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8.3  Arithmetic Functions

8.3.1  Predefined Arithmetic Functions

The following predefined arithmetic functions are available. E, E1 and E2 stand for arbitrary arithmetic expressions.


Function Description Argument Types Result Type
+ E unary plus number number
– E unary minus number number
abs(E) absolute value number number
sgn(E) sign value number integer
floor(E) round down to integral value number number
ceiling(E) round up to integral value number number
round(E) round to nearest integral value number number
truncate(E) truncate to integral value number number
E1 + E2 addition number number number
E1 – E2 subtraction number number number
E1 * E2 multiplication number number number
E1 / E2 division number number see below
E1 // E2 integer division (truncate) integer integer integer
E1 rem E2 integer remainder integer integer integer
E1 div E2 integer division (floor) integer integer integer
E1 mod E2 integer modulus integer integer integer
gcd(E1,E2) greatest common divisor integer integer integer
lcm(E1,E2) least common multiple integer integer integer
E1 ^ E2 power operation number number number
min(E1,E2) minimum of 2 values number number number
max(E1,E2) maximum of 2 values number number number
\ E bitwise complement integer integer
E1 /\ E2 bitwise conjunction integer integer integer
E1 \/ E2 bitwise disjunction integer integer integer
xor(E1,E2) bitwise exclusive disjunction integer integer integer
E1 >> E2 shift E1 right by E2 bits integer integer integer
E1 << E2 shift E1 left by E2 bits integer integer integer
sin(E) trigonometric function number real
cos(E) trigonometric function number real
tan(E) trigonometric function number real
asin(E) trigonometric function number real
acos(E) trigonometric function number real
atan(E) trigonometric function number real
atan(E1,E1) trigonometric function number number real
exp(E) exponential function ex number real
ln(E) natural logarithm number real
sqrt(E) square root number real
pi the constant pi = 3.1415926... float
e the constant e = 2.7182818... float
fix(E) convert to integer (truncate) number integer
integer(E) convert to integer (exact) number integer
float(E) convert to float number float
breal(E) convert to bounded real number breal
rational(E) convert to rational number rational
rationalize(E) convert to rational number rational
numerator(E) extract numerator of a rational integer or rational integer
denominator(E) extract denominator of a rational integer or rational integer
sum(L) sum of list elements list number
min(L) minimum of list elements list number
max(L) maximum of list elements list number
eval(E) evaluate runtime expression term number



Argument types other than specified yield a type error. As an argument type, number stands for integer, rational, float or breal with the type conversions as specified above. As a result type, number stands for the more general of the argument types, and real stands for float or breal. The division operator / yields either a rational or a float result, depending on the value of the global flag prefer_rationals. The same is true for the result of ^ if an integer is raised to a negative integral power.

The integer division // rounds the result towards zero (truncates), while the div division rounds towards negative infinity (floor). Each division function is paired with a corresponding remainder function: (rem computes the remainder corresponding to //, and mod computes the remainder corresponding to div 4. The remainder results differ only in the case where the two arguments have opposite signs. The relationship between them is as follows:
X =:= (X rem Y) + (X // Y) * Y
X =:= (X mod Y) + (X div Y) * Y
This table gives an overview:
      10 x 3   -10 x 3   10 x -3   -10 x -3

//       3        -3       -3          3
rem      1        -1        1         -1
div      3        -4       -4          3
mod      1         2       -2         -1

8.3.2  Evaluation Mechanism

An arithmetic expression is a Prolog term that is made up of variables, numbers, atoms and compound terms, e.g.
3 * 1.5 + Y / sqrt(pi)
Compound terms are evaluated by first evaluating their arguments and then calling the corresponding evaluation predicate. The evaluation predicate associated with a compound term func(a_1,..,a_n) is the predicate func/(n+1). It receives a_1,..,a_n as its first n arguments and returns a numeric result as its last argument. This result is then used in the arithmetic computation. For instance, the expression above would be evaluated by the goal sequence
*(3,1.5,T1), sqrt(3.14159,T2), /(Y,T2,T3), +(T1,T3,T4)
where Ti are auxiliary variables created by the system to hold intermediate results.

Although this evaluation mechanism is usually transparent to the user, it becomes visible when errors occur, when subgoals are delayed, or when inline-expanded code is traced.

8.3.3  User Defined Arithmetic Functions

This evaluation mechanism outlined above is not restricted to the predefined arithmetic functions shown in the table. In fact it works for all atoms and compound terms. It is therefore possible to define a new arithmetic operation by just defining an evaluating predicate:
[eclipse 1]: [user].
 :- op(200, yf, !).             % let's have some syntaxtic sugar
 !(N, F) :- fac(N, 1, F).
 fac(0, F0, F) :- !, F=F0.
 fac(N, F0, F) :- N1 is N-1, F1 is F0*N, fac(N1, F1, F).
 user       compiled traceable 504 bytes in 0.00 seconds

yes.
[eclipse 2]: X is 23!.       % calls !/2

X = 25852016738884976640000
yes.
Note that this mechanism is not only useful for user-defined predicates, but can also be used to call ECLiPSe built-ins inside arithmetic expressions, eg.
T is cputime - T0.
L is string_length("abcde") - 1.
which call cputime/1 and string_length/2 respectively. Any predicate that returns a number as its last argument can be used in a similar manner.

However there is a difference compared to the evaluation of the predefined arithmetic functions (as listed in the table above): The arguments of the user-defined arithmetic expression are not evaluated but passed unchanged to the evaluating predicate. E.g. the expression twice(3+4) is transformed into the goal twice(3+4, Result) rather than twice(7, Result). This makes sense because otherwise it would not be possible to pass any compound term to the predicate. If evaluation is wanted, the user-defined predicate can explicitly call is/2 or use eval/1.

8.3.4  Runtime Expressions

In order to enable efficient compilation of arithmetic expressions, ECLiPSe requires that variables in compiled arithmetic expressions must be bound to numbers at runtime, not symbolic expressions. E.g. in the following code p/1 will only work when called with a numerical argument, else it will raise error 24:
p(Number) :- Res is 1 + Number, ...
To make it work even when the argument gets bound to a symbolic expression at runtime, use eval/1 as in the following example:
p(Expr) :- Res is 1 + eval(Expr), ...
If the expression is the only argument of is/2, the eval/1 may be omitted.


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