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3 points by dido 2890 days ago | link | parent

Version 0.0.6 is now released. You can get it here:

https://github.com/downloads/dido/arcueid/arcueid-0.0.6.tar....

Changes in this version include: - Optimization of compose, complement, and andf in a functional position

- Math functions, everything Arc3 has available plus quite a bit more (every math function that C99 defines, including trigonometry, hyperbolic functions, etc.). Most of them work for complex arguments just as well.

- Basic I/O functions (read, write, disp, etc.) cleaned up and implemented. Seems that call-w/stdin and similar had to be implemented like protect, which is annoying, but that had to be how it was done to get them to function in the face of continuations and exceptions.



3 points by rocketnia 2889 days ago | link

"Seems that call-w/stdin and similar had to be implemented like protect, which is annoying, but that had to be how it was done to get them to function in the face of continuations and exceptions."

I, for one, appreciate that you're doing things the way they have to be done, lol.

Any plans to generalize 'call-w/stdout and 'call-w/stdin to 'parameterize? Now that I take a look at http://docs.racket-lang.org/reference/parameters.html, there's one more complication I hope is already on your mind: Threads.

I don't tend to care much about threads myself, but since they're on your roadmap, hopefully you have a good plan for them and the way they interact with 'call-w/std{out,in}. XD

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1 point by dido 2889 days ago | link

If I understand the notion of parameters correctly from yours and Pauan's mention of them (I'd not heard of them before now), they are essentially a way to do dynamic binding in a language like Arc that normally uses static binding. This is in large part exactly what call-w/stdin does with stdin: it sets up a dynamic binding for that function. Apparently, in my attempts at implementing this functionality I've also independently kludged up a special-purpose version of what Racket calls a continuation mark, and obviously doing such a thing bothers me to no end.

Now that I think about it, implementing parameterize might actually not be that difficult, and Pauan's implicit parameters might actually be easier than explicit parameters that have to be applied in order to obtain their values. It would also get rid of the special-purpose "continuation mark" I created to support call-w/std(out|in) and replace it with a more general-purpose structure capable of storing other dynamic bindings as well.

Well, indeed threads are on my mind, but I will keep things simple for now, and make them green threads whose scheduling is controlled entirely by Arcueid's runtime. I had for a time considered using real POSIX or other OS-level threads to be able to take advantage of multiple cores but soon realized that this would introduce quite a bit of complication. Using real threads affects just about every aspect of the implementation. For instance, I am at the moment using an incremental garbage collection algorithm that ought to be amenable to multi-threaded operation in theory but in order to really use it in a multi-threaded context I'd also have to have a good multi-threaded memory allocator, and by the time I'd had a look at all the literature on such algorithms I realized that I was in way over my head.

Green threads simplify matters considerably. This means that call-w/std(out|in) and the more general notion of parameters can be handled without too much trouble. In the plan I have for Arcueid's green threads, a thread is basically a structure that contains everything that the virtual machine needs to run, including all continuations. The only thing directly shared by all threads is the global environment, and then I'd also have to make available a flattened version of the structures I used to store the call-w/std(out|in) bindings from the thread's creator, and the more general dynamic bindings created by parameterize as well.

And no, while Arcueid's main goal is to produce a version of Arc compatible with at least Paul Graham's Arc3.1, I am of course not above introducing improvements and extensions, provided that they do not also break compatibility. I'd like to be able to at least run news.arc unmodified before I release version 1.0.0. :)

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1 point by rocketnia 2888 days ago | link

"Apparently, in my attempts at implementing this functionality I've also independently kludged up a special-purpose version of what Racket calls a continuation mark, and obviously doing such a thing bothers me to no end."

Why? Are you worried your runtime will be exactly like Racket but less mature? When I looked at your call-w/std(out|in) commits, I liked your approach exactly because I noticed it was in the same vein as continuation marks. :-p

As you've noticed with complex numbers, Arc exposes lots of accidental complexity that it inherits from Racket. In fact, speaking of accidents, Arc 3.1 without modification exposes pretty much all of Racket: http://arclanguage.org/item?id=11838

When it comes to threads and parameters, I'd say Arc pretty much specifies nothing and leaves it up to Racket to provide the meaning and implementation. Arc literally defines 'call-w/stdin and 'call-w/stdout in terms of Racket's 'parameterize. If Arcueid doesn't end up with (internal) functionality equivalent to thread cells and continuation marks, there's a good chance it'll have certain corner-case inconsistencies with Arc, even if there aren't enough inconsistencies to break the programs we actually care about.

