Here is the latest Caml Weekly News, for the week of November 14 to 21, 2006.
Archive: http://groups.google.com/group/fa.caml/browse_thread/thread/45297eadb617f87f/8f7fc6ee8bd35e01#8f7fc6ee8bd35e01Continuing the thread from last week, Brian asked and Don Syme answered:
> I just did a quick scan of some F# docs and > I saw nothing. What did you have in mind? NET type parameters are extensional, i.e. "you can always find out what 'a is at runtime". In particular in C# you can just write "typeof(T)", and in F# "(type 'a)", in each case getting a System.Type value. Supporting exact runtime types was a design decision we made in the early design stages for .NET generics. As a result all .NET languages that support generics (polymorphism) have extensional polymorphism. It gets used heavily in the kind of meta-activities we're all familiar with: marshalling, pretty-printing, debugging (yes, Visual Studio 2005 shows you the values of "T", except when they've been optimized away). It also gets used internally in some libraries for adhoc optimization purposes, e.g. generating efficient comparison functions for default .NET comparers based on type arguments, and the F# matrix library uses it to detect when generic matrices are really floating point matrices, hence thunking out to more efficient matrix routines. There are downsides to extensional polymorphism (e.g. you can wind up take up extra registers passing type parameters), but they don't seem to bite in practice. At the last ML Workshop a group at Cambridge University recently reported on an experiment to modify core-OCaml to pass runtime types, and IIRC saw no significant performance loss. FWIW if you're interested I'd also like to mention the huge impact OCaml had on the design of .NET generics and C# 2.0, which I've never properly described on this list. It was seeing and experiencing polymorphic programming in OCaml and SML that made us persevere with the long and torturous process of convincing Microsoft that they should add such an "experimental and academic" feature as generics to their flagship runtime and languages. Of course we were in reality just making 1970s ideas work in practice, but at least now even Visual Basic has generics.Brian then asked and Don Syme answered:
[ FWIW let's take discussions about F# off-list, e.g. to hubFS? ] > As a mostly Java programmer now, I have to say I'm a bit > envious. C# generics look a lot better to me than the Java 5 ones. Well, this comparison point certainly helped to persuade Microsoft management to do the feature. :-) > What I didn't notice while looking at the F# docs was a > way to declare a generic function/value, where by "generic" > here I mean in the GCaml/CLOS sense, not the Java/Ada sense. > Is something like that in F#, or planned? Yes and no, though the topic often comes up. Currently, operators are overloaded through a statically-resolved version of Ada-style trait constraints, which works well enough in practice. Haskell-style type classes or the proposed default parameters for Scala are other possible design points. These are a little less compelling when you can't redesign the whole .NET library design to take advantage of the feature, but still potentially worthwhile.
Archive: http://groups.google.com/group/fa.caml/browse_thread/thread/1077d71a99744f2b/bdbaebe1c41241ee#bdbaebe1c41241eePierre-Etienne Meunier asked and Alain Frisch answered:
> According to the source of Ocaml, there's something called the > "cmo_magic_number", systematically written at the beginning of all .cmo > files. Does it have a real function for executing the programs, or is it just > a way to make sure the file contains ocaml bytecode ? It is just a way to make sure that the file contains ocaml bytecode with the expected version. > After that, I can't understand anything : there vaguely seems to be some > information related to linking or so... What is the precise structure of this > part ? Is there some kind of a bytecode assembler ? The structure is a compilation unit descriptor, described in bytecomp/cmo_format.mli.Yann Régis-Gianas added:
The file tools/dumpobj.ml in the O'Caml tree may be used to parse the object file. This should be a first step to understand the bytecode file format.Pierre-Etienne Meunier then asked and Xavier Clerc answered:
