8.9. Exercises

Solutions to exercises are available to students in Cornell’s CS 3110. Instructors at other institutions are welcome to contact Michael Clarkson for access.


Exercise: hash insert [★★]

Suppose we have a hash table on integer keys. The table currently has 7 empty buckets, and the hash function is simply let hash k = k mod 7. Draw the hash table that results from inserting the keys 4, 8, 15, 16, 23, and 42 (with whatever values you like).


Exercise: relax bucket RI [★★]

We required that hash table buckets must not contain duplicates. What would happen if we relaxed this RI to allow duplicates? Would the efficiency of any operations (insert, find, or remove) change?


Exercise: strengthen bucket RI [★★]

What would happen if we strengthened the bucket RI to require each bucket to be sorted by the key? Would the efficiency of any operations (insert, find, or remove) change?


Exercise: hash values [★★]

Use Hashtbl.hash : 'a -> int to hash several values of different types. Make sure to try at least (), false, true, 0, 1, “”, and []`, as well as several “larger” values of each type. We saw that lists quickly can create collisions. Try creating binary trees and finding a collision.□


Exercise: hashtbl usage [★★]

Create a hash table tab with Hashtbl.create whose initial size is 16. Add 31 bindings to it with Hashtbl.add. For example, you could add the numbers 1..31 as keys and the strings “1”..”31” as their values. Use Hashtbl.find to look for keys that are in tab, as well as keys that are not.


Exercise: hashtbl stats [★]

Use the Hashtbl.stats function to find out the statistics of tab (from an exercise above). How many buckets are in the table? How many buckets have a single binding in them?


Exercise: hashtbl bindings [★★]

Define a function bindings : ('a,'b) Hashtbl.t -> ('a*'b) list, such that bindings h returns a list of all bindings in h. Use your function to see all the bindings in tab (from an exercise above). Hint: fold.


Exercise: hashtbl load factor [★★]

Define a function load_factor : ('a,'b) Hashtbl.t -> float, such that load_factor h is the load factor of h. What is the load factor of tab? Hint: stats.

Add one more binding to tab. Do the stats or load factor change? Now add yet another binding. Now do the stats or load factor change? Hint: Hashtbl resizes when the load factor goes strictly above 2.


Exercise: functorial interface [★★★]

Use the functorial interface (i.e., Hashtbl.Make) to create a hash table whose keys are strings that are case insensitive. Be careful to obey the specification of Hashtbl.HashedType.hash:

If two keys are equal according to equal, then they have identical hash values as computed by hash.


Exercise: equals and hash [★★]

The previous exercise quoted the specification of Hashtbl.HashedType.hash. Compare that to Java’s Object.hashCode() specification. Why do they both have this similar requirement?


Exercise: bad hash [★★]

Use the functorial interface to create a hash table with a really bad hash function (e.g., a constant function). Use the stats function to see how bad the bucket distribution becomes.


Exercise: linear probing [★★★★]

We briefly mentioned probing as an alternative to chaining. Probing can be effectively used in hardware implementations of hash tables, as well as in databases. With probing, every bucket contains exactly one binding. In case of a collision, we search forward through the array, as described below.

Your task: Implement a hash table that uses linear probing. The details are below.

Find. Suppose we are trying to find a binding in the table. We hash the binding’s key and look in the appropriate bucket. If there is already a different key in that bucket, we start searching forward through the array at the next bucket, then the next bucket, and so forth, wrapping back around to the beginning of the array if necessary. Eventually we will either

  • find an empty bucket, in which case the key we’re searching for is not bound in the table;

  • find the key before we reach an empty bucket, in which case we can return the value; or

  • never find the key or an empty bucket, instead wrapping back around to the original bucket, in which case all buckets are full and the key is not bound in the table. This case actually should never occur, because we won’t allow the load factor to get high enough for all buckets to be filled.

Insert. Insertion follows the same algorithm as finding a key, except that whenever we first find an empty bucket, we can insert the binding there.

Remove. Removal is more difficult. Once the key is found, we can’t just make the bucket empty, because that would affect future searches by causing them to stop early. Instead, we can introduce a special “deleted” value into that bucket to indicate that the bucket does not contain a binding but the searches should not stop at it.

Resizing. Since we never want the array to become completely full, we can keep the load factor near 1/4. When the load factor exceeds 1/2, we can double the array, bringing the load factor back to 1/4. When the load factor goes below 1/8, we can half the array, again bringing the load factor back to 1/4. “Deleted” bindings complicate the definition of load factor:

  • When determining whether to double the table size, we calculate the load factor as (# of bindings + # of deleted bindings) / (# of buckets). That is, deleted bindings contribute toward increasing the load factor.

