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New monads/MonadAdvSTM

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The e-mail that inspired this Monad and the Monad itself:

From: Simon Peyton-Jones <> To: "Tim Harris (RESEARCH)" <>, Benjamin Franksen <> Cc: "" <> Subject: RE: [Haskell] Re: [Haskell-cafe] SimonPJ and Tim Harris explain STM - video Date: Fri, 24 Nov 2006 08:22:36 +0000

| The basic idea is to provide a way for a transaction to call into transaction-aware libraries. The libraries | can register callbacks for if the transaction commits (to actually do any "O") and for if the transaction | aborts (to re-buffer any "I" that the transaction has consumed). In addition, a library providing access | to another transactional abstraction (e.g. a database supporting transactions) can perform a 2-phase | commit that means that the memory transaction and database transaction either both commit or both | abort.

Yes, I have toyed with extending GHC's implementation of STM to support

       onCommit :: IO a -> STM ()

The idea is that onCommit would queue up an IO action to be performed when the transaction commits, but without any atomicity guarantee. If the transaction retries, the action is discarded. Now you could say

       atomic (do {
         xv <- readTVar x
         yv <- readTVar y
         if xv>yv then
               onCommit launchMissiles
            else return () })

and the missiles would only get launched when the transaction successfully commits.

This is pure programming convenience. It's always possible to make an existing Haskell STM transaction that *returns* an IO action, which is performed by the caller, thus:

dO { action <- atomic (do {
         xv <- readTVar x;
         yv <- readTVar y;
         if xv>yv then
               retur launchMissiles
            else return (return ()) }) ;
     action }

All onCommit does is make it more convenient. Perhaps a *lot* more convenient.

I have also toyed with adding

       retryWith :: IO a -> STM ()

The idea here is that the transction is undone (i.e. just like the 'retry' combinator), then the specified action is performed, and then the transaction is retried. Again no atomicity guarantee. If there's an orElse involved, both actions would get done.

Unlike onCommit, onRetry adds new power. Suppose you have a memory buffer, with an STM interface:

   getLine :: Buffer -> STM STring

This is the way to do transactional input: if there is not enough input, the transaction retries; and the effects of getLine aren't visible until the transaction commits. The problem is that if there is not enough data in the buffer, getLine will retry; but alas there is no way at present to "tell" someone to fill the buffer with more data.

onRetry would fix that. getLine could say

   if <not enough data> then retryWith <fill-buffer action>

It would also make it possible to count how many retries happened:

  atomic (<transaction> `orElse` retryWith <increment retry counter>)

I have not implemented either of these, but I think they'd be cool.


PS: I agree wholeheartedly with this:

| Of course, these solutions don't deal with the question of atomic blocks that want to perform output | (e.g. to the console) and receive input in response to that. My view at the moment is _that does not | make sense in an atomic block_ -- the output and input can't be performed atomically because the | intervening state must be visible for the user to respond to. _______________________________________________ Haskell-Cafe mailing list