> I'd like to write an assembler, to be able to understand how the vm > really > works. I've to work on this for a school project (a compiler, I > want it to > output caml bytecode object files). If you are working on a compiler that should output files to be executed by the ocaml runtime, it does not seem necessary to handle cmo/cmi files as the format of bytecode file should be sufficient to code your compiler. Unless you have to link with ocaml modules. > I've understood that the data part, after the code itself, was > generated using > output_value (I didn't know this function before). This fonction is used by the Marshal module. It transforms any non- abstract value into a chain of bytes. The format of marshalling can be understood from the extern_rec function of the byterun/extern.c file. > What I don't get now are > the cu_reloc, cu_primitives and cu_imports fields of the > compilation_unit > type. You should remember that cmo files are parts that will be put together (linked) in order to create a bytecode file. Given this context : - cu_imports lists the name of imported (used) modules the current cmo should be linked with in order to produce a bytecode file (the digest of the imported modules is also kept to ensure that you link with the same version you compiled against) ; - cu_primitives lists the primitives declared by the current module (each 'external f : type1 -> type2 = "primitive" ' will result in a "primitive" entry of this list), needed to ensure that all required C primitives are provided ; - cu_reloc : as each module is compiled independently, it can declare some elements (e.g. global variables) and use them using a 0- based index ; thus, when you link several modules together, you have to relocate this information to ensure that the first module uses indexes from 0 to n, the second module uses indexes from n+1 to n+m and so on ... Hope this helps, Xavier Clerc PS : I am working on some documents describing marshalling format, bytecode files as well as instruction opcodes. I will hopefully release them before xmas but don't hold your breath as I don't have much spare time these days. In the meantime, you can contact me off-list for any related question.
Archive: http://groups.google.com/group/fa.caml/browse_thread/thread/b43815fc761517b8/06a8cc1798ca4680#06a8cc1798ca4680Jon Harrop asked and Bruno De Fraine answered:
> Can someone point me to, or even knock up, a simple camlp4 macro that > demonstrates naively but statically computing the symbolic > derivative of an > OCaml expression? Since there hasn't been an answer from anyone more knowledgeable, I'm willing to give it a shot. One important part of camlp4 is the quotation system. A quotation allows a user function to describe how a part of the source file is translated into a syntax tree. I load an ocaml toplevel with camlp4 and the standard AST quotations. Since every AST node is associated with a source code location, and the quotations can't find this out by themselves, they require the variable "_loc" (previously "loc") to be defined. Since I'm not concerned with source locations, I define a dummy value. $ ocaml camlp4o.cma q_MLast.cmo Objective Caml version 3.09.2 Camlp4 Parsing version 3.09.2 # let _loc = Token.dummy_loc ;; val _loc : Token.flocation = ... I can then inspect the AST of some simple OCaml expressions using the quotation "expr". As above, I've replaced occurrences of _loc with "..." to keep the output readable: # <:expr< 1 >> ;; - : MLast.expr = MLast.ExInt (...,"1") # <:expr< x+1 >> ;; - : MLast.expr = MLast.ExApp (..., MLast.ExApp (..., MLast.ExLid (..., "+"), MLast.ExLid (..., "x")), MLast.ExInt (..., "1")) To understand this latter AST, note that the expression x+1 is equivalent to ((+) x) 1. This is a good moment to mention that you can employ antiquotations inside quotations to specify parts that you do not want to be translated, but rather interpreted directly. Inside expressions you can antiquote e.g. expressions and literal values: # let i = <:expr< 1 >> in <:expr< $i$ + $i$ >> ;; - : MLast.expr = MLast.ExApp (..., MLast.ExApp (..., MLast.ExLid (..., "+"), MLast.ExInt (..., "1")), MLast.ExInt (..., "1")) # <:expr< $str: Sys.ocaml_version$ >> ;; - : MLast.expr = MLast.ExStr (...,"3.09.2") # <:expr< $int: string_of_int Sys.word_size$ >> ;; - : MLast.expr = MLast.ExInt (...,"32") We can then define our core derivative function as a translation from one expression AST to another: (Note that I choose to make "_loc" an explicit argument to make the function independent from the environment) # let rec deriv _loc x = function | MLast.ExInt (_,_) -> <:expr< 0 >> | MLast.ExLid (_,n) -> let i = if n = x then "1" else "0" in <:expr< $int:i$ >> | MLast.ExApp (_, MLast.ExApp (_, MLast.ExLid (_,"+"), u), v) -> let u' = deriv _loc x u and v' = deriv _loc x v in <:expr< $u'$ + $v'$ >> | MLast.ExApp (_, MLast.ExApp (_, MLast.ExLid (_,"*"), u), v) -> let u' = deriv _loc x u and v' = deriv _loc x v in <:expr< $u'$ * $v$ + $u$ * $v'$ >> | _ -> failwith "Not implemented" ;; val deriv : MLast.loc -> string -> MLast.expr -> MLast.expr = <fun> You can see this already makes correct derivatives, although without algebraic simplification: # deriv _loc "x" <:expr< x*(x+y) >> = <:expr< 1*(x+y) + x*(1+0) >> ;; - : bool = true I compare to the expected result in the above expression because the actual AST expression is hardly readable. However, with a bit of a workaround, it is possible to employ a printer to print an expression AST in a nice form. I came up with: (note that Pcaml is a module that holds references to parsers, printers, etc. set by language extensions) # #load "pr_o.cmo" ;; # let print_expr e = !Pcaml.print_implem [MLast.StExp(_loc,e),_loc] ;; val print_expr : MLast.expr -> unit = <fun> # print_expr (deriv _loc "x" <:expr< x*(x+y) >>) ;; let _ = 1 * (x + y) + x * (1 + 0) - : unit = () Of course, you don't just want the AST of the derivative expression, you also want to evaluate it. One way to do this would be to install the "deriv" transformation function as a quotation through Quotation.add. This requires the name of the quotation as well as how to expand from the source text to a expression/pattern AST: # Quotation.add ;; - : string -> Quotation.expander -> unit = <fun> With file "quotation.mli" defining: type expander = [ ExStr of bool -> string -> string | ExAst of (string -> MLast.expr * string -> MLast.patt) ] ; A difficulty here is that our transformation requires the original expression as an AST while it is provided as a string. So we need to invoke the installed parsing functions first: # let parse_expr s = Grammar.Entry.parse Pcaml.expr_eoi (Stream.of_string s) ;; val parse_expr : string -> MLast.expr = <fun> # Quotation.add "deriv_x" (Quotation.ExAst ( (fun s -> deriv _loc "x" (parse_expr s)), (fun _ -> failwith "Not supported"))) ;; - : unit = () Now we can do: # let x = 2 and y = 3 in <:deriv_x< x*(x+y) >> ;; - : int = 7 Alternatively, we can install our symbolic derivative transformation in the main grammar of the language using the syntax extension for defining extensions: # #load "pa_extend.cmo" ;; # EXTEND Pcaml.expr: LEVEL "expr1" [ [ "deriv_x"; e = Pcaml.expr -> deriv _loc "x" e ] ]; END;; - : unit = () (Note that inside of the action of the grammar rule, the variable "_loc" is bound to the source location of the rule; so we don't employ the dummy location from the environment.) This makes deriv_x a keyword of the language and allows for it to be employed inside of expressions: # let x = 2 and y = 3 in deriv_x x*(x+y) ;; - : int = 7 EPILOGUE When not using the toplevel, you would put the definition of function "deriv" as well as the EXTEND statement in a source file named "pa_deriv.ml" ("pa" because you influence the parsing phase). It can then be compiled as: $ ocamlc -c -pp 'camlp4o q_MLast.cmo pa_extend.cmo' -I +camlp4 pa_deriv.ml (The -pp flag because the syntax uses AST quotations and the EXTEND statement; the -I flag because we refer to types and definitions from module MLast.) To compile a source file that employs the deriv_x keyword, employ the preprocessor with our extension loaded: $ ocamlc -c -pp 'camlp4o ./pa_deriv.cmo' example.ml To inspect the result of preprocessing manually, you load an appropriate printer, e.g.: $ camlp4o ./pa_deriv.cmo pr_o.cmo example.mlYaron Minsky also answered:
There is this. which is done via a functor rather than camlp4... http://wmfarr.blogspot.com/2006/10/automatic-differentiation-in-ocaml.html
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