   5.2  Loop/Iterator Constructs

Many types of simple iterations are inconvenient to write in the form of recursive predicates. ECLiPSe therefore provides a logical iteration construct do/2, which can be understood either by itself or by its translation to an equivalent recursion. More background can be found in .

A simple example is the traversal of a list

main :-
write_list([1,2,3]).

write_list([]).
write_list([X|Xs]) :-
writeln(X),
write_list(Xs).

which can be written as follows without the need for an auxiliary predicate:

main :-
( foreach(X, [1,2,3]) do
writeln(X)
).

This looks very much like a loop in a procedural language. However, due to the relational nature of logic programming, the same foreach construct can be used not only to control iteration over an existing list, but also to build a new list during an iteration. For example

main :-
( foreach(X, [1,2,3]), foreach(Y, Negatives) do
Y is -X
),
writeln(Negatives).

will print [-1, -2, -3].

The general form of a do-loop is

IterationSpecs do Goals )

and it corresponds to a call to an auxiliary recursive predicate of the form

do__n(...) :- !.
do__n(...) :- Goals, do__n(...).

The IterationSpecs determine the number of times the loop is executed (i.e., the termination condition), and the way information is passed into the loop, from one iteration to the next, and out of the loop.

IterationSpecs is one (or a combination) of the following:

fromto(FirstInOutLast)

iterate Goals starting with In=First until Out=Last. In and Out are local loop variables. For all but the first iteration, the value of In is the same as the value of Out in the previous iteration.
foreach(XList)

iterate Goals with X ranging over all elements of List. X is a local loop variable. Can also be used for constructing a list.
foreacharg(XStruct)

iterate Goals with X ranging over all elements of Struct. X is a local loop variable. Cannot be used for constructing a term.
foreacharg(XStructIdx)

same as before, but Idx is set to the argument position of X in Struct. (In other words, arg(Idx, Struct, X) is true.) X and Idx are local loop variables.
foreachelem(XArray)

like foreacharg/2, but iterates over all elements of an array of arbitrary dimension. The order is the natural order, i.e., if
Array = []([](a, b, c), [](d, e, f)),
then for successive iterations X is bound in turn to a, b, c, d, e and f. X is a local loop variable. Cannot be used for constructing a term.
foreachelem(XArrayIdx)

same as before, but Idx is set to the index position of X in Array. (In other words, subscript(Array, Idx, X) is true.) X and Idx are local loop variables.
foreachindex(IdxArray)

like foreachelem/3, but returns just the index position and not the element.
for(IMinExprMaxExpr)

iterate Goals with I ranging over integers from MinExpr to MaxExpr. I is a local loop variable. MinExpr and MaxExpr can be arithmetic expressions. Can be used only for controlling iteration, i.e., MaxExpr cannot be uninstantiated.
for(IMinExprMaxExprIncrement)

same as before, but Increment can be specified (it defaults to 1).
multifor(ListMinListMaxList)

like for/3, but allows iteration over multiple indices (saves writing nested loops). Each element of List takes a value between the corresponding elements in MinList and MaxList. Successive iterations go through the possible combinations of values for List in lexicographic order. List is a local loop variable. MinList and MaxList must be either lists of arithmetic expressions evaluating to integers, or arithmetic expressions evaluating to integers (in the latter case they are treated as lists containing the (evaluated) integer repeated an appropriate number of times). At least one of List, MinList and MaxList must be a list of fixed length at call time so that it is known how many indices are to be iterated.
multifor(ListMinListMaxListIncrementList)

same as before, but IncrementList can be specified (i.e., how much to increment each element of List by). IncrementList must be either a list of arithmetic expressions evaluating to non-zero integers, or an arithmetic expression evaluating to a non-zero integer (in which case all elements are incremented by this amount). IncrementList defaults to 1.
count(IMinMax)

iterate Goals with I ranging over integers from Min up to Max. I is a local loop variable. Can be used for controlling iteration as well as counting, i.e., Max can be a variable.
param(Var1Var2, ...)

for declaring variables in Goals as global, i.e., as shared with the loop context, and shared among all iterations of the loop.
CAUTION: By default, variables in Goals have local scope. This means that, in every iteration, these variables are new (even if a variable of the same name occurs outside the do-construct).

Note that fromto/4 is the most general specifier (all the others could be implemented on top of it), while foreach/2, foreacharg/2,3, foreachelem/2,3, foreachindex/2, count/3, for/3,4, multifor/3,4 and param/N are convenient shorthands.