{- November 24th, 2006
  Demonstration Code by Chris Kuklewicz <>
  Usual 3 clause BSD Licence
  Copyright 2006
  This is inspired by a post by Simon Peyton-Jones on the haskell-cafe
  mailing list, in which the type and semantics of onCommit and
  withRetry were put forth.
  The semantics of printing the contents of the TVar "v" created in
  test via retryWith may or may not be well defined.  With GHC 6.6 I get
*AdvSTM> main
"onRetry Start"
("onRetry v",7)
"Flipped choice to True to avoid infinite loop"
"onCommit Start"
("onCommit v",42)
"onRetry Start"
("onRetry v",7)
"Flipped choice to True to avoid infinite loop"
"onCommit Start"
("onCommit v",42)
"bye world"
  Aside from that I think the unsafeIOToSTM is not really unsafe here
  since it writes to privately created and maintained variables.
  Since the implementation is hidden it could be changed from ReaderT
  to some other scheme.
  Once could also use MonadBase from to help with the
  lifting, but this has been commented out below.
  TODO: figure out semantics of catchAdv.  At least it compiles...
module AdvSTM(MonadAdvSTM(..),AdvSTM,retryWith,countRetries
             ,unlifter,unlift,unlift1,unlift2) where
-- import MonadBase
import Control.Exception(Exception)
import Control.Monad(MonadPlus(..),liftM)
import Control.Monad.Reader(MonadReader(..),ReaderT,runReaderT,lift,asks)
import Control.Concurrent.STM(STM,orElse,retry,catchSTM,atomically)
import Control.Concurrent.STM.TVar(TVar,newTVarIO,newTVar,readTVar,writeTVar)
import GHC.Conc(unsafeIOToSTM)
import Data.IORef(IORef,newIORef,readIORef,writeIORef,modifyIORef)
import Data.Typeable(Typeable)
import Data.Generics(Data)
class MonadAdvSTM m where
  onCommit :: IO a -> m ()
  onRetry :: IO a -> m ()
  orElseAdv :: m a -> m a -> m a
  retryAdv :: m a
  atomicAdv :: m a -> IO a
  catchAdv :: m a -> (Exception -> m a) -> m a
  liftAdv :: STM a -> m a
-- Export type but not constructor!
newtype AdvSTM a = AdvSTM (ReaderT Env STM a) deriving (Functor,Monad,MonadPlus,Typeable)
type Env = (CommitVar,RetryVar)
type CommitVar = TVar ([IO ()]->[IO ()])
type RetryVar = IORef ([IO ()]->[IO ()])
{- Since lifting retry and `orElse` gives the semantics Simon wants, use deriving MonadPlus instead
instance MonadPlus AdvSTM where
  mzero = retryAdv
  mplus = orElseAdv
-- instance MonadBase STM AdvSTM where liftBase = AdvSTM . lift
retryWith :: (Monad m, MonadAdvSTM m) => IO a -> m b
retryWith io = onRetry io >> retryAdv
orElseAdv' a b =
  do env <- AdvSTM ask
     liftAdv $ (runWith env a) `orElse` (runWith env b)
instance MonadAdvSTM AdvSTM where
  onCommit io = do
    cv <- AdvSTM $ asks fst
    old <- liftAdv $ readTVar cv
    liftAdv $ writeTVar cv (old . ((io >> return ()):))
  onRetry io = do
    rv <- AdvSTM $ asks snd
    liftAdv $ unsafeIOToSTM $ modifyIORef rv (\ old -> old . ((io >> return ()):) )
  orElseAdv' a b = do
    env <- AdvSTM ask
    liftAdv $ (runWith env a) `orElse` (runWith env b)
  orElseAdv (AdvSTM a) (AdvSTM b) =
    {- If a retries then its onRetry commands are kept on the list of
       actions to do if the whole command fails. It would be possible
       to save the "rv" and use unsafeIOToSTM to implement a different
       policy here -}
    AdvSTM $ do env <- ask
                lift $ (runReaderT a env) `orElse` (runReaderT b env)
-- Alternative definition
  orElseAdv a b = do a' <- unlift a
                     b' <- unlift b
                     liftAdv $ a' `orElse` b'
  orElseAdv = mplus
  retryAdv = liftAdv retry -- the same as retryAdv = mzero
  atomicAdv = runAdvSTM
-- Alternative definition
  catchAdv (AdvSTM action) handler =
    let h env error = let (AdvSTM cleanup) = handler error
                      in runReaderT cleanup env
    in AdvSTM $ do env <- ask
                   lift $ catchSTM (runReaderT action env) (h env)
  catchAdv action handler = do
    action' <- unlift action
    handler' <- unlift1 handler
    liftAdv $ catchSTM action' handler'
  liftAdv = AdvSTM . lift
-- This replaces "atomically"
runAdvSTM :: AdvSTM a -> IO a
runAdvSTM (AdvSTM action) = do
  cv <- newTVarIO id
  rv <- newIORef id
  let wrappedAction = (runReaderT (liftM Just action) (cv,rv))
                      `orElse` (return Nothing)
      loop = do
        result <- atomically $ wrappedAction
        case result of
          Just answer -> do
            cFun <- atomically (readTVar cv)
            sequence_ (cFun [])
            return answer
          Nothing -> do
            rFun <- readIORef rv
            writeIORef rv id  -- must reset the list
            sequence_ (rFun [])
-- Using ReaderT we can write "unlift" from AdvSTM into STM:
-- Do not export runWith
runWith :: Env -> AdvSTM t -> STM t
runWith env (AdvSTM action) = runReaderT action env
unlifter :: AdvSTM (AdvSTM a -> STM a)
unlifter = do
  env <- AdvSTM ask
  return (\f -> runWith env f)
unlift :: AdvSTM a -> AdvSTM (STM a)
unlift f = do
  u <- unlifter
  return (u f)
unlift1 :: (t -> AdvSTM a) -> AdvSTM (t -> STM a)
unlift1 f = do
  u <- unlifter
  return (\x -> u (f x))
unlift2 :: (t -> t1 -> AdvSTM a) -> AdvSTM (t -> t1 -> STM a)
unlift2 f = do
  u <- unlifter
  return (\x y -> u (f x y))
-- Example code using the above, lifting into MonadAdvSTM:
test ::(Monad m, MonadAdvSTM m) => TVar Bool -> m [Char]
test todo = do
  onCommit (print "onCommit Start")
  onRetry (print "onRetry Start")
  v <- liftAdv $ newTVar 7
  liftAdv $ writeTVar v 42
  onCommit (atomically (readTVar v) >>= \x->print ("onCommit v",x))
  onRetry (atomically (readTVar v) >>= \x->print ("onRetry v",x))
  choice <- liftAdv $ readTVar todo
  case choice of
    True -> return "foo"
    False -> retryWith $ do
      atomically (writeTVar todo True)
      print "Flipped choice to True to avoid infinite loop"
-- Same example as test, but unlifting from AdvSTM
testUnlift :: TVar Bool -> AdvSTM [Char]
testUnlift todo = do
  onCommit <- unlift1 onCommit
  onRetry <- unlift1 onRetry
  retryWith <- unlift1 retryWith
  liftAdv $ do
    onCommit (print "onCommit Start")
    onRetry (print "onRetry Start")
    v <- newTVar 7
    writeTVar v 42
    onCommit (atomically (readTVar v) >>= \x->print ("onCommit v",x))
    onRetry (atomically (readTVar v) >>= \x->print ("onRetry v",x))
    choice <- readTVar todo
    case choice of
      True -> return "foo"
      False -> retryWith $ do 
        atomically (writeTVar todo True)
        print "Flipped choice to True to avoid infinite loop"
-- Example similar to Simon's suggested example:
countRetries :: (MonadAdvSTM m, Monad m, Enum a) => IORef a -> m a1 -> m a1
countRetries ioref action =
  let incr = do old <- readIORef ioref
                writeIORef ioref $! (succ old)
  in action `orElseAdv` (retryWith incr)
-- Load this file in GHCI and execute main to run the test:
main = do
  counter <- newIORef 0
  todo <- newTVarIO False
  print "test"
  result <- runAdvSTM (countRetries counter $ test todo)
  retries <- readIORef counter
  print ("result",result,"retries",retries)
  atomically (writeTVar todo False)
  print "testUnlift"
  result <- runAdvSTM (countRetries counter $ testUnlift todo)
  retries <- readIORef counter
  print ("result",result,"retries",retries)
  print "bye world"