F# Units of measure, problems with genericity

F# Units of measure, problems with genericity

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11 years ago

11 years ago

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(I’m still banging on with units of measure in F#)

I’m having a problem making ‘generic’ functions which take ‘typed’ floats.

The following mockup class is intended to keep tabs on a cumulative error in position, based on a factor ‘c’. The compiler doesn’t like me saying 0.<‘a> in the body of the type (“Unexpected type parameter in unit-of-measure literal”).

///Corrects cumulative error in position based on s and c
type Corrector(s_init:float<‘a>) =
let deltaS ds c = sin (ds / c) //incremental error function

//mutable values
let mutable nominal_s = s_init
let mutable error_s = 0.<‘a> //<– COMPILER NO LIKE

///Set new start pos and reset error to zero
member sc.Reset(s) =
nominal_s <- s
error_s <- 0.<‘a> //<– COMPILER NO LIKE

///Pass in new pos and c to corrector, returns corrected s and current error
member sc.Next(s:float<‘a>, c:float<‘a>) =
let ds = s – nominal_s //distance since last request
nominal_s <- s //update nominal s
error_s <- error_s + (deltaS ds c) //calculate cumulative error
(nominal_s + error_s, error_s) //pass back tuple

Another related question, I believe, still to do with ‘generic’ functions.

In the following code, what I am trying to do is make a function which will take a #seq of any type of floats and apply it to a function which only accepts ‘vanilla’ floats. The third line gives a ‘Value Restriction’ error, and I can’t see any way out. (Removing the # solves the problem, but I’d like to avoid having to write the same thing for lists, seqs, arrays etc.)

[<Measure>] type km //define a unit of measure
let someFloatFn x = x + 1.2 //this is a function which takes ‘vanilla’ floats
let MapSeqToNonUnitFunction (x:#seq<float<‘a>>) = (float >> someFloatFn) x
let testList = [ 1 .. 4 ] |> float |> ((*) 1.0<km>)
MapSeqToNonUnitFunction testList

f# units-of-measurement

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edited May 23 ’17 at 12:19


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asked Jan 20 ’09 at 10:38


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2 Answers





You can change the first ‘compiler no like’ to

let mutable error_s : float<‘a> = 0.0<_>

and the compiler seems to like that.

As for the second question, I am not seeing the same error as you, and this

[<Measure>] type km
//define a unit of measure
let someFloatFn x = x + 1.2 //this is a function which takes ‘vanilla’ floats
let MapSeqToNonUnitFunction (x:seq<float<_>>) = (float >> someFloatFn) x
let testList = [ 1 .. 4 ] |> float |> ((*) 1.0<km>)
let testList2 = testList :> seq<_>
let result = MapSeqToNonUnitFunction testList2
printfn “%A” result

compiles for me (though the upcast to seq<_> is a little annoying, I am not sure if there is an easy way to get rid of it or not).

Aside, I think convention is to name units parameters ‘u, ‘v, … rather than ‘a, ‘b, …

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answered Jan 20 ’09 at 20:41


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I’ll let this stand as the answer, as it answered two thirds of my question. And thanks for the reminder about naming convention. I’d have liked to avoid the upcast too.

– Benjol
Feb 16 ’09 at 21:05

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Units of measure cannot be used as type parameters. This is because the are erased by the compiler during compilation. This question is quite similar:
F# Units of measure – ‘lifting’ values to float<something>

share|improve this answer

edited May 23 ’17 at 12:19


111 silver badge

answered Jan 20 ’09 at 11:33


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I asked that one too, I must be a bit slow on the uptake! I guess this means I have two options – either I force to a given unit, or I pass in my zero value?

– Benjol
Jan 20 ’09 at 11:54

I’m not sure I understand what you mean by cannot be used as type parameters, ‘cos this works: let fn (a:float<‘a>) (b:float<‘a>) = a * b

– Benjol
Jan 20 ’09 at 12:03

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