ head last fml = f : m : l : 
- What do you think? Are there more integer numbers than there are even numbers? John Green wrote this in The Fault in Our Stars:
There are infinite numbers between 0 and 1. There’s .1 and .12 and .112 and an infinite collection of others. Of course, there is a bigger infinite set of numbers between 0 and 2, or between 0 and a million. Some infinities are bigger than other infinities. A writer we used to like taught us that. There are days, many of them, when I resent the size of my unbounded set. I want more numbers than I’m likely to get, and God, I want more numbers for Augustus Waters than he got. But, Gus, my love, I cannot tell you how thankful I am for our little infinity. I wouldn’t trade it for the world. You gave me a forever within the numbered days, and I’m grateful.Early 1900s mathematician Georg Cantor said that infinity indeed had levels, but two infinite sets were at the same level if there was a one-to-one mapping between them. Is there a relationship between the integers and the even numbers? If we can write a list comprehension to turn one into the other, than they live in the same level. And we can:
evens upto = [2 * n | n <- [0..upto]]We stick with the positives. Speaking of infinities, we can actually produce infinite things in Haskell:
evens = [2 * n | n <- [0..]]This only works because Haskell doesn’t evaluate most expressions until the value is absolutely needed. It is lazy. We must careful to never need everything. We can use
taketo specify how many evens we need:
take $ evens 100
See you next time!