Bowling on a Tardis

> {-# LANGUAGE DoRec #-}
> import Control.Monad.Tardis

A few months ago, I released the tardis package. I promised a few blog posts about it, but put it off until now. If you haven’t heard of my "tardis" package yet, then you should probably take a look at the hackage documentation I’ve already written up for Control.Monad.Tardis.


Let’s whip up a contrived example to which Tardis is applicable. Bowling scores is one such example, because the score you have on a given frame depends on both the past score as well as up to two future throws. Any time you need to know something from both the past and the future, Tardis might be able to help.

Let’s first define a data type that captures the essence of a bowling game. A game consists of 10 "frames". Although we model a single Frame as a data type, there are special rules that apply to the final frame, so we will model it separately as LFrame.

> data BowlingGame = BowlingGame
>   { frames :: [Frame]  -- should be 9, too tedious to type restrict
>   , lastFrame :: LFrame }
> data Frame = Strike
>            | Spare { firstThrow :: Int }
>            | Frame { firstThrow, secondThrow :: Int }
> data LFrame = LStrike { bonus1, bonus2 :: Int }
>             | LSpare { throw1, bonus1 :: Int }
>             | LFrame { throw1, throw2 :: Int }

For details on how bowling is scored, see Wikipedia > Bowling # Scoring.

Sample data

Here’s a few games’ worth of sample bowling data.

> --    X  9/ X  X  X   81  7/  X   X   XXX
> -- 0  20 40 70 98 117 126 146 176 206 236
> -- this guy is really good.
> sampleGame = BowlingGame
>   { frames =
>     [ Strike    , Spare 9
>     , Strike    , Strike
>     , Strike    , Frame 8 1
>     , Spare 7   , Strike
>     , Strike
>     ]
>   , lastFrame = LStrike 10 10
>   }
> perfectGame = BowlingGame
>   { frames = replicate 9 Strike
>   , lastFrame = LStrike 10 10
>   }
> worstGame = BowlingGame
>   { frames = replicate 9 (Frame 0 0)
>   , lastFrame = LFrame 0 0
>   }
> main = mapM_ (print . toScores) [sampleGame, perfectGame, worstGame]

Using a Tardis

Well now we want to write the function toScores :: BowlingGame -> [Int]. We’ll do this by stepping through each Frame and creating the appropriate score. Whenever using a Tardis, I recommend you create separate newtypes for the backwards- and forwards-travelling state so you don’t get them mixed up.

> newtype PreviousScores = PreviousScores [Int]
> newtype NextThrows = NextThrows (Int, Int)

Here I’ve chosen the newtype PreviousScores for the forwards state, (because coming from the past to the present is moving "forwards" in time) and NextThrows as the backwards state (because coming from the future to the present is moving "backwards" in time).

> toScores :: BowlingGame -> [Int]
> toScores game = flip evalTardis initState $ go (frames game) where
>   go :: [Frame] -> Tardis NextThrows PreviousScores [Int]

First, we handle the case where we have another frame to process. We begin by assuming we have access to the next two throws (nextThrow1 and nextThrow2), as well as the previous score.

>   go (f : fs) = do
>     rec
>       let (score', throws') = case f of
>             Strike    -> (score + 10 + nextThrow1 + nextThrow2, (10, nextThrow1))
>             Spare n   -> (score + 10 + nextThrow1,              (n, 10 - n))
>             Frame n m -> (score + n + m,                        (n, m))

We need to determine the new state for each of the two streams of state. score' is determined by a combination of the previous score, the current frame, and future throws. This is the new score that we will send forwards in time. throws' is determined only by the current frame and future throws. This is the new "next two throws" that we will send backwards in time, which is why we put the current frame’s first throw as the earliest.

Now that we’ve got that figured out, we just use the tardis’s capabilities in order to retrieve and send information along its correct time stream. A good rule of thumb seems to be, if you want to get information from the past, then send the past some information first. Likewise, if you want info from the future, then send it some info first. However, I have no idea if this rule of thumb is necessary at all; the Tardis will sometimes Just Work even if you jumble it up a little.

>       sendPast $ NextThrows throws'
>       PreviousScores scores@(score : _) <- getPast
>       sendFuture $ PreviousScores (score' : scores)
>       NextThrows ~(nextThrow1, nextThrow2) <- getFuture

Great! Finally, we move on to the rest of the frames.

>     go fs

Once we run out of frames, we need to handle the last frame. There is no future to be concerned about, and we can just set up the values to be sent to the recent past via initState, so all we have to do is look at the past score, add the final frame’s score, and we’re done.

>   go [] = do
>     PreviousScores scores@(score : _) <- getPast
>     return $ (finalFrameScore + score) : scores

All that’s left is to figure out how to determine the final frame’s score, as well as the initial state. The former is easy, given the specifications of how to score a bowling game.

>   finalFrameScore = case lastFrame game of
>     LStrike b1 b2 -> 10 + b1 + b2
>     LSpare  t1 b1 -> 10 + b1
>     LFrame  t1 t2 -> t1 + t2

The "initial state" fed into a tardis is the farthest past for the forwards-travelling state, and the farthest future for the backwards-travelling state. The farthest past is a score of zero, while the farthest future is the final two throws of the game. Well, not quite. It’s the final two throws that come before the second-to-last frame. The last frame is guaranteed to consist of at least two throws. In the case of LStrike or LSpare, there are always three throws in the last frame, so the final throw is ignored. Remember, we’re sending the past its "closest" future two throws.

>   initState = (NextThrows $ case lastFrame game of
>     LStrike b1 b2 -> (10, b1)
>     LSpare t1 _b1 -> (t1, 10 - t1)
>     LFrame t1 t2  -> (t1, t2)
>     , PreviousScores [0])

And… that’s it! All we had to do was encode the rules of Bowling into a Tardis, and via some timey-wimey trickery, the Tardis assembles all of the information into a list of bowling scores, from the last frame to the first.

ghci> main

Exercise: download this code, and remove the tilde (~) from line 133. What happens? Why?

Next time

Bowling was a rather simple example, to warm you up to the idea of what a Tardis is and what it can do. Next time, we’ll get even more timey-wimey by sketching out the concept of "seers" with nothing more than tardis primitives and a vague idea of some ground rules to rationally explain how you might describe a believable system of "seers" in a fictional setting.

About Dan Burton

I love functional programming and awesome type systems, which makes Haskell my obvious language of choice.
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1 Response to Bowling on a Tardis

  1. Pingback: November links and activities | Mental Wilderness

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