Plainly partible

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What is partible?

Partible types are specific forms of pseudodata (a generalisation of oracle streams) whose values satisfy the following properties:

  • they are all unique: no two values will ever be the same;
  • they are monousal: if it is used, each value can only be used once;
  • their splitting is disjoint: the resulting new values are independent.

Why splittable isn't always enough

Further developments

Since its advent, pseudodata (or aspects thereof) have appeared, or can be recognised in other contexts:

next_name :: name_supply -> tvname
deplete :: name_supply -> name_supply
split :: name_supply -> (name_supply, name_supply)

The crucial point here is the absence of trees - they have been reduced to an implementation detail, oblivious to the users of name_supply values.
  • As previously specified, if pseudodata is used then it remains constant - reusing it doesn't change its value. Lennart Augustsson, Mikael Rittri and Dan Synek take this to an extreme in their functional pearl On generating unique names with their concept implementation for a single-use variant of Hancock's unique-name supply, where each one can only be used once, if at all - from page 4 of 7:
module OneTimeSupplies(
   Name, NameSupply, initialNameSupply, getNameDeplete, splitNameSupply)
   gensym :: a > Int  —— implemented in assembler
   data Name = MkName Int deriving (Eq)
   data NameSupply = MkNameSupply
   initialNameSupply = MkNameSupply
   getNameDeplete s = (MkName(gensym(s)), MkNameSupply)
   splitNameSupply MkNameSupply = (MkNameSupply, MkNameSupply)
In contrast to the HideGensym implementation found on the same page, this monousal strategy completely obviates the need for trees (or other intermediary structured values such as streams).
  • Nobuo Yamashita uses a type reminiscent of pseudodata in his IO-alternative oi package: see the Data.OI.Internal module for the details.

A matter of nomenclature

As mentioned earlier, L'Ecuyer suggests the splitting of random numbers be disjoint. But for entities like unique-name supplies, disjoint splitting is an absolute necessity! To avoid having to repeatedly specify it, an alternate terminology is needed - one which clearly indicates that for some pseudodata types, the "disjointedness" of splitting is mandatory, instead of just being very convenient.

The Partible class

Depending on how it's corresponding partible type is defined, the disjoint splitting of an unused value can either be a pair or list of new values:

part_uniquesupply :: uniquesupply -> (uniquesupply, uniquesupply)
|| or ||
parts_uniquesupply :: uniquesupply -> [uniquesupply]

As each method can be defined using the other:

part_uniquesupply u = (u1, u2) where u1:u2:_ = parts_uniquesupply u
|| or ||
parts_uniquesupply u = u1 : parts_uniquesupply u2 where (u1, u2) = part_uniquesupply u

they can both be overloaded in Haskell using default definitions:

class Partible a where
    part :: a -> (a, a)
    parts :: a -> [a]

     -- Minimal complete definition: part or parts
    part u = case parts u of u1:u2:_ -> (u1, u2)
    parts u = case part u of (u1, u2) -> u1 : parts u2

(Of course if it's more efficient to do so, part and parts can both be defined.)

Ideally, each partible type in Haskell should also satisfy the partible laws.


  • Using State in Haskell as a guide, an encapsulated single-use type can be defined as follows:
{-# LANGUAGE BangPatterns, RankNTypes, UnboxedTuples, MagicHash #-}
module UseOnce(UO, Monomo, part, runUO, useUO, asUO) where
import Prelude(String, Eq(..))
import Prelude((.), ($), (++), error, all)
import Data.Char(isSpace)
import Partible
import Monomo
import GHC.Base(State#, MutVar#)
import GHC.Base(runRW#, newMutVar#, noDuplicate#)
import GHC.Exts(atomicModifyMutVar#)
import GHC.ST(ST(..), STRep)

data UO s               =  UO (UO# s)

instance Partible (UO s) where
    part = partUO

partUO                  :: UO s -> (UO s, UO s)
partUO (UO h)           =  let !(# h1, h2 #) = partUO# h in (UO h1, UO h2)

runUO                   :: (forall s . UO s -> a) -> a
runUO g                 =  let !(# _, r #) = runRW# (useUO# (g . UO)) in r

useUO                   :: (UO s -> a) -> ST s a
useUO g                 =  ST (\s -> useUO# (g . UO) s)

asUO                    :: Monomo a => String -> ST s a -> UO s -> a
asUO name (ST act) (UO h)
                        =  asUO# name act h

