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Writing LISP functions

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2 COND Rule 1: Unless the function is extremely simple, begin with a COND If you can write the function body in one line, do it. If it's more complicated, use COND to break it into cases.

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3 NULL Rule 2: Test for a base case firstthis usually means testing for NULL (empty) list You should always handle the base (simplest) cases first. When you are working with lists, the simplest case is usually the empty list. Usually, you recur with the CDR of the list.

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4 Avoid multiple base cases Rule 2a: Avoid having more than one base case. You must always recur with a simpler case. When you are working with lists, the simplest case is usually the empty list. Usually, you recur with the CDR of the list.

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5 Example: multiple base cases (DEFUN UNION (SET1 SET2) (COND ((NULL SET1) SET2) ((NULL SET2) SET1) ; bad idea! ((MEMBER (CAR SET1) SET2) (UNION (CDR SET1) SET2)) (T (CONS (CAR SET1) (UNION (CDR SET1) SET2))) ) ) )

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6 Use CAR, recur with CDR Rule 3: Do something with the CAR, and recur with the CDR. Recursion involves doing some nonrecursive work, doing some recursive work, and combining the two. You typically do the simple work on the CAR and recur with the CDR, then combine.

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7 Deleting elements Rule 3a: To delete the CAR, just ignore it and recur with the CDR. Rule 3b: To keep the CAR unchanged, CONS it onto the result of recurring with the CDR. Extra work: deciding whether to keep the CAR. Combining results: adding the CAR to the result of recurring with the CDR.

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8 Example: Removing atoms from a list (DEFUN REMATOMS (L) (COND ((NULL L) L) ((ATOM (CAR L)) (REMATOMS (CDR L))) (T (CONS (CAR L) (REMATOMS (CDR L)))) ) ) 1 2 3a 3b

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9 Transforming elements Rule 3c: To transform the elements of a list, CONS the transformed CAR onto the result of recurring with the CDR. Extra work: transforming the CAR. Recur: with the CDR, as usual. Combine the results with CONS.

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10 Example: Adding one to each element (DEFUN ADDONE (L) (COND ((NULL L) L) (T (CONS (1+ (CAR L)) (ADDONE (CDR L)))) ) ) 1 2 3c

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11 Accumulating information Rule 4: In each case of a COND you can use the fact that all previous tests have failed. If you have tested whether a list is empty, later cases can take its CAR and CDR. If you have decided that the CAR is of no interest, you can ignore it and use the CDR.

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12 Example of accumulating information In fact, every time you use COND you are accumulating information as you go (DEFUN MEMBER (A LAT) (COND ((NULL LAT) NIL) ((EQ A (CAR LAT)) T) (T (MEMBER A (CDR LAT))) ) ) 4 4

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13 Ending the COND Rule 5: Use T as the last test in a COND. If you flow off the end of a COND, the result is undefined. This is a Bad Thing. You want to be sure you cover every case, but sometimes there are unexpected cases. Not every integer is positive, negative, or zero. T protects you from the forgotten cases.

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14 Example: UNION (DEFUN UNION (SET1 SET2) (COND ((NULL SET1) SET2) ((MEMBER (CAR SET1) SET2) (UNION (CDR SET1) SET2)) (T (CONS (CAR SET1) (UNION (CDR SET1) SET2))) ) ) ) 1 2 3, 3a 5, 3, 3b

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15 The End

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