By Raphael Finkel
This available new quantity examines and evaluates the rules of programming languages from either their universal and language-specific parts. each one bankruptcy is dedicated to a selected programming language factor. those concerns are illustrated with an instance from one of many many programming languages used this day.
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4 POWER LOOPS 49 4 ◆ POWER LOOPS Although the programmer usually knows exactly how deeply loops must nest, there are some problems for which the depth of nesting depends on the data. Programmers usually turn to recursion to handle these cases; each level of nesting is a new level of recursion. However, there is a clearer alternative that can generate faster code. The alternative has recently2 been called power loops [Mandl 90]. The idea is to have an array of control variables and to build a loop that iterates over all control variables.
For example, the standard library packaged with C has a global variable errno that indicates the most recent error that occurred in performing an operating-system call. 2 COROUTINES 31 The programmer can choose to ignore return values and inspect errno well into the calculation, redirecting further effort if an error has occurred. The program is likely to be more efficient and clearer than a program that surrounds code with exception handlers. This point is especially important in numerical computations on large data sets on highly pipelined computers.
They can be implemented efficiently on a single stack. Perhaps they have not caught on because, like general coroutines, they provide expressiveness in an arena where most programs do not need it. The only application I have ever found for which CLU iterators give me just what I need has been solving combinatorial puzzles, 52 CHAPTER 2 CONTROL STRUCTURES and these don’t crop up often. Power loops have less to recommend them. They are not as clear as ordinary loops; if you don’t believe this, consider what it means to nest a structure other than for.