But even so, I wouldn't worry about it too much. I personally consider Arc to have shoddy support for threads (just exposing a tiny subset of Racket's functionality and imposing a GIL) and also for reentrant continuations (not defining 'dynamic-wind, implementing loops with mutation), so I don't really blame an Arc implementation for being incompatible in these areas. In some cases, full compatibility might be more harmful than not trying!

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"I had for a time considered using real POSIX or other OS-level threads to be able to take advantage of multiple cores but soon realized that this would introduce quite a bit of complication. Using real threads affects just about every aspect of the implementation."

If you want to give an Arc program power to take advantage of those, but you're having trouble with multithreaded allocation, an alternate path might be to have the Arc namespace and most data structures be local to an OS thread but then to have other tools to write and read manually-managed shared memory. I dunno, maybe that's not very inspiring. :-p

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"The only thing directly shared by all threads is the global environment, and then I'd also have to make available a flattened version of the structures I used to store the call-w/std(out|in) bindings from the thread's creator, and the more general dynamic bindings created by parameterize as well."

Er, local scopes and first-class data structures might need to be shared too, right?

  (let foo (list nil nil)
    (for n 1 10
      (thread (push n foo.0) (push n foo.1)))
    (def get-foo ()
      foo))

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3 points by dido 2888 days ago | link

"Why? Are you worried your runtime will be exactly like Racket but less mature?"

Not in the slightest. It just bothered me that I had to embed a special-purpose data structure inside Arcueid's continuations just to support one language feature. Now that I see that there is a natural generalization to this feature, that makes me feel a lot better. :)

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1 point by Pauan 2888 days ago | link

"[...] not defining 'dynamic-wind [...]"

'protect is implemented with 'dynamic-wind, so the only functionality we lose is the ability to specify a pre-thunk. Are there any areas where that would be useful?

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2 points by rocketnia 2888 days ago | link

Dynamic-wind gives us most of the ability to implement parameters ourselves. We just mutate a box upon every entry and exit of the expression. Unfortunately, it might take some crazy trampolining to get the last expression of (parameterize ...) in tail position. I'm not even sure if tail position is possible....

I think the last missing piece is thread-friendliness. In the face of threads, we'd need the box to be thread-local like Racket's parameters. But my point here is just that the pre-thunk is useful for something. ^_^

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1 point by Pauan 2888 days ago | link

"[...] they are essentially a way to do dynamic binding in a language like Arc that normally uses static binding. This is in large part exactly what call-w/stdin does with stdin: it sets up a dynamic binding for that function."

That is correct. In fact, in Arc 3.1, std{in,out,err} are Racket parameters[1], and call-w/std{in,out} use Racket's parameterize. My point was merely that it is useful to provide parameters to Arc programmers so they can define their own parameters beyond just stdin/stdout/stderr.

* [1]: That's why you need to use (stdin), (stdout), and (stderr) rather than stdin, stdout, and stderr.

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"And no, while Arcueid's main goal is to produce a version of Arc compatible with at least Paul Graham's Arc3.1, I am of course not above introducing improvements and extensions, provided that they do not also break compatibility."

Glad to hear it. I would just like to note that any changes whatsoever will break compatibility. For instance, if you provide a "parameterize" form, a library written in Arc might also define a "parameterize" global, etc. My feeling on such things is that there should be a social convention for specifying implementation-specific global variables.

Something like, "if a global variable starts with % it is implementation-defined, so portable Arc libraries shouldn't use or define global variables starting with %".

Then your implementation could provide "%parameterize" to Arc and there would be no problems, because Arc libraries aren't supposed to use variables starting with %, so there's no conflict.

This should be solely a social convention, not enforced by the compiler. I may want to write an Arc library that does use/define implementation-specific globals, while understanding that such a library won't be portable and may break in the future.

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1 point by Pauan 2889 days ago | link

"Any plans to generalize 'call-w/stdout and 'call-w/stdin to 'parameterize?"

As a side note to this, I think it would be very preferable to have a `parameterize` form which `call-w/stdin` and `call-w/stdout` would call. It should behave similarly to Racket's parameterize.

This isn't necessary for an implementation of Arc 3.1, but it's very useful in practice: you could provide a way for users to create their own parameters and then call parameterize on them. This is what ar and Nu do, and it's incredibly convenient, especially when you provide a way to make the parameters implicit[1].

It really does depend on your goals, though. Do you intend for this to be just an implementation of Arc 3.1 and nothing more? Or do you intend to provide convenient features that Arc 3.1 doesn't have? Your work on numerical functions seems to suggest that you're not entirely against extending your Arc runtime to do things that Arc 3.1 doesn't.

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* [1]: By "implicit parameters" I mean parameters that you don't have to call to extract their value. In other words, you can just say `stdin` rather than `(stdin)` for instance.

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