Is it possible to implement in Scala something equivalent to the Python yield statement where it remembers the local state of the function where it is used and “yields” the next value each time it is called?

I wanted to have something like this to convert a recursive function into an iterator. Sort of like this:

# this is python
def foo(i):
  yield i
  if i > 0:
    for j in foo(i - 1):
      yield j

for i in foo(5):
  print i

Except, foo may be more complex and recurs through some acyclic object graph.

Additional Edit:
Let me add a more complex example (but still simple):
I can write a simple recursive function printing things as it goes along:

// this is Scala
def printClass(clazz:Class[_], indent:String=""): Unit = {
  clazz match {
    case null =>
    case _ =>
      println(indent + clazz)
      printClass(clazz.getSuperclass, indent + "  ")
      for (c <- clazz.getInterfaces) {
        printClass(c, indent + "  ")
      }
  }
}

Ideally I would like to have a library that allows me to easily change a few statements and have it work as an Iterator:

// this is not Scala
def yieldClass(clazz:Class[_]): Iterator[Class[_]] = {
  clazz match {
    case null =>
    case _ =>
      sudoYield clazz
      for (c <- yieldClass(clazz.getSuperclass)) sudoYield c
      for (c <- clazz.getInterfaces; d <- yieldClasss(c)) sudoYield d
  }
}

It does seem continuations allow to do that, but I just don’t understand the shift/reset concept. Will continuation eventually make it into the main compiler and would it be possible to extract out the complexity in a library?

Edit 2:
check Rich’s answer in that other thread.

While Python generators are cool, trying to duplicate them really isn’t the best way to go about in Scala. For instance, the following code does the equivalent job to what you want:

def classStream(clazz: Class[_]): Stream[Class[_]] = clazz match {
  case null => Stream.empty
  case _ => (
    clazz 
    #:: classStream(clazz.getSuperclass) 
    #::: clazz.getInterfaces.toStream.flatMap(classStream) 
    #::: Stream.empty
  )
}

In it the stream is generated lazily, so it won’t process any of the elements until asked for, which you can verify by running this:

def classStream(clazz: Class[_]): Stream[Class[_]] = clazz match {
  case null => Stream.empty
  case _ => (
    clazz 
    #:: { println(clazz.toString+": super"); classStream(clazz.getSuperclass) } 
    #::: { println(clazz.toString+": interfaces"); clazz.getInterfaces.toStream.flatMap(classStream) } 
    #::: Stream.empty
  )
}

The result can be converted into an Iterator simply by calling .iterator on the resulting Stream:

def classIterator(clazz: Class[_]): Iterator[Class[_]] = classStream(clazz).iterator

The foo definition, using Stream, would be rendered thus:

scala> def foo(i: Int): Stream[Int] = i #:: (if (i > 0) foo(i - 1) else Stream.empty)
foo: (i: Int)Stream[Int]

scala> foo(5) foreach println
5
4
3
2
1
0

Another alternative would be concatenating the various iterators, taking care to not pre-compute them. Here’s an example, also with debugging messages to help trace the execution:

def yieldClass(clazz: Class[_]): Iterator[Class[_]] = clazz match {
  case null => println("empty"); Iterator.empty
  case _ =>
    def thisIterator = { println("self of "+clazz); Iterator(clazz) }
    def superIterator = { println("super of "+clazz); yieldClass(clazz.getSuperclass) }
    def interfacesIterator = { println("interfaces of "+clazz); clazz.getInterfaces.iterator flatMap yieldClass }
    thisIterator ++ superIterator ++ interfacesIterator
}

This is pretty close to your code. Instead of sudoYield, I have definitions, and then I just concatenate them as I wish.

So, while this is a non-answer, I just think you are barking up the wrong tree here. Trying to write Python in Scala is bound to be unproductive. Work harder at the Scala idioms that accomplish the same goals.

Another continuations plugin based solution, this time with a more or less encapsulated Generator type,

import scala.continuations._
import scala.continuations.ControlContext._

object Test {

  def loopWhile(cond: =>Boolean)(body: =>(Unit @suspendable)): Unit @suspendable = {
    if (cond) {
      body
      loopWhile(cond)(body)
    } else ()
  }

  abstract class Generator[T] {
    var producerCont : (Unit => Unit) = null
    var consumerCont : (T => Unit) = null

    protected def body : Unit @suspendable

    reset {
      body
    }

    def generate(t : T) : Unit @suspendable =
      shift {
        (k : Unit => Unit) => {
          producerCont = k
          if (consumerCont != null)
            consumerCont(t)
        }
      }

    def next : T @suspendable =
      shift {
        (k : T => Unit) => {
          consumerCont = k
          if (producerCont != null)
            producerCont()
        }
      }
  }

  def main(args: Array[String]) {
    val g = new Generator[Int] {
      def body = {
        var i = 0
        loopWhile(i < 10) {
          generate(i)
          i += 1
        }
      }
    }

    reset {
      loopWhile(true) {
        println("Generated: "+g.next)
      }
    }
  }
}

To do this in a general way, I think you need the continuations plugin.

