# [swift-evolution] protocol-oriented integers (take 2)

Dave Abrahams dabrahams at apple.com
Sun Jan 15 21:10:38 CST 2017

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Sent from my moss-covered three-handled family gradunza

> On Jan 15, 2017, at 6:46 PM, Jacob Bandes-Storch <jtbandes at gmail.com> wrote:
>
>> On Sun, Jan 15, 2017 at 6:13 PM, Xiaodi Wu via swift-evolution <swift-evolution at swift.org> wrote:
>
>> One example: earlier, it was demonstrated that a genetic lerp would not accommodate vector types. However, it _does_ work fine for any scalar (i.e. field) type; however, with the currently proposed integer protocols, one would constrain it to Arithmetic types, yet the algorithm would be bogus for integers.
>
> I wouldn't say lerp<Int> is bogus (the results aren't wrong), just much less useful.
>
> On the other hand:
>
>     extension Collection where Iterator.Element: Arithmetic {
>         func mean() -> Iterator.Element {
>             return self.reduce(Iterator.Element(), +) / Iterator.Element(count)  // assuming these initializers exist
>         }
>     }
>
> Now [6, 7].mean() returns 6, and that I would call bogus.
>
> Of course, there are some alternative ways to implement this which avoid the issue:
>
> - Implement it only for Iterator.Element: FloatingPoint.
> - Implement it as mean<T: FloatingPoint>() -> T, reducing by { \$0 + T(\$1) } or whatever the appropriate conversion initializer is, or simply converting to floating point once after taking the sum.

You really want this to work for any field, though. Rational numbers, for example, would be excluded by those constraints

>>
>>
>>> On Sun, Jan 15, 2017 at 19:21 Dave Abrahams <dabrahams at apple.com> wrote:
>>>
>>>
>>> on Sun Jan 15 2017, Xiaodi Wu <xiaodi.wu-AT-gmail.com> wrote:
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>> > On Sun, Jan 15, 2017 at 3:27 PM, Dave Abrahams via swift-evolution <
>>>
>>> > swift-evolution at swift.org> wrote:
>>>
>>> >
>>>
>>> >>
>>>
>>> >> on Sun Jan 15 2017, Xiaodi Wu <swift-evolution at swift.org> wrote:
>>>
>>> >>
>>>
>>> >> > There _may_ be value in recognizing the distinction between rings and
>>>
>>> >> > fields, perhaps? Just as the FP protocols make room for people to
>>>
>>> >> implement
>>>
>>> >> > their own decimal FP types, and just as you're trying to make Arithmetic
>>>
>>> >> > accommodate complex numbers, the distinction would allow someone to write
>>>
>>> >> > algorithms generic over rationals and reals (i.e. fields). Being able to
>>>
>>> >> > represent exact fractions isn't so terribly niche, and I think the design
>>>
>>> >> > wouldn't be terribly complicated by its accommodation:
>>>
>>> >> >
>>>
>>> >> > ```
>>>
>>> >> > // rename Arithmetic to Ring
>>>
>>> >> > // it's acceptable to omit `.one` from Ring, though some may call that a
>>>
>>> >> > Pseudoring
>>>
>>> >> > // consider omitting division from Ring and pushing it down to
>>>
>>> >> > BinaryInteger and Field
>>>
>>> >> >
>>>
>>> >> > protocol BinaryInteger : Ring { ... }
>>>
>>> >> >
>>>
>>> >> > protocol Field : Ring {
>>>
>>> >> >   static var one { get }
>>>
>>> >> >   static func / (Self, Self) -> Self
>>>
>>> >> >   static func /= (inout Self, Self)
>>>
>>> >> >   var inverted: Self { get } // default impl: .one / self
>>>
>>> >> > }
>>>
>>> >> >
>>>
>>> >> > protocol FloatingPoint : Field { ... }
>>>
>>> >> > // rational number types and complex number types
>>>
>>> >> > // would also conform to Field
>>>
>>> >> > ```
>>>
>>> >>
>>>
>>> >> What generic algorithms would this enable?
>>>
>>> >
>>>
>>> > For one, anything to do with dividing into equal parts
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>> For example...?
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>> > could be generic over floating point, rational, and even complex
>>>
>>> > numbers, but you probably wouldn't want to include integer types in
>>>
>>> > such an algorithm.
>>>
>>> >
>>>
>>> >> Would they be appropriate
>>>
>>> >> for the standard library (as opposed to some more specialized numerics
>>>
>>> >> library)?
>>>
>>> >>
>>>
>>> >
>>>
>>> > The issue is that it's not terribly ergonomic to relegate `Field` to a
>>>
>>> > specialized library because one cannot retroactively conform
>>>
>>> > `FloatingPoint` to `Field`.
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>> I don't think this is an important enough concern to justify adding
>>>
>>> protocols to the standard library.  The number of types one has to
>>>
>>> individually make conform to Field is probably going to remain small.
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>> Show-me-the-mone^Walgorithms-ly y'rs,
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>> --
>>>
>>> -Dave
>>>
>>
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>> swift-evolution mailing list
>> swift-evolution at swift.org
>> https://lists.swift.org/mailman/listinfo/swift-evolution
>>
>
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