Assignment 1: Recursion and Higher-Order Functional Abstractions

Recursion is the root of computation since it trades description for time.

Guidelines for this assignment

  • Solutions must be recursive (naturally recursive unless not possible), or credit will not be given.
  • You may not use built-in procedures that handle the bulk of the work.
  • Please feel free to submit your work as many times as you wish, we will grade the last submission prior to the due date (and time).
  • Named lets (aka “let loop”) should not be used on this assignment.
  • The objective is not simply to write programs that get the correct answers; it is to write answers in the style of programs written in class.
  • To get our same answers, you'll want to either set (print-as-expression #f) in your file, or in DrRacket go to Language>Output Language>Output Syntax and change the Output Style radio button from print to write.
  • Make sure to title your file a1.rkt when you submit your homework.

Testing your assignment

You must test your solutions before submitting your assignment. We have provided a suite of test cases to get you started. To run these tests, you must download the a1-student-tests.rkt test file. To use these tools, do the following in a Racket REPL (the code and test suite must be located in the same directory):

> (require "a1-student-tests.rkt")
> (test-file #:file-name "a1.rkt")

and that should get you going. Of course, these tests are not exhaustive; you should add your own tests as well.


As you proceed with this assignment, you may find the following resources helpful.

  • Notes on recursive functions for repeated addition/multiplication/exponentiation/etc.
  • Simplification of the Ackermann function to standard form.


Write the following recursive Racket procedures. Place all of your code in a file named a1.rkt, and submit it via Oncourse. Please make sure your file has exactly this filename, and that it runs, before submitting.

0. We've recently updated the course policies for the semester. Please read through them before beginning the rest of the assignment.

1. Define and test a procedure countdown that takes a natural number and returns a list of the natural numbers less than or equal to that number, in descending order.

> (countdown 5)
(5 4 3 2 1 0)

2. Define and test a procedure insertR that takes two symbols and a list and returns a new list with the second symbol inserted after each occurrence of the first symbol. For this and later questions, these functions need only hold over eqv?-comparable structures.

> (insertR 'x 'y '(x z z x y x))
(x y z z x y y x y)

3. Define and test a procedure remv-1st that takes a a symbol and a list and returns a new list with the first occurrence of the symbol removed.

> (remv-1st 'x '(x y z x))
(y z x)
> (remv-1st 'y '(x y z y x))
(x z y x)

4. Define and test a procedure list-index-ofv? that takes an element and a list and returns the (base 0) index of that element in the list. A list missing that element will be considered bad data.

> (list-index-ofv? 'x '(x y z x x))
> (list-index-ofv? 'x '(y z x x))

5. Define and test a procedure filter that takes a predicate and a list and returns a new list containing the elements that satisfy the predicate. A predicate is a procedure that takes a single argument and returns either #t or #f. The number? predicate, for example, returns #t if its argument is a number and #f otherwise. The argument satisfies the predicate, then, if the predicate returns #t for that argument.

> (filter even? '(1 2 3 4 5 6))
(2 4 6)

6. Define and test a procedure zip that takes two lists and forms a new list, each element of which is a pair formed by combining the corresponding elements of the two input lists. If the two lists are of uneven length, then drop the tail of the longer one.

> (zip '(1 2 3) '(a b c))
((1 . a) (2 . b) (3 . c))
> (zip '(1 2 3 4 5 6) '(a b c))
((1 . a) (2 . b) (3 . c))
> (zip '(1 2 3) '(a b c d e f))
((1 . a) (2 . b) (3 . c))

7. Define and test a procedure map that takes a procedure p of one argument and a list ls and returns a new list containing the results of applying p to the elements of ls. Do not use Racket's built-in map in your definition.

> (map add1 '(1 2 3 4))
(2 3 4 5)

8. Define and test a procedure append that takes two lists, ls1 and ls2, and appends ls1 to ls2.

> (append '(a b c) '(1 2 3))
(a b c 1 2 3)

9. Define and test a procedure reverse that takes a list and returns the reverse of that list.

> (reverse '(a 3 x))
(x 3 a)

10. Define and test a procedure fact that takes a natural number and computes the factorial of that number. The factorial of a number is computed by multiplying it by the factorial of its predecessor. The factorial of 0 is defined to be 1.

> (fact 0)
> (fact 5)

11. Define and test a procedure memv that takes an element and a list and returns the first cdr whose car is eqv? to the element, or #f if the element is absent from the list.

> (memv 'a '(a b c))
(a b c)
> (memv 'b '(a ? c))
> (memv 'b '(a b c b))
(b c b)

12. Define and test a procedure fib that takes a natural number n as input and computes the nth number, starting from zero, in the Fibonacci sequence (0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, …). Each number in the sequence is computed by adding the two previous numbers.

