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Equipage

Equipage is the language that Carriage might have been had I not been so concerned about quoting. (See "Discussion: Quoting", below.)

Equipage is a purely concatenative programming language. In this context, that means:

Thus, the meaning of a program is a function that takes stacks to stacks. Since the program generally only deals with one stack at a time, it is also possible to think of this as a single stack ("the" stack) which gets modified over time.

The stack contains zero or more elements, and each element may be one of two kinds of values: unbounded integers, and functions which take stacks to stacks. The stack is generally accessed in a LIFO fashion, with a few strategic exceptions.

Here is a table mapping the legal Equipage symbols to functions.

!        apply
;        push *apply* onto the stack
.        push *compose* onto the stack
$        push *pop* onto the stack
\        push *swap* onto the stack
+        push *add* onto the stack
-        push *sub* onto the stack
%        push *sign* onto the stack
~        push *pick* onto the stack
1        push *one* onto the stack
<space>  nop

(where <space> represents any whitespace character.)

And here is an informal description of the functions named in the above table.

apply:   pop a function off the stack and apply it to the rest of the stack
compose: pop a function g, then a function h, off the stack, then push g∘h
pop:     pop a value off the stack and discard it
swap:    pop a value a, then a value b, off the stack, then push a, then push b
add:     pop a value a, then a value b, off the stack, then push a + b
sub:     pop a value a, then a value b, off the stack, then push b - a
sign:    pop a value off the stack, then push 1, 0, or -1, depending on its sign
pick:    pop a value n off the stack, then copy the n'th element on the stack
         and push it onto the stack.  If n is negative, work from bottom of stack.
one:     push the value 1 onto the stack
nop:     do nothing to the stack.  (identity function.)

So. Here is an example program text:

1!$!

Given the above table, this program maps to the function

push(one) ∘ apply ∘ push(pop) ∘ apply

which can be thought of operationally as doing the following when run:

The remainder of this document gives some examples of Equipage programs, which also serve as test cases, and then discusses some aspects of the language's design.

Equipage Tests

-> Tests for functionality "Interpret Equipage Program"

-> Functionality "Interpret Equipage Program" is implemented by
-> shell command "bin/equipage %(test-body-file)"

-> Functionality "Interpret Equipage Program" is implemented by
-> shell command
-> "python3 impl/equipage.py/equipage.py %(test-body-file)"

one, apply

Pushing numbers on the stack. Note stacks are outputted top-to-bottom.

1!
===> [1]

1!1!
===> [1,1]

apply (deferred)

apply, as a function which is pushed onto the stack.

1;!
===> [1]

add

Pop two values, then push their sum.

1!1!+!
===> [2]

nop

Space and newline are both whitespace is nop.

1!  1!1!+!
1!1!+!1!+!
===> [3,2,1]

swap, pop

Test \ (swap) and $ (pop).

1!  1!1!+!  1!1!+!1!+!   \!$!
===> [3,1]

sub

Test -.

1!  1!1!+!  1!1!+!1!+!   +!+!  1!-!
===> [5]

sign

Test % (sign).

1!1!+!1!+!   %!
===> [1]

1!1!-!1!-!   %!
===> [-1]

1!1!-!       %!
===> [0]

pick

pick with a positive index picks from the top of the stack.

1!  1!1!+!  1!1!+!1!+!    1!              ~!
===> [3,3,2,1]

1!  1!1!+!  1!1!+!1!+!    1!1!+!          ~!
===> [2,3,2,1]

Picking from the very top of the stack has the effect of duplicating the top stack element, so the idiom for dup found in some other languages is 1!~!.

pick with a negative index picks from the bottom of the stack.

1!  1!1!+!  1!1!+!1!+!    1!1!-!1!-!      ~!
===> [1,3,2,1]

1!  1!1!+!  1!1!+!1!+!    1!1!-!1!-!1!-!  ~!
===> [2,3,2,1]

pick with a zero index is zero, always.

1!  1!1!+!  1!1!+!1!+!    1!1!-!          ~!
===> [0,3,2,1]

compose

Compose pop and swap into a single function, and apply it.

1!  1!1!+!  1!1!+!1!+!    \$.!    !
===> [3,1]

idiom: compose + pick + apply = call

One idiom we forsee being used in Equipage is creating re-usable functions using composition (on primitives and other functions) and storing them at the bottom of the stack. When one wishes to use one of these functions, one would pick it using its known (negative!) index, and apply it.

Create a function which pushes 2 onto the stack, and apply it several times.

11+.!.!
1!1!-!1!-!~!;!
1!1!-!1!-!~!;!
1!1!-!1!-!~!;!
===> [2,2,2,<fn>]

(Yes, the code to fetch and apply the function, is longer than the function itself. So it goes.)

Create a function which doubles the value on the stack, and apply it to 1 several times.

1~+.!.!
1!
1!1!-!1!-!~!;!
1!1!-!1!-!~!;!
1!1!-!1!-!~!;!
===> [8,<fn>]

idiom: sign + pick = if

If we push a onto the stack, then b, then take the sign of a value, then add one, then perform a pick, we will get a if the value was positive and b if the value was zero. If a and b are functions, we can then apply the one we get.

In this example, a is 2, b is 3, and the value is zero.

1!1!+!  1!1!+!1!+!
1!1!-!
%!1!+!~!
===> [3,3,2]

In this example, a is 2, b is 3, and the value is 4.

1!1!+!  1!1!+!1!+!
1!1!+!1!1!+!+!
%!1!+!~!
===> [2,3,2]

It's possible to do a variant of this that picks from the bottom of the stack. We'll see how to do that in a more exhaustive test below.

idiom: pick self + apply = loop

'self' could be provided any number of ways, but if the function that's currently executing is one of the common utility functions from the bottom of the stack (first idiom), it's simplest to just pick it like that.