A naive implementation (freehand, not compiled/checked):

def iterator = new {
  private[this] var done = false

  // Define your yielding state here
  // This generator yields: 3, 13, 0, 1, 3, 6, 26, 27
  private[this] var state: Unit=>Int = reset {
    var x = 3
    giveItUp(x)
    x += 10
    giveItUp(x)
    x = 0
    giveItUp(x)
    List(1,2,3).foreach { i => x += i; giveItUp(x) }
    x += 20
    giveItUp(x)
    x += 1
    done = true
    x
  }

  // Well, "yield" is a keyword, so how about giveItUp?
  private[this] def giveItUp(i: Int) = shift { k: (Unit=>Int) =>
    state = k
    i
  }

  def hasNext = !done
  def next = state()
}

What is happening is that any call to shift captures the control flow from where it is called to the end of the reset block that it is called in. This is passed as the k argument into the shift function.

So, in the example above, each giveItUp(x) returns the value of x (up to that point) and saves the rest of the computation in the state variable. It is driven from outside by the hasNext and next methods.

Go gentle, this is obviously a terrible way to implement this. But it best I could do late at night without a compiler handy.

Scala’s for-loop of the form for (e <- Producer) f(e) translates into a foreach call, and not directly into iterator / next.

In the foreach we don’t need to linearize objects’ creations and have them in one place, as it would be needed for iterator’s next. The consumer-function f can be inserted multiple times, exactly where it is needed (i.e. where an object is created).

This makes implementation of use cases for generators simple and efficient with Traversable / foreach in Scala.


The initial Foo-example:

case class Countdown(start: Int) extends Traversable[Int] {
    def foreach[U](f: Int => U) {
        var j = start
        while (j >= 0) {f(j); j -= 1}
    }
}

for (i <- Countdown(5))  println(i)
// or equivalent:
Countdown(5) foreach println

The initial printClass-example:

  // v1 (without indentation)

  case class ClassStructure(c: Class[_]) {
    def foreach[U](f: Class[_] => U) {
      if (c eq null) return
      f(c)
      ClassStructure(c.getSuperclass) foreach f
      c.getInterfaces foreach (ClassStructure(_) foreach f)
    }
  }

  for (c <- ClassStructure(<foo/>.getClass)) println(c)
  // or equivalent:
  ClassStructure(<foo/>.getClass) foreach println

Or with indentation:

  // v2 (with indentation)

  case class ClassWithIndent(c: Class[_], indent: String = "") {
    override def toString = indent + c
  }
  implicit def Class2WithIndent(c: Class[_]) = ClassWithIndent(c)

  case class ClassStructure(cwi: ClassWithIndent) {
    def foreach[U](f: ClassWithIndent => U) {
      if (cwi.c eq null) return
      f(cwi)
      ClassStructure(ClassWithIndent(cwi.c.getSuperclass, cwi.indent + "  ")) foreach f
      cwi.c.getInterfaces foreach (i => ClassStructure(ClassWithIndent(i, cwi.indent + "  ")) foreach f)
    }
  }

  for (c <- ClassStructure(<foo/>.getClass)) println(c)
  // or equivalent:
  ClassStructure(<foo/>.getClass) foreach println

Output:

