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Equipage is a purely concatenative programming language. In this context, that means:
- Every symbol in the language is associated with a function that takes stacks to stacks.
- The meaning of a program text is the sequential composition of the functions associated with those symbols.
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
<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:
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:
- pushes the function
oneonto the stack
- pops the function
oneoff the stack and applies it, which pushes the integer 1 onto the stack
- pushes the function
poponto the stack
- pops the function
popoff the stack and applies it, which pops the integer 1 off the stack and discards it
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.
-> 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)"
Pushing numbers on the stack. Note stacks are outputted top-to-bottom.
1! ===>  1!1! ===> [1,1]
apply, as a function which is pushed onto the stack.
1;! ===> 
Pop two values, then push their sum.
1!1!+! ===> 
Space and newline are both whitespace is nop.
1! 1!1!+! 1!1!+!1!+! ===> [3,2,1]
\ (swap) and
1! 1!1!+! 1!1!+!1!+! \!$! ===> [3,1]
1! 1!1!+! 1!1!+!1!+! +!+! 1!-! ===> 
1!1!+!1!+! %! ===>  1!1!-!1!-! %! ===> [-1] 1!1!-! %! ===> 
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
found in some other languages is
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 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.
finally: if + loop = while loop
Let's pop all values off the stack until we hit a zero, and then stop.
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
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.
11+11-11+1 .!.!.!.!.!.!.!.!.! ! ===> [1,2,0,2]
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:
swapfunction allows us to access the top two elements on the stack arbitrarily, and an element can be an integer value, with no bounds imposed on its size. Equipage can increment, decrement, and branch if the value is zero. Therefore it seems plausible that one could implement a 2-counter Minsky machine in Equipage.
pickfunction allows us to read from the bottom of the stack (but not write to it.) Careful manipulation of the index from which values are being picked might allow one to simulate a queue in the upper portion of an ever-growing stack, and it seems plausible that this queue could be used to implement a Tag system.
- Finally, Equipage allows the construction of new functions from existing functions through composition; data and data structures can be encoded in these functions in the manner of Church numerals; and it seems plausible that, given a Turing machine, one could construct an Equipage function which, when applied, simulates one step (or many steps) of that machine, simply by evaluating to a suitably modified version of itself.
Purely concatenative languages are almost embarassingly easy to interpret, in a functional language:
- map each symbol to a function
- compose all those functions into a single function, in a fold
- apply that single funciton
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.
-> 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)!, 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.
June 12th, 2018