This is an infinite loop. For that reason, it's not written as a Falderal test.

11-1-~;.!.!.!.!.!.!
1!1!-!1!-!~!;!

finally: if + loop = while loop

Let's pop all values off the stack until we hit a zero, and then stop.

Pseudocode:

def f1:
    duplicate value on stack
    if it is zero,
        stop
    else,
        pop it off
        f1

push 2, 0, 2, 1
f1

The result should be [0,2,<functions>].

Working out the pseudocode a bit:

def f1:
    duplicate value on stack
    take the sign
    if it is zero,
        f3 (i.e. -3, pick, apply)
    else,
        f2 (i.e. -2, pick, apply)

def f2:
    pop a value off the stack
    f1

def f3:
    do nothing

push 2, 0, 2, 1
f1

Translating the pseudocode to Equipage:

1~%1-1-1-~;
.!.!.!.!.!.!.!.!.!.!

$11-1-~;
.!.!.!.!.!.!.!

1$
.!

11+11-11+1
.!.!.!.!.!.!.!.!.!
!

11-1-~;
.!.!.!.!.!.!
!

Let's test these parts in isolation a bit maybe.

Initial stack:

11+11-11+1
.!.!.!.!.!.!.!.!.!
!
===> [1,2,0,2]

Nop:

1$
.!
!
===> []

Run f1 initially (here, f1 is nop):

1$
.!

11-1-~;
.!.!.!.!.!.!
!
===> [<fn>]

Everything but run.

1~%1-1-1-~;
.!.!.!.!.!.!.!.!.!.!

$11-1-~;
.!.!.!.!.!.!.!

1$
.!

11+11-11+1
.!.!.!.!.!.!.!.!.!
!

11-1-~;
.!.!.!.!.!.!
===> [<fn>,1,2,0,2,<fn>,<fn>,<fn>]

The final result:

1~%1-1-1-~;
.!.!.!.!.!.!.!.!.!.!

$11-1-~;
.!.!.!.!.!.!.!

1$
.!

11+11-11+1
.!.!.!.!.!.!.!.!.!
!

11-1-~;
.!.!.!.!.!.!
!
===> [0,2,<fn>,<fn>,<fn>]

Discussion: Computational Class

Equipage stores data on a LIFO stack; thus there is reason to suspect that it might not be Turing-complete, as it cannot access data arbitrarily.

However, we should consider the following:

Discussion: Quoting

Purely concatenative languages are almost embarassingly easy to interpret, in a functional language:

They are correspondingly easy to parse. While most programming languages require a context-free (or even context-sensitive) grammar to describe their syntax, a purely concatenative language can be parsed with a regular expression. (And in Equipage's case, not even a complex one.)

But many, probably most, concatenative languages are not purely so; that is, when specifying the program they incorporate some operations over and above function composition.

One such useful thing is quoting — being able to nest subprograms within a program, basically. This seems to be how many of them deal with function definitions.

But this nesting is exactly what requires the grammar to be context-free.

Carriage dealt with the issue of quoting by providing two interpretations of the program text: one where it is all quoted, another where it is all composed into a single function. This is very esolang. But was, I must admit, somewhat unsatisfying (otherwise why would I be writing this.)

Equipage's approach is to have almost every instruction "already quoted". That is, every symbol except ! simply pushes a function onto the stack. If you need to actually apply it, you have to do that "manually", by following it with !.

This results in long chains of x!y!z! for some instructions x, y, and z, and when you want to compose functions out of existing functions especially, long chains of .!.!.! whose length must match the number of composition operations involved in composing the constituent functions.

But if we're willing to add somewhat more complexity to the language, we can make something that is virtually the equivalent of syntactic quoting.

EquipageQ

-> Tests for functionality "Interpret EquipageQ Program"

-> Functionality "Interpret EquipageQ Program" is implemented by
-> shell command "bin/equipage -Q %(test-body-file)"

-> Functionality "Interpret EquipageQ Program" is implemented by
-> shell command
-> "python3 impl/equipage.py/equipage.py -Q %(test-body-file)"

We can define a minor dialect of Equipage, which we will call EquipageQ, which lets us handle quoting in a syntactically nicer way.

EquipageQ adds a special value, MARKER, which can appear on the stack. It also adds two new symbols to the vocabulary:

(        push *mark* onto the stack
)        push *define* onto the stack

(Note that, by having these symbols push functions onto the stack, we are following the Equipage approach. We will need to apply these with ! when we want to use them.)

The definition of those functions being

mark:    push a MARKER onto the stack
define:  keep popping functions off the stack, composing them,
         until a MARKER is popped; then push the resulting function
         onto the stack

That lets us write wxyz.!.!.! as (!wxyz)!, which is simpler, because we don't need to be careful that the number of compose operations matches the number of functions being composed.

And that lets us write the above program like:

(! 1~%1-1-1-~; )!
(! $11-1-~; )!
(! 1$ )!
(! 11+11-11+1 )!!
(! 11-1-~; )!!
===> [0,2,<fn>,<fn>,<fn>]

We can further say that if define exhausts the stack without seeing a MARKER it acts as if there was a MARKER at the very bottom of the stack. This permits us to say what the meaning of an Equipage program is, even if it contains unbalanced parentheses. This is of course not a full compensation for not having them as a syntactic construct, which, for the price of having a parsing phase, buys you things like being able to detect unbalanced parentheses without running the program.

Happy concatenating!
Chris Pressey
London, UK
June 12th, 2018