Note for SICP Chapter 1

Building Abstractions with Procedures

The Elements of Programming
  • primitive expression
    • number: 486
    • primitive operators (are also procedures): < = > and or not
  • compound expression
    • application of some procedure to some arguments: (+ 1 2)
Naming and the Environment
  • naming: assign name to something (“object”)
    • value: (define foo 1)
    • procedure: (define (bar arg1) (+ 1 2))
  • environment: memory of name-object pairs
    • a computation may involve multiple environments
Evaluating Combinations
  • steps of “applicative order”

    • evaluate every subexpressions
    • apply the leftmost subexpression (“operator”) to the values of the other subexpressions (“operands”)
Compound Procedures
  • general form of procedure definition:

    (define (<name> <formal parameters>)

    The `<body>’ part may contain multiple expressions. The value of the final expression becomes the value of the procedure application.

The Substitution Model for Procedure Application
  • evaluate the body of procedure with the formal parameters replaced by the corresponding arguments

  • is presented to help think about the process of application, and is not how interpreter works

  • order of execution

    • normal order: “fully expand and then reduce”
    • applicative order: “evaluate the arguments and then apply”
    • lisp uses applicative order evaluation.
Conditional Expressions and Predicates
  • if

    if is a special form and not a procedure. It only evalutes the predicate and one of the consequent / alternative expression.

    (if (> 1 0) #t #f)
  • cond

    cond is a special form and not a procedure. It only evalutes the predicates till the correct branch, and that corresponding branch.

        ((= a 1) 1)
        ((= a 2) 3))
Example: Square Roots by Newton’s Method
  • code

    (define (newton-sqrt aim)
      (define (guess-till-good-enough current next-guess good-enough?)
        (if (good-enough? current)
          (guess-till-good-enough (next-guess current) next-guess good-enough?)))
      (define (small-enough? delta) (< delta 1e-5))
      (define (close-enough? current) (small-enough? (abs (- (* current current) aim))))
      (define (better-approximation-of-sqrt current) (/ (+ current (/ aim current)) 2)) ;; << the ``Newton'' part
      (define initial-guess 1.1)
      (guess-till-good-enough initial-guess better-approximation-of-sqrt close-enough?))
    (display (newton-sqrt 2.0))
    ; => 1.4142
Procedures as Black-Box Abstractions
  • The definition suppresses the details.

  • The user of a procedure does not need to know the internal.

  • Local names
    • The formal parameters are local to the body. AKA “bound variable” or “captured variable”
    • e.g. (define (square x) (* x x)) contains a bound variable x and a free variable *.
    • The name of formal parameters can be arbitrary.
  • Internal definitions (refer to previous newton-sqrt procedure)
    • One can localize subprocedures with nested define.
    • The free variable in inner procedure get its value from the bound variable of outer procedure, AKA lexical scoping.
    • Example of lexical scoping: aim in (define (close-enough? current <body>).
Procedures and the Processes They Generate
Linear Recursion and Iteration
  • Recursive computation of factorial

    (define (factorial n)
      (if (= n 0)
        (* n (factorial (- n 1)))))
  • Iterative computation of factorial

    (define (factorial n)
      (define (factorial-iter cumulative-product current max)
        (if (> max current)
          (factorial-iter (* cumulative-product current) (+ current 1) max)))
      (factorial-iter 1 1 n))
  • The preceding 2 procedures produce different shape of computation.

Tree Recursion
  • Example: recursive definition of (fib n)

  • Example: counting change

    (define (change coins rest)
        ((< rest 0) 0)
        ((= rest 0) 1)
        ((= (length coins) 0) 0)
        (else (+
          (change coins (- rest (car coins)))
          (change (cdr coins) rest)))))
    (display (change (list 50 25 10 5 1) 100))
    ; => 292
Order of Growth
  • refer to shape of computation
  • implement (power base exp) with linear recursion

  • implement (power base exp) with log recursion
  • exercise 1.19: implement (fib n) with log recursion (let ((a 1)) (+ a 2))
Greatest Common Divisors
  • Euclid’s Algorithm
Example: Testing for Primality
  • code

    (define (prime? n)
      (define (find-first-divisor current)
          ((= (remainder n current) 0) current)
          ((> (* current current) n)   #f)
          (else (find-first-divisor (+ 1 current)))))
      (define first-divisor (find-first-divisor 2))
      (if (and first-divisor (not (= n first-divisor)))
Formulating Abstractions with Higher-Order Procedures
Procedures as Arguments
  • map
  • sum, integral
Constructing Procedures Using Lambda
  • One can create (anonymous) procedures with the special form lambda

    • usage

      (lambda (formal-parameters) <body>)
    • example

      (map (lambda (x) (* x x)) '(1 2 3))
  • One can use lambda to bind local variables, but the special form let makes it more convenient.

    • usage

      (let ((<name> <expression>)+) <body>)
    • “is but syntactic sugar of underlying lambda expression”

    • The name-expression pairs in let are parallel. One expression cannot refer to another name.

Procedures as General Methods
  • Example: finding zero-point with the half-interval method

  • Example: finding fixed-point

Procedures as Returned Values
  • rights of first-class elements
    • can be assigned a name
    • can be passed as argument
    • can be returned by procedure
    • can be included in data structures