### Qi and the "Magic" Prime Type

The Qi type system allows for some very interesting types not typicallyavailable to non-FOL type systems. To better understand what you can do

with this system, I have made a simple and naive prime type to show off

the power of the Qi types. The idea behind it seems very simple, namely

we make a number subtype that matches only primes. Then, we can define

functions that take only prime numbers and we can be certain that only

prime numbers can get into this function.

To begin this process, we need to have a function that determines

primes. Taking the very simple approach to generating primes used in

the book, we create a prime? function with the following definition.

(define prime?

{ number --> boolean }

X -> (prime*? X (round (sqrt X)) 2))

(define prime*?

{ number --> number --> number --> boolean }

X Max Div -> true where (> Div Max)

X Max Div -> false where (integer? (/ X Div))

X Max Div -> (prime*? X Max (+ 1 Div))

)

Next, we need to have a type function that tells the compiler that our

prime type is a subtype of numbers. Anyplace we can use a number, ie in

+ or any other math function, we want to be able to use primes. The Qi

Language book describes this type and we will use the pattern described

in the book. As an aside, this ends up being so useful that future

versions of Qi may just need to include this type natively.

(datatype subtype

(subtype B A); X : B;

_____________________

X : A;

_____________________

(subtype prime number);

)

Finally, we now can make our prime type by using the following

definition. Note that this definition is incomplete and try to

understand why it does not allow us to define a function that takes a

number and returns a prime. However, this function should allow us to

find primes at the top level (and hence in loaded files as well). We

will expand on the definition below. Basically, the function should say

that if we have a number and it passes the prime? function, then we

should consider it a prime.

(datatype prime

if(and (number? X) (prime? X))

_________

X : prime;

)

Now that we have an incomplete definition, let us see it in use.

(2+) 3 : prime

3 : prime

(3+) 4 : prime

error: type error

(4+) 5 : prime

5 : prime

(5+) 6 : prime

error: type error

(6+) 8 : prime

error: type error

(7+) 9 : prime

error: type error

(8+) 11 : prime

11 : prime

(9+) 13 : prime

13 : prime

That's a smart type! *grin*

To understand why this function does not complete our definition of

prime, we should try to build a function that takes in a prime and

finds the next prime on the number line. Let us call it next-prime. It

should take a prime and find the next prime in the number line by

stepping up the number line by one and testing for prime-ness.

(define next-prime

{ prime --> prime }

X -> (next-prime* (+ 1 X))

)

(define next-prime*

{ number --> prime }

X -> X where (prime? X)

X -> (next-prime* (+ 1 X))

)

However, if we try to compile the code up to this point, we find that

we get the following not-so-helpful error message.

Correctness Check Failure; rule 1 of next-prime*

Why does this happen? Obviously, the type system cannot prove that X->

X is a prime where (prime? X). While in the non-typesafe version of Qi,

this function does indeed perform as requested. But because the type

checker cannot prove that it will output ONLY primes, it cannot

typecheck our program. To make our function work, we have to let the

typechecker understand that if a number passes (prime? X) then it

definitely is a prime.

Fortunately for us, Qi provides a mechanism that can check the guards

and give a type depending on if a guard passes. Qi has a special type

for guards called "verified" that only matches when the guard itself

returns true. The guard obviously runs at runtime but Qi can use the

verified to ensure that we have correct types even at compile time. Our

assumption is that if (prime? X) is "verified" then X is a prime. In Qi

notation we then have the new prime type as follows.

(datatype prime

if(and (number? X) (prime? X))

_________

X : prime;

____________________

(prime? X) : verified >> X : prime;

)

We now have a complete (but very inefficient) version of the class of

numbers we know as primes as a native Qi type. No non-prime will ever

typecheck to the type prime even during runtime or after mathematical

manipulation. Let us try it out.

(2+) (next-prime 5)

7 : prime

(3+) (next-prime 7)

11 : prime

(4+) (next-prime 101)

103 : prime

(5+) (next-prime 103)

107 : prime

(6+) (next-prime 107)

109 : prime

(7+) (next-prime 109)

113 : prime

(8+) (next-prime 113)

127 : prime

(9+) (next-prime 4)

error: type error

(10+) (next-prime* 4)

5 : prime

A good follow up exercise would be to take the stream datatype defined

in the Qi Language book and make a stream of primes with these

functions. Also, you could extend the type to use a new prime? function

that implements a wheel sieve to ensure much faster testing for primes.

As a final question, is there any way to rid ourselves of the number?

test inside of primes? I've tried using sequents, subtypes, and a

host of other methods but it always causes the program to crash on

typechecking with sec.SQRT: &&X is not a NUMBER.

Hope you enjoyed my little prime type and happy hacking!

EntropyFails

#### 5 Comments:

Very cool! :-)

Thank you!

Since your blog expresses some interest in Qi, I’ll link to it on my sidebar the next time I update my page.

Try out some weird Qi types of your own there! I had a lot of fun building this types. And I typically hate types... *grin*

By EntropyFails, at 10:06 AM

Question: Can Qi code call ordinary Lisp functions? Or would that cause the type system to faint dead away?

Somehow I missed your comment, sorry.

Yes, Qi can call ordinary lisp functions just fine. However since Qi runs in case sensitive mode, you have to put your lisp calls in the front. For example, I've compiled CL-PPCRE into my lispinit.mem and I can do the following in Qi.

(2-) (MULTIPLE-VALUE-LIST (CL-PPCRE:SCAN-TO-STRINGS "(a)*b" "xaaaab") )

["aaaab" #["a"]]

Neato eh?

By EntropyFails, at 12:04 PM

s/the front/capital letters

*sigh*

By EntropyFails, at 12:12 PM