  • When determining whether the half the table size, we calculate the load factor as (# of bindings) / (# buckets). That is, deleted bindings do not count toward increasing the load factor.

When rehashing the table, deleted bindings are of course not re-inserted into the new table.


Exercise: functorized BST [★★★]

Our implementation of BSTs assumed that it was okay to compare values using the built-in comparison operators <, =, and >. But what if the client wanted to use their own comparison operators? (e.g., to ignore case in strings, or to have sets of records where only a single field of the record was used for ordering.) Implement a BstSet abstraction as a functor parameterized on a structure that enables client-provided comparison operator(s), much like the standard library Set.


Exercise: efficient traversal [★★★]

Suppose you wanted to convert a tree to a list. You’d have to put the values stored in the tree in some order. Here are three ways of doing that:

  • preorder: each node’s value appears in the list before the values of its left then right subtrees.

  • inorder: the values of the left subtree appear, then the value at the node, then the values of the right subtree.

  • postorder: the values of a node’s left then right subtrees appear, followed by the value at the node.

Here is code that implements those traversals, along with some example applications:

type 'a tree = Leaf | Node of 'a tree * 'a * 'a tree

let rec preorder = function
  | Leaf -> []
  | Node (l,v,r) -> [v] @ preorder l @ preorder r

let rec inorder = function
  | Leaf -> []
  | Node (l,v,r) ->  inorder l @ [v] @ inorder r

let rec postorder = function
  | Leaf -> []
  | Node (l,v,r) ->  postorder l @ postorder r @ [v]

let t =
  Node(Node(Node(Leaf, 1, Leaf), 2, Node(Leaf, 3, Leaf)),
       4,
       Node(Node(Leaf, 5, Leaf), 6, Node(Leaf, 7, Leaf)))

(*
  t is
        4
      /   \
     2     6
    / \   / \
   1   3 5   7
*)

let () = assert (preorder t  = [4;2;1;3;6;5;7])
let () = assert (inorder t   = [1;2;3;4;5;6;7])
let () = assert (postorder t = [1;3;2;5;7;6;4])

On unbalanced trees, the traversal functions above require quadratic worst-case time (in the number of nodes), because of the @ operator. Re-implement the functions without @, and instead using ::, such that they perform exactly one cons per Node in the tree. Thus the worst-case execution time will be linear. You will need to add an additional accumulator argument to each function, much like with tail recursion. (But your implementations won’t actually be tail recursive.)


Exercise: RB draw complete [★★]

Draw the perfect binary tree on the values 1, 2, …, 15. Color the nodes in three different ways such that (i) each way is a red-black tree (i.e., satisfies the red-black invariants), and (ii) the three ways create trees with black heights of 2, 3, and 4, respectively. Recall that the black height of a tree is the maximum number of black nodes along any path from its root to a leaf.


Exercise: RB draw insert [★★]

Draw the red-black tree that results from inserting the characters D A T A S T R U C T U R E into an empty tree. Carry out the insertion algorithm yourself by hand, then check your work with the implementation provided in the book.


Exercise: standard library set [★★]

Read the source code of the standard library Set module. Find the representation invariant for the balanced trees that it uses. Which kind of tree does it most resemble: 2-3, AVL, or red-black?


Exercise: pow2 [★★]

Using this type:

type 'a sequence = Cons of 'a * (unit -> 'a sequence)

Define a value pow2 : int sequence whose elements are the powers of two: <1; 2; 4; 8; 16, ...>.


Exercise: more sequences [★★]

Define the following sequences:

  • the even naturals

  • the lower-case alphabet on endless repeat: a, b, c, …, z, a, b, …

  • unending pseudorandom coin flips (e.g., booleans or a variant with Heads and Tails constructors)


Exercise: nth [★★]

Define a function nth : 'a sequence -> int -> 'a, such that nth s n the element at zero-based position n in sequence s. For example, nth pow2 0 = 1, and nth pow2 4 = 16.