> (fib 0)
> (fib 1)
> (fib 7)

13. The expressions (a b) and (a . (b . ())) are equivalent. Using this knowledge, rewrite the expression ((w x) y (z)) using as many dots as possible. Be sure to test your solution using Racket's equal? predicate. (You do not have to define a rewrite procedure; just rewrite the given expression by hand and place it in a comment.)

14. Define and test a procedure binary->natural that takes a flat list of 0s and 1s representing an unsigned binary number in reverse bit order and returns that number. For example:

> (binary->natural '())
> (binary->natural '(0 0 1))
> (binary->natural '(0 0 1 1))
> (binary->natural '(1 1 1 1))
> (binary->natural '(1 0 1 0 1))
> (binary->natural '(1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1))

15. Define subtraction using natural recursion. Your subtraction function, minus, need only take nonnegative inputs where the result will be nonnegative.

> (minus 5 3)
> (minus 100 50)

16. Define division using natural recursion. Your division function, div, need only work when the second number evenly divides the first. Division by zero is of course bad data.

> (div 25 5)
> (div 36 6)

17. Define a function append-map that, similar to map, takes both a procedure p of one argument a list of inputs ls and applies p to each of the elements of ls. Here, though, we mandate that the result of p on each element of ls is a list, and we append together the intermediate results. Do not use Racket's built-in append-map in your definition.

> (append-map countdown (countdown 5))
(5 4 3 2 1 0 4 3 2 1 0 3 2 1 0 2 1 0 1 0 0)

18. Define a function set-difference that takes two flat sets (lists with no duplicate elements) s1 and s2 and returns a list containing all the elements in s1 that are not in s2.

> (set-difference '(1 2 3 4 5) '(2 4 6 8))
(1 3 5)


19. In mathematics, the power set of any set S, denoted P(S), is the set of all subsets of S, including the empty set and S itself.

The procedure powerset takes a list and returns the power set of the elements in the list. The exact order of your lists may differ; this is acceptable.

> (powerset '(3 2 1))
((3 2 1) (3 2) (3 1) (3) (2 1) (2) (1) ())
> (powerset '())

20. The cartesian-product is defined over a list of sets (again simply lists that by our agreed upon convention don't have duplicates). The result is a list of tuples (i.e. lists). Each tuple has in the first position an element of the first set, in the second position an element of the second set, etc. The output list should contains all such combinations. The exact order of your tuples may differ; this is acceptable.

> (cartesian-product '((5 4) (3 2 1)))
((5 3) (5 2) (5 1) (4 3) (4 2) (4 1))

21. Rewrite some of the natural-recursive programs from above instead using foldr. That is, the bodies of your definitions should not refer to themselves. The names should be the following:

  • insertR-fr
  • filter-fr
  • map-fr
  • append-fr
  • reverse-fr
  • binary->natural-fr
  • append-map-fr
  • set-difference-fr
  • powerset-fr
  • cartesian-product-fr

22. Consider a function f defined as below

It is an open question in mathematics, known as the Collatz Conjecture, as to whether, for every positive integer n, (f n) is 1.

Your task is to, complete the below definition of collatz. collatz should be a function which will, when given a positive integer as an input, operate in a manner similar to the mathematical description above.

(define collatz
       (lambda (recur)
         (lambda (x)
            ((and (positive? x) (odd? x)) (collatz (add1 (* x 3)))) 
            (else (recur x))))))
       (lambda (recur)
         (lambda (x)
            ((and (positive? x) (even? x)) (collatz (/ x 2))) 
            (else (recur x))))))
       (lambda (recur)
         (lambda (x)
            ((zero? (sub1 x)) 1)
            (else (recur x))))))
       (lambda (x)
         (error 'error "Invalid value ~s~n" x))))
    ... ;; this should be a single line, without lambda

Your completed answer should be very short. It should be no more than one (prettily-indented) line long, and should not use lambda. Your collatz should compute the collatz of positive integers; for non-positive integers, it should signal an error “Invalid value”.

> (collatz 12)
> (collatz 120)
> (collatz 9999)

Just Dessert

21. A quine is a program whose output is the listings (i.e. source code) of the original program. In Racket, 5 and #t are both quines.

> 5
> #t

We will call a quine in Racket that is neither a number nor a boolean an interesting Racket quine. Below is an interesting Racket quine.

> ((lambda (x) (list x (list 'quote x)))
  '(lambda (x) (list x (list 'quote x))))
((lambda (x) (list x (list 'quote x)))
  '(lambda (x) (list x (list 'quote x))))

Write your own interesting Racket quine, and define it as quine. The following should then be true.

> (equal? quine (eval quine))
> (equal? quine (eval (eval quine)))

Not every Racket list is a quine; Racket's standard printing convention will prepend a quote to a list. Make sure to use the above tests.


assignment-1.txt · Last modified: 2015/10/25 16:58 by jhemann