There are three ways to combine the above specifiers in a single do loop:

IterSpec1IterSpec2
(“synchronous iteration”)
This is the normal way to combine iteration specifiers: simply provide a comma-separated sequence of them. The specifiers are iterated synchronously; that is, they all take their first “value” for the first execution of Goals, their second “value” for the second execution of Goals, etc. The order in which they are written does not matter, and the set of local loop variables is the union of those of IterSpec1 and IterSpec2.

When multiple iteration specifiers are given in this way, typically not all of them will impose a termination condition on the loop (e.g., foreach with an uninstantiated list and count with an uninstantiated maximum do not impose a termination condition), but at least one of them should do so. If several specifiers impose termination conditions, then these conditions must coincide, i.e., specify the same number of iterations.

IterSpec1 * IterSpec2
(“cross product”)
This iterates over the cross product of IterSpec1 and IterSpec2. The sequence of iteration is to iterate IterSpec2 completely for a given “value” of IterSpec1 before doing the same with the next “value” of IterSpec1, and so on. The set of local loop variables is the union of those of IterSpec1 and IterSpec2.
IterSpec1 >> IterSpec2
(“nested iteration”)
Like ( IterSpec1 do ( IterSpec2 do Goals ) ), including with respect to scoping. The local loop variables are those of IterSpec2; in particular, those of IterSpec1 are not available unless IterSpec2 passes them through, e.g., using param. Similarly, the only “external” variables available as inputs to IterSpec2 are the locals of IterSpec1; variables from outside the loop are not available unless passed through by IterSpec1, e.g., using param.

Syntactically, the do-operator binds like the semicolon, i.e., less than comma. That means that the whole do-construct should always be enclosed in parentheses (see examples).

Unless you use :-pragma(noexpand) or the compiler’s expand_goals:off option, the do-construct is compiled into an efficient auxiliary predicate named do__nnn, where nnn is a unique integer. This will be visible during debugging. To make debugging easier, it is possible to give the loop a user-defined name by adding loop_name(Name) to the iteration specifiers. Name must be an atom, and is used as the name of the auxiliary predicate into which the loop is compiled (instead of do__nnn). The name should therefore not clash with other predicate names in the same module.

Finally, do-loops can be used as a control structure in grammar rules as well: A do-loop in a grammar rule context will generate (or parse) the concatenation of the lists of symbols generated (or parsed) by each loop iteration (the grammar rule transformation effectively adds a hidden fromto-iterator to a do-loop). The following rule will generate (or parse) a list of integers from 1 to N

intlist(N) --> ( for(I,1,N) do [I] ).

5.2.1  Examples

Iterate over a list:

foreach(X,[1,2,3]) do writeln(X).

Map a list (construct a new list from an existing list):

(foreach(X,[1,2,3]), foreach(Y,List) do Y is X+3).

Compute the sum of a list of numbers:

(foreach(X,[1,2,3]), fromto(0,In,Out,Sum) do Out is In+X).

Reverse a list:

(foreach(X,[1,2,3]), fromto([],In,Out,   Rev) do Out=[X|In]). % or:
(foreach(X,[1,2,3]), fromto([],In,[X|In],Rev) do true).

Iterate over integers from 1 up to 5:

for(I,1,5) do writeln(I). % or:
count(I,1,5) do writeln(I).

Iterate over integers from 5 down to 1:

(for(I,5,1,-1) do writeln(I)).

Make the list of integers [1,2,3,4,5]:

(for(I,1,5), foreach(I,List) do true). % or:
(count(I,1,5), foreach(I,List) do true).

Make a list of length 3:

(foreach(_,List), for(_,1,3) do true). % or:
(foreach(_,List), count(_,1,3) do true).

Get the length of a list:

(foreach(_,[a,b,c]), count(_,1,N) do true).

Actually, the length/2 built-in is (almost)

length(List, N) :- (foreach(_,List), count(_,1,N) do true).

Iterate [I,J] over [1,1], [1,2], [1,3], [2,1], ..., [3,3]:

(multifor([I,J],1,3) do writeln([I,J])).

Similar, but have different start/stop values for I and J:

(multifor([I,J], [2,1], [4,5]) do writeln([I,J])).

Similar, but only do odd values for the second variable:

(multifor(List, [2,1], [4,5], [1,2]) do writeln(List)).

Filter the elements of a list:

(foreach(X,[5,3,8,1,4,6]), fromto(List,Out,In,[]) do
X>3 -> Out=[X|In] ; Out=In).

Iterate over the arguments of a structure:

(foreacharg(X,s(a,b,c,d,e)) do writeln(X)).

Collect arguments in a list (in practice you would use =.. to do this):

(foreacharg(X,s(a,b,c,d,e)), foreach(X,List) do true).

