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36 lazy

%--------------------------------------------------%
% vim: ft=mercury ts=4 sw=4 et wm=0 tw=0
%--------------------------------------------------%
% Copyright (C) 1999, 2006, 2009-2010 The University of Melbourne.
% This file may only be copied under the terms of the GNU Library General
% Public License - see the file COPYING.LIB in the Mercury distribution.
%--------------------------------------------------%
%
% lazy.m - provides support for optional explicit lazy evaluation.
%
% Author: fjh, pbone.
% Stability: medium.
%
% This module provides the data type `lazy(T)' and the functions `val',
% `delay', and `force', which can be used to emulate lazy evaluation.
%
% A field within a data structure can be made lazy by wrapping it within a lazy
% type.  Or a lazy data structure can be implemented, for example:
%
% :- type lazy_list(T)
%     --->    lazy_list(
%                 lazy(list_cell(T))
%             ).
%
% :- type list_cell(T)
%     --->    cons(T, lazy_list(T))
%     ;       nil.
%
% Note that this makes every list cell lazy, whereas:
%
%   lazy(list(T))
%
% uses only one thunk for the entire list. And:
%
%   list(lazy(T))
%
% uses one thunk for every element, but the list's structure is not lazy.
%
%--------------------------------------------------%

:- module lazy.
:- interface.

    % A lazy(T) is a value of type T which will only be evaluated on
    % demand.
    %
:- type lazy(T).

    % Convert a value from type T to lazy(T)
    %
:- func val(T) = lazy(T).

    % Construct a lazily-evaluated lazy(T) from a closure
    %
:- func delay((func) = T) = lazy(T).

    % Force the evaluation of a lazy(T), and return the result as type T.
    % Note that if the type T may itself contains subterms of type lazy(T),
    % as is the case when T is a recursive type like the lazy_list(T) type
    % defined in lazy_list.m, those subterms will not be evaluated --
    % force/1 only forces evaluation of the lazy/1 term at the top level.
    %
    % A second call to force will not re-evaluate the lazy expression, it will
    % simply return T.
    %
:- func force(lazy(T)) = T.

    % Get the value of a lazy expression if it has already been made available
    % with force/1 This is useful as it can provide information without
    % incurring (much) cost.
    %
:- impure pred read_if_val(lazy(T)::in, T::out) is semidet.

    % Test lazy values for equality.
    %
:- pred equal_values(lazy(T)::in, lazy(T)::in) is semidet.

:- pred compare_values(comparison_result::uo, lazy(T)::in, lazy(T)::in) is det.

%--------------------------------------------------%
%
% The declarative semantics of the above constructs are given by the
% following equations:
%
%   val(X) = delay((func) = X).
%
%   force(delay(F)) = apply(F).
%
% The operational semantics satisfy the following:
%
% - val/1 and delay/1 both take O(1) time and use O(1) additional space.
%   In particular, delay/1 does not evaluate its argument using apply/1.
%
% - When force/1 is first called for a given term, it uses apply/1 to
%   evaluate the term, and then saves the result computed by destructively
%   modifying its argument; subsequent calls to force/1 on the same term
%   will return the same result.  So the time to evaluate force(X), where
%   X = delay(F), is O(the time to evaluate apply(F)) for the first call,
%   and O(1) time for subsequent calls.
%
% - Equality on values of type lazy(T) is implemented by calling force/1
%   on both arguments and comparing the results.  So if X and Y have type
%   lazy(T), and both X and Y are ground, then the time to evaluate X = Y
%   is O(the time to evaluate (X1 = force(X)) + the time to evaluate
%   (Y1 = force(Y)) + the time to unify X1 and Y1).
%
%--------------------------------------------------%
%--------------------------------------------------%


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