Exercise: hd tl [★★]

Explain how each of the following sequence expressions is evaluated:

  • hd nats

  • tl nats

  • hd (tl nats)

  • tl (tl nats)

  • hd (tl (tl nats))


Exercise: filter [★★★]

Define a function filter : ('a -> bool) -> 'a sequence -> 'a sequence, such that filter p s is the sub-sequence of s whose elements satisfy the predicate p. For example, filter (fun n -> n mod 2 = 0) nats would be the sequence <0; 2; 4; 6; 8; 10; ...>. If there is no element of s that satisfies p, then filter p s does not terminate.


Exercise: interleave [★★★]

Define a function interleave : 'a sequence -> 'a sequence -> 'a sequence, such that interleave <a1; a2; a3; ...> <b1; b2; b3; ...> is the sequence <a1; b1; a2; b2; a3; b3; ...>. For example, interleave nats pow2 would be <0; 1; 1; 2; 2; 4; 3; 8; ...>


Exercise: sift [★★★]

The Sieve of Eratosthenes is a way of computing the prime numbers.

  • Start with the sequence <2; 3; 4; 5; 6; ...>.

  • Take 2 as prime. Delete all multiples of 2, since they cannot be prime. That leaves <3; 5; 7; 9; 11; ...>.

  • Take 3 as prime and delete its multiples. That leaves <5; 7; 11; 13; 17; ...>.

  • Take 5 as prime, etc.

Define a function sift : int -> int sequence -> int sequence, such that sift n s removes all multiples of n from s. Hint: filter.


Exercise: primes [★★★]

Define a sequence prime : int sequence, containing all the prime numbers starting with 2.


Exercise: approximately e [★★★★]

The exponential function \(e^x\) can be computed by the following infinite sum:

\[ e^x = \frac{x^0}{0!} + \frac{x^1}{1!} + \frac{x^2}{2!} + \frac{x^3}{3!} + \cdots + \frac{x^k}{k!} + \cdots \]

Define a function e_terms : float -> float sequence. Element k of the sequence should be term k from the infinite sum. For example, e_terms 1.0 is the sequence <1.0; 1.0; 0.5; 0.1666...; 0.041666...; ...>. The easy way to compute that involves a function that computes \(f(k) = \frac{x^k}{k!}\).

Define a function total : float sequence -> float sequence, such that total <a; b; c; ...> is a running total of the input elements, i.e., <a; a+.b; a+.b+.c; ...>.

Define a function within : float -> float sequence -> float, such that within eps s is the first element of s for which the absolute difference between that element and the element before it is strictly less than eps. If there is no such element, within is permitted not to terminate (i.e., go into an “infinite loop”). As a precondition, the tolerance eps must be strictly positive. For example, within 0.1 <1.0; 2.0; 2.5; 2.75; 2.875; 2.9375; 2.96875; ...> is 2.9375.

Finally, define a function e : float -> float -> float such that e x eps is \(e^x\) computed to within a tolerance of eps, which must be strictly positive. Note that there is an interesting boundary case where x=1.0 for the first two terms of the sum; you could choose to drop the first term (which is always 1.0) from the sequence before using within.


Exercise: better e [★★★★]

Although the idea for computing \(e^x\) above through the summation of an infinite series is good, the exact algorithm suggested above could be improved. For example, computing the 20th term in the sequence leads to a very large numerator and denominator if \(x\) is large. Investigate that behavior, comparing it to the built-in function exp : float -> float. Find a better way to structure the computation to improve the approximations you obtain. Hint: what if when computing term \(k\) you already had term \(k-1\)? Then you could just do a single multiplication and division.

Also, you could improve the test that within uses to determine whether two values are close. A good one for determining whether \(a\) and \(b\) are close might be:

\[ \frac{|a - b|}{\frac{|a| + |b|}{2} + 1} < \epsilon. \]

Exercise: different sequence rep [★★★]

Consider this alternative representation of sequences:

type 'a sequence = Cons of (unit -> 'a * 'a sequence)

How would you code up hd : 'a sequence -> 'a, tl : 'a sequence -> 'a sequence, nats : int sequence, and map : ('a -> 'b) -> 'a sequence -> 'b sequence for it? Explain how this representation is even lazier than our original representation.


Exercise: lazy hello [★]

Define a value of type unit Lazy.t (which is synonymous with unit lazy_t), such that forcing that value with Lazy.force causes "Hello lazy world" to be printed. If you force it again, the string should not be printed.


Exercise: lazy and [★★]

Define a function (&&&) : bool Lazy.t -> bool Lazy.t -> bool. It should behave like a short circuit Boolean AND. That is, lb1 &&& lb2 should first force lb1. If it is false, the function should return false. Otherwise, it should force lb2 and return its value.


