I started work on my ATS math library recently; though I'm not sure it will be a wholehearted success, there were parts that deserve attention.

Let us first consider the following Haskell function to check primality:

hsIsPrime :: Int -> Bool
hsIsPrime 1 = False
hsIsPrime x = all ((/=0) . (x `mod`

)) [2..m]
where m = floor (sqrt (fromIntegral x :: Float))

This is actually quite nice, but it is also far from "as fast as C". We can rewrite this in ATS as follows:

#include "share/atspre_staload.hats"

staload "libats/libc/SATS/math.sats"
staload UN = "prelude/SATS/unsafe.sats"

fun sqrt_int(k : intGt(0)) : [ m : nat ] int(m) =
let
var pre_bound: int = g0float2int(sqrt_float(g0int2float_int_float(k)))
var bound: [ m : nat ] int(m) = $UN.cast(pre_bound)
in
bound
end

fn is_prime(k : intGt(0)) : bool =
case+ k of
| 1 => false
| k =>
begin
let
fun loop {n : nat}{m : nat} .. (i : int(n), bound : int(m)) :<> bool =
if i < bound then
if k % i = 0 then
false
else
loop(i + 1, bound)
else
if i = bound then
if k % i = 0 then
false
else
true
else
true
in
loop(2, sqrt_int(k))
end
end

As can be seen, this is a bit more involved. Some of this is to be expected as we prove termination, but some of it is simply due to using a lower-level language.

Note first the rather involved termination metric here - we use `.<max(0,m-n)>.`

to ensure that it is well-founded. I learned this trick reading the ATS manual,
and I actually encourage prospective learners to do this as well; it can be hard
to get your hands on code samples.

Next, note the use of `:<>`

in the type signature of `loop`

.
This is how ATS manages effects. You can have
`:<!ntm>`

for a function that may not terminate, `:<!exn>`

for a function that
could throw an exception, etc. So `:<>`

simply means that the function is pure
and total (that is, terminating).

Finally, note the use of an existential type in the declaration `var bound: ...`

.
Existential types are a feature special to ATS; they are not present in any
mainstream languages or even Idris. The type `[ m : nat ] int(m)`

can then be
passed as an argument to `loop`

, though `loop`

takes the universally quantified
`{m : nat} ... bound: int(m)`

. Hence, we have a powerful technique that allows us to
take a function on an ordinary `int`

and nonetheless prove termination.

At this point, we can write a small Haskell wrapper. This is slightly dry, but I think it will be informative.

#define ATS_MAINATSFLAG 1

extern
fun is_prime_ats { n : nat | n > 0 } : int(n) -> bool =
"mac#"

implement is_prime_ats (n) =
is_prime(n)

This is the necessary code on the ATS side of things; it simply exposes the
function in the compiled library. We can compile it to C (placing it in `cbits`

per Haskell packaging convention) with:

$ mkdir -p cbits
$ patsopt -dd prime.dats -cc > cbits/prime.c

On the Haskell side we have the following:

module Numeric.NumberTheory where

import Data.Word
import Foreign.C

foreign import ccall unsafe is_prime_ats :: CInt -> CBool

convertBool :: CBool -> Bool
convertBool = go . fromIntegral
where
go :: Word8 -> Bool
go 0 = False
go 1 = True
go _ = False

isPrime :: Int -> Bool
isPrime = convertBool . is_prime_ats . fromIntegral

Our `.cabal`

file will be a bit simple-minded. We simply add the following to
our `library`

stanza:

c-sources: cbits/primes.c
include-dirs: /usr/local/lib/ats2-postiats-0.3.8/ccomp/runtime/
, /usr/local/lib/ats2-postiats-0.3.8/
ghc-options: -optc-mtune=native -optc-flto -optc-O3

Finally, we can benchmark both functions alongside one another:

Task | Language | Time |
---|---|---|

`isPrime 2017` |
ATS | 118.9 ns |

`isPrime 2017` |
Haskell | 497.3 ns |

This is exactly what we wanted - a 5x speedup compared to pure Haskell, with even more static guarantees to boot! With C, you can get the same speed (or perhaps even faster), but it always feels like an uncanny compromise. ATS allows us to write the functional code we want (with attendant safety guarantees) and still get the speed we need.