class scala.xml.Elem
  class scala.xml.Node
    class scala.xml.NodeSeq
      class java.lang.Object
      interface scala.collection.immutable.Seq
        interface scala.collection.immutable.Iterable
          interface scala.collection.immutable.Traversable
            interface scala.collection.Traversable
              interface scala.collection.TraversableLike
                interface scala.collection.generic.HasNewBuilder
                interface scala.collection.generic.FilterMonadic
                interface scala.collection.TraversableOnce
                  interface scala.ScalaObject
                interface scala.ScalaObject
              interface scala.collection.generic.GenericTraversableTemplate
                interface scala.collection.generic.HasNewBuilder
                interface scala.ScalaObject
              interface scala.ScalaObject
            interface scala.collection.generic.GenericTraversableTemplate
              interface scala.collection.generic.HasNewBuilder
              interface scala.ScalaObject
            interface scala.collection.TraversableLike
              interface scala.collection.generic.HasNewBuilder
              interface scala.collection.generic.FilterMonadic
              interface scala.collection.TraversableOnce
                interface scala.ScalaObject
              interface scala.ScalaObject
            interface scala.Immutable
            interface scala.ScalaObject
          interface scala.collection.Iterable
            interface scala.collection.Traversable
              interface scala.collection.TraversableLike
                interface scala.collection.generic.HasNewBuilder
                interface scala.collection.generic.FilterMonadic
                interface scala.collection.TraversableOnce
                  interface scala.ScalaObject
                interface scala.ScalaObject
              interface scala.collection.generic.GenericTraversableTemplate
                interface scala.collection.generic.HasNewBuilder
                interface scala.ScalaObject
              interface scala.ScalaObject
            interface scala.collection.generic.GenericTraversableTemplate
              interface scala.collection.generic.HasNewBuilder
              interface scala.ScalaObject
            interface scala.collection.IterableLike
              interface scala.Equals
              interface scala.collection.TraversableLike
                interface scala.collection.generic.HasNewBuilder
                interface scala.collection.generic.FilterMonadic
                interface scala.collection.TraversableOnce
                  interface scala.ScalaObject
                interface scala.ScalaObject
              interface scala.ScalaObject
            interface scala.ScalaObject
          interface scala.collection.generic.GenericTraversableTemplate
            interface scala.collection.generic.HasNewBuilder
            interface scala.ScalaObject
          interface scala.collection.IterableLike
            interface scala.Equals
            interface scala.collection.TraversableLike
              interface scala.collection.generic.HasNewBuilder
              interface scala.collection.generic.FilterMonadic
              interface scala.collection.TraversableOnce
                interface scala.ScalaObject
              interface scala.ScalaObject
            interface scala.ScalaObject
          interface scala.ScalaObject
        interface scala.collection.Seq
          interface scala.PartialFunction
            interface scala.Function1
              interface scala.ScalaObject
            interface scala.ScalaObject
          interface scala.collection.Iterable
            interface scala.collection.Traversable
              interface scala.collection.TraversableLike
                interface scala.collection.generic.HasNewBuilder
                interface scala.collection.generic.FilterMonadic
                interface scala.collection.TraversableOnce
                  interface scala.ScalaObject
                interface scala.ScalaObject
              interface scala.collection.generic.GenericTraversableTemplate
                interface scala.collection.generic.HasNewBuilder
                interface scala.ScalaObject
              interface scala.ScalaObject
            interface scala.collection.generic.GenericTraversableTemplate
              interface scala.collection.generic.HasNewBuilder
              interface scala.ScalaObject
            interface scala.collection.IterableLike
              interface scala.Equals
              interface scala.collection.TraversableLike
                interface scala.collection.generic.HasNewBuilder
                interface scala.collection.generic.FilterMonadic
                interface scala.collection.TraversableOnce
                  interface scala.ScalaObject
                interface scala.ScalaObject
              interface scala.ScalaObject
            interface scala.ScalaObject
          interface scala.collection.generic.GenericTraversableTemplate
            interface scala.collection.generic.HasNewBuilder
            interface scala.ScalaObject
          interface scala.collection.SeqLike
            interface scala.collection.IterableLike
              interface scala.Equals
              interface scala.collection.TraversableLike
                interface scala.collection.generic.HasNewBuilder
                interface scala.collection.generic.FilterMonadic
                interface scala.collection.TraversableOnce
                  interface scala.ScalaObject
                interface scala.ScalaObject
              interface scala.ScalaObject
            interface scala.ScalaObject
          interface scala.ScalaObject
        interface scala.collection.generic.GenericTraversableTemplate
          interface scala.collection.generic.HasNewBuilder
          interface scala.ScalaObject
        interface scala.collection.SeqLike
          interface scala.collection.IterableLike
            interface scala.Equals
            interface scala.collection.TraversableLike
              interface scala.collection.generic.HasNewBuilder
              interface scala.collection.generic.FilterMonadic
              interface scala.collection.TraversableOnce
                interface scala.ScalaObject
              interface scala.ScalaObject
            interface scala.ScalaObject
          interface scala.ScalaObject
        interface scala.ScalaObject
      interface scala.collection.SeqLike
        interface scala.collection.IterableLike
          interface scala.Equals
          interface scala.collection.TraversableLike
            interface scala.collection.generic.HasNewBuilder
            interface scala.collection.generic.FilterMonadic
            interface scala.collection.TraversableOnce
              interface scala.ScalaObject
            interface scala.ScalaObject
          interface scala.ScalaObject
        interface scala.ScalaObject
      interface scala.xml.Equality
        interface scala.Equals
        interface scala.ScalaObject
      interface scala.ScalaObject
    interface scala.ScalaObject
  interface scala.ScalaObject
  interface java.io.Serializable

Dsl.scala is what you are looking for.

Suppose you want to create a random number generator. The generated numbers should be stored in a lazily evaluated infinite stream, which can be built with the help of our built-in domain-specific keyword Yield.

import com.thoughtworks.dsl.keys.Yield
def xorshiftRandomGenerator(seed: Int): Stream[Int] = {
  val tmp1 = seed ^ (seed << 13)
  val tmp2 = tmp1 ^ (tmp1 >>> 17)
  val tmp3 = tmp2 ^ (tmp2 << 5)
  !Yield(tmp3)
  xorshiftRandomGenerator(tmp3)
}

Other examples can be found in the Scaladoc.