Exercise: lazy sequence [★★★]

Implement map and filter for the 'a lazysequence type provided in the section on laziness.


Exercise: promise and resolve [★★]

Use the finished version of the Promise module we developed to do the following: create a integer promise and resolver, bind a function on the promise to print the contents of the promise, then resolve the promise. Only after the promise is resolved should the printing occur.


Exercise: promise and resolve lwt [★★]

Repeat the above exercise, but use the Lwt library instead of our own Promise library. Make sure to use Lwt’s I/O functions (e.g., Lwt_io.printf).


Exercise: timing challenge 1 [★★]

Here is a function that produces a time delay. We can use it to simulate an I/O call that takes a long time to complete.

(** [delay s] is a promise that resolves after about [s] seconds. *)
let delay (sec : float) : unit Lwt.t =
  Lwt_unix.sleep sec

Write a function delay_then_print : unit -> unit Lwt.t that delays for three seconds then prints "done".


Exercise: timing challenge 2 [★★★]

What happens when timing2 () is run? How long does it take to run? Make a prediction, then run the code to find out.

open Lwt.Infix

let timing2 () =
  let _t1 = delay 1. >>= fun () -> Lwt_io.printl "1" in
  let _t2 = delay 10. >>= fun () -> Lwt_io.printl "2" in
  let _t3 = delay 20. >>= fun () -> Lwt_io.printl "3" in
  Lwt_io.printl "all done"

Exercise: timing challenge 3 [★★★]

What happens when timing3 () is run? How long does it take to run? Make a prediction, then run the code to find out.

open Lwt.Infix

let timing3 () =
  delay 1. >>= fun () ->
  Lwt_io.printl "1" >>= fun () ->
  delay 10. >>= fun () ->
  Lwt_io.printl "2" >>= fun () ->
  delay 20. >>= fun () ->
  Lwt_io.printl "3" >>= fun () ->
  Lwt_io.printl "all done"

Exercise: timing challenge 4 [★★★]

What happens when timing4 () is run? How long does it take to run? Make a prediction, then run the code to find out.

open Lwt.Infix

let timing4 () =
  let t1 = delay 1. >>= fun () -> Lwt_io.printl "1" in
  let t2 = delay 10. >>= fun () -> Lwt_io.printl "2" in
  let t3 = delay 20. >>= fun () -> Lwt_io.printl "3" in
  Lwt.join [t1; t2; t3] >>= fun () ->
  Lwt_io.printl "all done"

Exercise: file monitor [★★★★]

Write an Lwt program that monitors the contents of a file named “log”. Specifically, your program should open the file, continually read a line from the file, and as each line becomes available, print the line to stdout. When you reach the end of the file (EOF), your program should terminate cleanly without any exceptions.

Here is starter code:

open Lwt.Infix
open Lwt_io
open Lwt_unix

(** [log ()] is a promise for an [input_channel] that reads from
    the file named "log". *)
let log () : input_channel Lwt.t =
  openfile "log" [O_RDONLY] 0 >>= fun fd ->
  Lwt.return (of_fd input fd)

(** [loop ic] reads one line from [ic], prints it to stdout,
    then calls itself recursively. It is an infinite loop. *)
let rec loop (ic : input_channel) =
  failwith "TODO"
  (* hint: use [Lwt_io.read_line] and [Lwt_io.printlf] *)

(** [monitor ()] monitors the file named "log". *)
let monitor () : unit Lwt.t =
  log () >>= loop

(** [handler] is a helper function for [main]. If its input is
    [End_of_file], it handles cleanly exiting the program by
    returning the unit promise. Any other input is re-raised
    with [Lwt.fail]. *)
let handler : exn -> unit Lwt.t =
  failwith "TODO"

let main () : unit Lwt.t =
  Lwt.catch monitor handler

let _ = Lwt_main.run (main ())

Complete loop and handler. You might find the Lwt manual to be useful.

To compile your code, put it in a file named monitor.ml. Create a dune file for it:

(executable
 (name monitor)
 (libraries lwt.unix))

And run it as usual:

$ dune exec ./monitor.exe

To simulate a file to which lines are being added over time, open a new terminal window and enter the following commands:

$ mkfifo log
$ cat >log

Now anything you type into the terminal window (after pressing return) will be added to the file named log. That will enable you to interactively test your program.


