collect-errors: Error monad with a Float instance

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Please see the README on GitHub at

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Dependencies base (>=4.7 && <5), containers, deepseq, QuickCheck (>=2.7) [details]
License BSD-3-Clause
Copyright 2021 Michal Konecny
Author Michal Konecny
Category Math
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Uploaded by MichalKonecny at 2021-05-18T00:12:07Z
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Last success reported on 2021-05-18 [all 1 reports]


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Maintainer's Corner

For package maintainers and hackage trustees


Readme for collect-errors-

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This package provides an error collecting mechanism. Using CN Double instead of Double replaces NaNs and infinities with more informative error descriptions.

API documentation available on the Hackage page.

Table of contents

1. Feature highlights

CollectErrors es t is a monad wrapper around values of type t which can accommodate (a list of) (potential) errors of type es that have (maybe) occurred during the computation of a value. A value may be missing, leaving only the error(s).

The wrapper CN t is a special case of CollectErrors es t with es = NumErrors.

1.1. Error collecting

The CN wrapper propagates instances of Floating, allowing us to write expressions with partial functions (ie functions that fail for some inputs) instead of branching after each application of such function:

$ stack ghci collect-errors:lib --no-load --ghci-options Numeric.CollectErrors
*Numeric.CollectErrors> a = 1 :: CN Double
*Numeric.CollectErrors> (1/(a-1))+(sqrt (a-2))
{{ERROR: division by 0; ERROR: out of domain: sqrt for negative arg -1.0}}

as opposed to:

*Prelude> a = 1 :: Double
*Prelude> (1/(a-1))+(sqrt (a-2))

1.2. Error investigation

Dealing with the errors can be moved outside the expression:

*Numeric.CollectErrors> a = 1 :: CN Double
*Numeric.CollectErrors> toEither $ 1/(a-1)
Left {ERROR: division by 0}

*Numeric.CollectErrors> toEither $ 1/a+(sqrt a)
Right 2.0

An alternative way to branch based on errors is provided by the function withErrorOrValue:

...> a = 2 :: CN Double
...> withErrorOrValue (const 0) id (1/a)

The CN wrapper can be forcibly removed as follows:

...> :t unCN (1/a)
... :: Double

...> unCN (1/a)

...> unCN (1/(a-2))
*** Exception: CollectErrors: {ERROR: division by 0}

1.3. Undecided comparisons

The following examples require the interval arithmetic package aern2-mp and its dependency mixed-types-num:

$ stack ghci aern2-mp:lib --no-load --ghci-options AERN2.MP
*AERN2.MP> import MixedTypesNumPrelude
*AERN2.MP MixedTypesNumPrelude>

Comparisons involving sets (such as intervals) are undecided when the intervals overlap:

...> pi100 = piBallP (prec 100)
...> :t pi100
pi100 :: MPBall
...> pi100
[3.1415926535897932384626433832793333156439620213... ± ~7.8886e-31 ~2^(-100)]

...> 0 < pi100

...> pi100 == pi100

The values CertainTrue and TrueOrFalse are part of the three-valued type Kleenean provided by

The above equality cannot be decided since pi100 is not a single number but a set of numbers spanning the interval and the comparison operator cannot tell if the two operands sets represent the same number or a different number.

The Prelude Floating instance for CN cannot be used reliably with interval arithmetic because the instance relies on true/false comparisons:

...> import qualified Prelude as P
... P> (cn pi100) P./ (cn pi100 - cn pi100)
*** Exception: Failed to decide equality of MPBalls.  If you switch to MixedTypesNumPrelude instead of Prelude, comparison of MPBalls returns Kleenean instead of Bool.

Using its Kleenean comparisons, package mixed-types-num provides alternative numerical type classes in which errors are detected and collected correctly when using the CN wrapper:

...> (cn pi100) / (cn pi100 - cn pi100)
{{POTENTIAL ERROR: division by 0}}

1.4. Potential errors

As we see in the above example, the CN wrapper supports potential errors that sometimes arise as a consequence of undecided comparisons.

When an error is present (which can be checked using hasError), the function hasCertainError can be used to further distinguish cases where the error is certain or potential:

...> import qualified Numeric.CollectErrors as CN
...> CN.hasCertainError $ (cn pi100) / (cn 0)

...> CN.hasCertainError $ (cn pi100) / (cn pi100 - cn pi100)

Sometimes the potential errors are harmless:

...> sqrt (cn pi100 - cn pi100)
[0.0000000000000006280369834735100420368561502297... ± ~6.2804e-16 ~2^(-50)]{{POTENTIAL ERROR: out of domain: negative sqrt argument}}

Such harmless potential errors can be ignored using clearPotentialErrors:

...> clearPotentialErrors $ sqrt (cn pi100 - cn pi100)
[0.0000000000000006280369834735100420368561502297... ± ~6.2804e-16 ~2^(-50)]