Collect arguments in reverse order:

(foreacharg(X,s(a,b,c,d,e)), fromto([],In,[X|In],List) do true).

or like this:

S = s(a,b,c,d,e), functor(S, _, N),
(for(I,N,1,-1), foreach(A,List), param(S) do arg(I,S,A)).

Rotate the arguments of a structure:

S0 = s(a,b,c,d,e), functor(S0, F, N), functor(S1, F, N),
(foreacharg(X,S0,I), param(S1, N) do I1 is (I mod N)+1, arg(I1,S1,X)).

Flatten an array into a list:

(foreachelem(X,[]([](5,1,2),[](3,3,2))), foreach(X,List) do true).

Transpose a 2D array:

A = []([](5,1,2),[](3,3,2)), dim(A, [R,C]), dim(T, [C,R]),
(foreachelem(X,A,[I,J]), param(T) do X is T[J,I]).

Same, using foreachindex:

A = []([](5,1,2),[](3,3,2)), dim(A, [R,C]), dim(T, [C,R]),
(foreachindex([I,J],A), param(A, T) do
subscript(A, [I,J], X), subscript(T, [J,I], X)).

The following two are equivalent:

foreach(X,[1,2,3])        do             writeln(X).
fromto([1,2,3],In,Out,[]) do In=[X|Out], writeln(X).

The following two are equivalent:

count(I,1,5)     do            writeln(I).
fromto(0,I0,I,5) do I is I0+1, writeln(I).

Now for some examples of nested loops.

Print all pairs of list elements:

Xs = [1,2,3,4],
( foreach(X, Xs), param(Xs) do
( foreach(Y,Xs), param(X) do
writeln(X-Y)
)
).
% or
Xs = [1,2,3,4],
( foreach(X, Xs) * foreach(Y, Xs) do
writeln(X-Y)
).

and the same without symmetries:

Xs = [1,2,3,4],
( fromto(Xs, [X|Xs1], Xs1, []) do
( foreach(Y,Xs1), param(X) do
writeln(X-Y)
)
).

or

Xs = [1,2,3,4],
( fromto(Xs, [X|Xs1], Xs1, []) >> ( foreach(Y,Xs1), param(X) ) do
writeln(X-Y)
).

Find all pairs of list elements and collect them in a result list:

pairs(Xs, Ys, Zs) :-
(
foreach(X,Xs),
fromto(Zs, Zs4, Zs1, []),
param(Ys)
do
(
foreach(Y,Ys),
fromto(Zs4, Zs3, Zs2, Zs1),
param(X)
do
Zs3 = [X-Y|Zs2]
)
).

or

pairs(Xs, Ys, Zs) :-
(
foreach(X, Xs) * foreach(Y, Ys),
foreach(Z, Zs)
do
Z = X-Y
).

Flatten a 2-dimensional matrix into a list:

flatten_matrix(Mat, Xs) :-
dim(Mat, [M,N]),
(
for(I,1,M),
fromto(Xs, Xs4, Xs1, []),
param(Mat,N)
do
(
for(J,1,N),
fromto(Xs4, [X|Xs2], Xs2, Xs1),
param(Mat,I)
do
subscript(Mat, [I,J], X)
)
).

Same using * to avoid nesting:

flatten_matrix(Mat, Xs) :-
dim(Mat, [M,N]),
(
for(I, 1, M) * for(J, 1, N),
foreach(X, Xs),
param(Mat)
do
subscript(Mat, [I,J], X)
).

Same using multifor to avoid nesting:

flatten_matrix(Mat, Xs) :-
dim(Mat, [M,N]),
(
multifor([I,J], 1, [M,N]),
foreach(X, Xs),
param(Mat)
do
subscript(Mat, [I,J], X)
).

Same for an array of arbitrary dimension:

flatten_array(Array, Xs) :-
dim(Array, Dims),
(
multifor(Idx, 1, Dims),
foreach(X, Xs),
param(Array)
do
subscript(Array, Idx, X)
).

Same but returns the elements in the reverse order:

flatten_array(Array, Xs) :-
dim(Array, Dims),
(
multifor(Idx, Dims, 1, -1),
foreach(X, Xs),
param(Array)
do
subscript(Array, Idx, X)
).

Flatten nested lists one level (cf. flatten/2 which flattens completely):

List = [[a,b],[[c,d,e],[f]],[g]],
(foreach(Xs,List) >> foreach(X,Xs), foreach(X,Ys) do true).

Iterate over all ordered pairs of integers 1..4 (param(I) required to make I available in body of loop):

(for(I,1,4) >> (for(J,I+1,4), param(I)) do writeln(I-J)).

Same for general 1..N (param(N) required to make N available to second for):

N=4,
((for(I,1,N), param(N)) >> (for(J,I+1,N), param(I)) do writeln(I-J)).   