# [Haskell-cafe] Inferring types from functional dependencies

Jeff.Harper at handheld.com Jeff.Harper at handheld.com
Fri Jun 9 17:56:50 EDT 2006

The following message is in a Haskell module.  It will be easier to read
in a fixed point font.

{-# OPTIONS -fglasgow-exts #-}

-- Hi,
--
-- I ran into an issue while working with functional dependencies.
-- Consider the following code.  I'm rewriting many of the prelude
-- operators using functional dependencies.  The type of he return value
-- is determined by the operators parameters.

-- Use "P." in front of functions to access the preludes version of these
-- functions.
import qualified Prelude as P

-- I override prelude operators with my own operators.
import Prelude hiding ( (*), recip )

import Ratio

-- recip returns the reciprocal of its parameter.  I've given the
-- Reciprocate class the ability to return a type that is different from
-- its argument.

class Reciprocate a b | a -> b where
recip :: a -> b

-- Here are some example instances of Reciprocate.  In most cases,
-- recip will return the same type as it's argument.  However, taking
-- the reciprocal of an Integer returns a (Ratio Integer).

instance Reciprocate Double Double where
recip = P.recip -- I call prelude's recip here.

instance Reciprocate (Ratio Integer) (Ratio Integer) where
recip = P.recip -- I call prelude's recip here.

instance Reciprocate Integer (Ratio Integer) where
recip x = (1::Integer) % x

-- (*) multiplies its parameters.  The resulting type is determined by
-- the type of the arguments

class Multiply a b c  | a b -> c where
(*) :: a -> b -> c

-- Here are some example instances of Multiply.

instance Multiply Double Double Double where
(*) = (P.*)

-- Multiplying Integer by Double returns a Double

instance Multiply Integer Double Double where
(*) x y = (P.*) (fromIntegral x) y

instance Multiply Double Integer Double where
(*) x y = (P.*) x (fromIntegral y)

instance Multiply Integer (Ratio Integer) (Ratio Integer) where
(*) x y = (P.*) (x%1) y

-- Now, this is where I ran into some trouble I define a Divide class
-- as follows.  Here I define a default (/) operator that uses the
-- Reciprocate and Multiply class to perform division.  However, this code
-- produces error messages.  So, I commented it out.  Even if I don't want
-- to implement (/) with recip and (*), requiring this relationship --
--                                                                  |
--                     ----------------------------------------------
--                     |
--                     v                         is consistent with
defining
--      _____________________________________    the divide operation in
--     |                                     |   terms of the
multiplicative
--     |                                     |   inverse
{-
class (Reciprocate b recip, Multiply a recip c) => Divide a b c | a b -> c
where
(/) :: a -> b -> c
(/) x y = x * (recip y)
-}

-- This definition of (/) works.  However, taking the reciprocal and then
-- multiplying may not always be the best way of dividing.  So, I'd like
to
-- put this into a divide class, so (/) can be defined differently for
-- different types.
{-

(/) :: (Reciprocate b recip, Multiply a recip c) => a -> b -> c
(/) a b = a * (recip b)

-}

-- I finally discovered that the following definition of a Divide
-- class works
class (Reciprocate b recip_of_b, Multiply a recip_of_b c)
=> Divide a b c recip_of_b | a b -> c recip_of_b where
(/) :: a -> b -> c
(/) a b = a * (recip b) -- Default definition can be overridden

-- The thing I don't like is that when defining a new Divide class, I have
-- to place the reciprocal of the "b" type into the class definition.

-- Here are some examples of Divide:
--
-- This type ----------------------------
-- must be the type that is             |
-- returned when this                   |
-- type ------------------              |
-- is passed to recip.   |              |
--                       |              |
--                       v              v
instance Divide Double Double Double Double where
(/) x y = (P./) x y  -- For Doubles

-- Another example:
--
-- This type ------------------------------------------
-- must be the type that is                           |
-- returned when this                                 |
-- type -------------------                           |
-- is passed to recip.    |                           |
--                        |                           |
--                        v                           v
instance Divide Integer Integer (Ratio Integer) (Ratio Integer) where
(/) x y = x % y

-- The reason I don't like it is there is enough information available to
infer
-- the type of recip_of_b in the following class.  The Reciprocate class
is
-- defined with functional dependencies, so that recip_of_b can be
determined
-- by the type of b.--
--                   |
--             ______________________
--            |                      |
--
--     class (Reciprocate b recip_of_b, Multiply a recip_of_b c)
--                      => Divide a b c recip_of_b | a b -> c recip_of_b
where
--         (/) :: a -> b -> c
--         (/) a b = a * (recip b)
--

-- Respecifying the recip_of_b when I declare an instance of Divide
-- seem redundant.  I'm wondering if there is a better way to
-- define this.  I also, wonder if it would be appropriate to include
-- in future versions of Haskell, the ability to infer functional
-- dependences in a new class definition, so that my first attempt
-- at a definition of class Divide works.

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