Exercise: add opt [★★]

Here are the definitions for the maybe monad:

module type Monad = sig
  type 'a t
  val return : 'a -> 'a t
  val ( >>= ) : 'a t -> ('a -> 'b t) -> 'b t
end

module Maybe : Monad =
struct
  type 'a t = 'a option

  let return x = Some x

  let ( >>= ) m f =
    match m with
    | Some x -> f x
    | None -> None

end

Implement add : int Maybe.t -> int Maybe.t -> int Maybe.t. If either of the inputs is None, then the output should be None. Otherwise, if the inputs are Some a and Some b then the output should be Some (a+b). The definition of add must be located outside of Maybe, as shown above, which means that your solution may not use the constructors None or Some in its code.


Exercise: fmap and join [★★]

Here is an extended signature for monads that adds two new operations:

module type ExtMonad = sig
  type 'a t
  val return : 'a -> 'a t
  val ( >>= ) : 'a t -> ('a -> 'b t) -> 'b t
  val ( >>| ) : 'a t -> ('a -> 'b) -> 'b t
  val join : 'a t t -> 'a t
end

Just as the infix operator >>= is known as bind, the infix operator >>| is known as fmap. The two operators differ only in the return type of their function argument.

Using the box metaphor, >>| takes a boxed value, and a function that only knows how to work on unboxed values, extracts the value from the box, runs the function on it, and boxes up that output as its own return value.

Also using the box metaphor, join takes a value that is wrapped in two boxes and removes one of the boxes.

It’s possible to implement >>| and join directly with pattern matching (as we already implemented >>=). It’s also possible to implement them without pattern matching.

For this exercise, do the former: implement >>| and join as part of the Maybe monad, and do not use >>= or return in the body of >>| or join.


Exercise: fmap and join again [★★]

Solve the previous exercise again. This time, you must use >>= and return to implement >>| and join, and you may not use Some or None in the body of >>| and join.


Exercise: bind from fmap+join [★★★]

The previous exercise demonstrates that >>| and join can be implemented entirely in terms of >>= (and return), without needing to know anything about the representation type 'a t of the monad.

It’s actually possible to go the other direction. That is, >>= can be implemented using just >>| and join, without needing to know anything about the representation type 'a t.

Prove that this is so by completing the following code:

module type FmapJoinMonad = sig
  type 'a t
  val ( >>| ) : 'a t -> ('a -> 'b) -> 'b t
  val join : 'a t t -> 'a t
  val return : 'a -> 'a t
end

module type BindMonad = sig
  type 'a t
  val return : 'a -> 'a t
  val ( >>= ) : 'a t -> ('a -> 'b t) -> 'b t
end

module MakeMonad (M : FmapJoinMonad) : BindMonad = struct
  (* TODO *)
end

Hint: let the types be your guide.


Exercise: list monad [★★★]

We’ve seen three examples of monads already; let’s examine a fourth, the list monad. The “something more” that it does is to upgrade functions to work on lists instead of just single values. (Note, there is no notion of concurrency intended here. It’s not that the list monad runs functions concurrently on every element of a list. The Lwt monad does, however, provide that kind of functionality.)

For example, suppose you have these functions:

let inc x = x + 1
let pm x = [x; -x]

Then the list monad could be used to apply those functions to every element of a list and return the result as a list. For example,

  • [1; 2; 3] >>| inc is [2; 3; 4].

  • [1; 2; 3] >>= pm is [1; -1; 2; -2; 3; -3].

  • [1; 2; 3] >>= pm >>| inc is [2; 0; 3; -1; 4; -2].

One way to think about this is that the list monad operators take a list of inputs to a function, run the function on all those inputs, and give you back the combined list of outputs.

Complete the following definition of the list monad:

module type ExtMonad = sig
  type 'a t
  val return : 'a -> 'a t
  val ( >>= ) : 'a t -> ('a -> 'b t) -> 'b t
  val ( >>| ) : 'a t -> ('a -> 'b) -> 'b t
  val join : 'a t t -> 'a t
end

module ListMonad : ExtMonad = struct
  type 'a t = 'a list

  (* TODO *)
end

Hints: Leave >>= for last. Let the types be your guide. There are two very useful list library functions that can help you.


Exercise: trivial monad laws [★★★]

Here is the world’s most trivial monad. All it does is wrap a value inside of a constructor.

module Trivial : Monad = struct
  type 'a t = Wrap of 'a
  let return x = Wrap x
  let ( >>= ) (Wrap x) f = f x
end

Prove that the three monad laws, as formulated using >>= and return, hold for the trivial monad.