 -- local definitions --
type UO# s              =  String -> State# s

partUO#                 :: UO# s -> (# UO# s, UO# s #)
partUO# h               =  let !s            = h "partUO"
                               !(# s', h1 #) = dispense# s
                               !(# _,  h2 #) = dispense# s'
                           in  (# h1, h2 #)

useUO#                  :: (UO# s -> a) -> STRep s a
useUO# g s              =  let !(# s', h #) = dispense# s
                               !r           = g h
                           in  (# s', r #)

dispense#               :: STRep s (UO# s)
dispense# s             =  let !(# s', r #) = newMutVar# () s
                           in  (# s', expire# s' r #)

expire#                 :: State# s -> MutVar# s () -> String -> State# s
expire# s r name        =  let !(# s', () #) = atomicModifyMutVar# r use s
                           in  s'
                               use x   =  (error nowUsed, x)
                               nowUsed =  name' ++ ": already expired"
                               name'   =  if all isSpace name then "(unknown)"
                                          else name

asUO#                   :: Monomo a => String -> STRep s a -> UO# s -> a
asUO# name act h        =  let !(# _, t #) = act (noDuplicate# (h name)) in t
Some notes:
  • the elementary reuse-error reporting is optional;
  • the use of Monomo in asUO leverage Haskell's type system to provide an extra measure of safety, by restricting any type-polymorphism in the result: for more information, look into the history of Standard ML.
  • Defining a partible variant of Yamashita's single-use type then only requires a suitable argument:
{-# LANGUAGE CPP, UnboxedTuples, MagicHash #-}
#define FauxWorld RealWorld
module OutputInput(OI, Monomo, part, runOI, invokes) where
import UseOnce
import GHC.Base(IO(..), FauxWorld)
import GHC.ST(ST(..))

type OI                 =  UO FauxWorld

runOI                   :: (OI -> a) -> IO a
runOI g                 =  case (useUO g) of ST m -> IO m

invokes                 :: Monomo a => String -> IO a -> OI -> a
(name `invokes` IO act) u
                        =  asUO name (ST act) u
data Fresh a = forall s . Fresh (UO s -> a) (UO s)

instance Partible (Fresh a) where
    parts (Fresh g u) = [ Fresh g v | v <- parts u ]

afresh :: (UO s -> a) -> UO s -> Fresh a
afresh g u = Fresh g u

fresh :: Fresh a -> [a]
fresh (Fresh g u) = [ g v | v <- parts u ]

instance Functor Fresh where
    fmap f (Fresh g u) = Fresh (f . g) u

runFresh :: (forall a. Eq a => Fresh a -> b) -> b
runFresh f =  f (runUO (freshNew (\n -> n)))

freshNew :: (Int -> a) -> UO s -> Fresh a
freshNew conv u = let !(u1, u2) = partUO u
                      uvar      = asUO "uvar" (newSTRef 0) u1
                      incr n    = (n + 1, n)
                      gensym    = asUO "gensym" (atomicModifySTRef uvar incr)
                  in  Fresh (conv . gensym) u2

 -- NB: may also need to define atomicModifySTRef; check your Haskell implementation
  • Another possible abstract partible type is the generic exception-thrower:
data Throw e

instance Partible (Throw e) where
    part = partThrow

partThrow :: Throw e -> (Throw e, Throw e)
curb  :: (Throw e -> a) -> (e -> OI -> a) -> OI -> a
catch :: (Throw e -> a) -> (e -> Throw e -> a) -> Throw e -> a
throw :: e -> Throw e -> a
  • Instances for various standard Haskell types are also a simple matter:
instance (Ix a, Partible b) => Partible (Array a b) where
    part arr = case unzip (map part' (assocs arr)) of
                 (al1, al2) -> (new al1, new al2)
                   new          = array (bounds arr)
                   part' (i, u) = case part u of
                                    (u1, u2) -> ((i, u1), (i, u2))

instance (Partible a, Partible b) => Partible (Either a b) where
    parts (Left u)  = map Left (parts u)
    parts (Right v) = map Right (parts v)

instance (Partible a, Partible b) => Partible (a, b) where
    parts (u, v) = zip (parts u) (parts v)

instance (Partible a, Partible b, Partible c) => Partible (a, b, c) where
    parts (u, v, w) = zip3 (parts u) (parts v) (parts w)

instance (Partible a, Partible b, Partible c, Partible d) => Partible (a, b, c, d) where
    parts (u, v, w, x) = zip4 (parts u) (parts v) (parts w) (parts x)

instance (Partible a, Partible b, Partible c, Partible d, Partible e) => Partible (a, b, c, d, e) where
    parts (u, v, w, x, y) = zip5 (parts u) (parts v) (parts w) (parts x) (parts y)

 -- etc.

No list or Maybe instances

The unit type () is clearly not partible, because of its single value:

-- instance Partible () where part () = ((), ())  {- WRONG! -}

Therefore, because of their void values:

  • [] :: [a]
  • Nothing :: Maybe a

instances for for the list or Maybe types are at best dubious:

instance Partible a => Partible [a] where
   part [] = ([], [])  -- !?
instance Partible a => Partible (Maybe a) where
   part Nothing = (Nothing, Nothing)  -- ?!

An alternative is to repurpose their non-void values to form a new type e.g:

data Some a = Only a | More a (Some a)

instance Partible a => Partible (Some a) where
    parts (Only u)    = map Only (parts u)
    parts (More u us) = zipWith More (parts u) (parts us)