Monday, May 24, 2010

Dabbling in incremental folds

    I was playing around coding up programs for Project Euler, when I noticed that I was 1) using an old stand-by function, to add up the digits in a big number; and 2) I was coding it up in a way that echoes up other functions I’ve done, such as the ever-popular “chunk”; 3) I was not coding it up in the semi-unrolled-in-another-dimension form of “map snd . takeWhile (p.fst) . iterate (\(old, pair) -> (new, different pair) $ start” that I also use for that kind of problem, but in the “let (intermediate, pair) = auxiliaryFunction argument in finalProcessing intermediate (recursiveCallOn pair” format. I asked about it on #haskell - hands down, the best resource for help on all things CS-ish EVAR! - when for some reason my brain zigged instead of zagged, and I recalled my Internet “colleague” (make no dispute: the quotes are there because I have no more qualification to be this man’s colleague than I do Stephen Hawking) Sean Leather. Specifically, his blog post  where he speaks writes some more about incremental folds, and like a corny Windows 7 commercial, it hit me: I’ve been writing (and re-writing) incremental folds!

    I find this to be a big deal, if only because I have finally hit the level where instead of just reading about all of these useful high-brain-power techniques, I have caught myself using one - yes! I may not be the sharpest tool in the shed (see: Cletus), but love it all, I Am Trainable!
So, knowing a good thing when I see one, I immediately...well, I immediately got back to doing the day job that I’m really supposed to do, instead of goofing off, then I spent some time playing around on IRC, but that very day, I went back to re-read about incremental folds, and how what I was doing fit all into it. Chalk one up for goofing around on the Internet!

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