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Additional Lisp Data Types. Arrays and Vectors Hash tables Structures Reference Successful Lisp Arrays and Vectors. Lisp arrays are special types of data objects Array indices start with 0 A 1-dimensional array is also called a vector

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additional lisp data types
Additional Lisp Data Types
  • Arrays and Vectors
  • Hash tables
  • Structures
  • Reference Successful Lisp

arrays and vectors
Arrays and Vectors
  • Lisp arrays are special types of data objects
  • Array indices start with 0
  • A 1-dimensional array is also called a vector
  • Arrays are created with make-array Array's size is specified at creation

> (setf my-vector (make-array '(3)))


  • Elements are accessed and changed using aref

> (aref my-vector 2) ; define


> (setf (aref my-vector 2)'element-3) ; change


> (aref my-vector 2) ; check


array initialization
Array Initialization
  • Using the :initial-contents keyword

> (setf array (make-array 100 :initial-element nil))


> (make-array '(2 3 4) :initialcontents

'(((a b c d) (e f g h) (i j k l))

((m n o p) (q r s t) (u v w x))))

(((A B C D) (E F G H) (I J K L))

((M N O P) (Q R S T)(U V W X)))

  • Vector:

> (setf *color* (vector 'red 'green 'blue))


> (aref *color* 1) ; check


> (svref *color* 2) ; check


hash tables
Hash Tables
  • Data structures that store values along with keys
  • The value is accessed via the key
  • A hash function allows faster access than searching
  • Lisp has a built-in hash table data structure
  • 3 variants based on whether key is matched with eq, eql or equal
  • Basic operations

1. Access an item given its key

(gethash<key> <hashtable>)

returns the value referenced by <key> or nil it key not found

2. Insert a new [key, value] entry in the table

> (setf (gethash ’george table) ’smith)

> (gethash 'george table)


3. Delete an entry using remhash

(remhash<key> <hashtable>)

hash table size
Hash Table Size

Hash Tables are usually implemented as (large) arrays

  • Hash table with10 items may be stored in an array of 100 elements
    • Hash tables can be wasteful of memory space
  • Therefore in CL, hash tables can grow automatically
    • Specify anoriginalanda growth size when creating hash table

(make-hash-table :size <n> :rehash-size <r> :rehashthreshold<t> )

    • starts with size <n>
    • when need increases size in increments of <r>
    • <t> specifies when size should change
    • <n>, <r> and <t> have implementation-specific defaults

(make-hash-table :size 100 :rehash-size 90

:rehash-threshold :80)

when the table has 80 entries, it will grow to190 elements

successful and failed accesses
Successful and Failed Accesses
  • gethash actually returns two values
    • the value matching the key & whether the key was found or not (t or nil)
    • if the key is not in the hash table, both responses are nil but you can provide default return value

(gethash<key> <hashtable> <defaultvalue>)

(gethash 'key table 'error)

returns error if key is not in table

  • setfreplaces an entry if an entry with the same key exists in the hash table,
    • no error is indicated
    • you may want to test whether an entry exists first

(if (gethash key table) ’error

(setf (gethash key table) value))

other hash table functions
Other Hash Table Functions
  • maphash
    • applies given function to every entry of the hash table
      • each entry in the table is a pair (the key and the value), therefore the function must accept two arguments
      • e.g.:

(defun print-hash-items (x y) (print (list x y)))

(maphash #’print-hash-items a)

-> this prints all entries in the hash table

  • clrhash
    • clears all entries from a hash table returns the empty table
  • hash-table-count
    • returns the number of entries in the hash table (0 if empty)
  • implementation of hash tables is not prescribed
    • e.g., they can be implemented as association lists
  • Structures allow you to create non-homogenous data structures
    • In C, these are called "structs"
    • Java objects are similar, but not equivalent
    • Lisp structures offer a lot of short-cuts options and access functions (unlike in C or Java)
  • Define a structure with

(defstruct <name> <slots>)

    • <slots>are names for each item/member of the structure, e.g.

(defstruct person name sex age occupation)

    • defstruct allows variety of keyword arguments for a slot, e.g.
      • :type limits a slot to values from a specific data type
      • :read-only fills a slot's with an initialization/default value

(the name and value are wrapped in ())

generated functions on structures
Generated Functions on Structures
  • Once a structure is defined with defstruct
    • You can generate instances of the structure and access the slots
    • Several functions are automatically generated for you
  • make-structname creates an instance of structure called structname, e.g.:

(make-person) creates an instance of the structure person

    • You can specify initial values using :slot <value>

(make-person :name 'Frank :age 53)returns the structure

(setf frank (make-person :name ’Frank :age 53))

stores the instance in the variable frank

    • Not initialized slots without default values have the value nil
  • structname-slotname accesses the slot, e.g.:

(person-age frank) returns the value of age slot in frank

  • structname-slotname can be used in setf , e.g.:

(setf (person-age frank) 50)

  • name-p is a type-checking predicate functions
    • (person-p frank) -> T
    • you can also write (typep frank 'person)
other structure comments
Other Structure Comments
  • You can instantiate a structure using

#s(<type> <values>)

(setf p #s(person :name 'jim :age 44 :sex 'm))

    • slots not listed default to their default values or nil
    • the same form can be used with arrays
  • You can have other functions generated in defstruct

• Define a constructor function

• Define a copier function (to make a copy of a structure)

• Define a predicate function

      • one is automatically created, but you can have another name

• To create these

      • wrap the structure name and these commands in ()'s
  • To define inheritance use:include<struct-type>
example structure
Example Structure

(defstruct person name (sex 'm) age (occupation 'unknown))

(setf p1 (make-person :name 'Bob :age 20))

(setf p2 (make-person :name 'Sue :sex 'f :age 33 :occupation 'student))

(print (list "enter occupation for" (person-name p1)))

(setf (person-occupation p1) (read))

(defstruct (doctor (:include person)) medical-school (done-interning t))

    • Note: the structure's name and “parent” are in () then come the new slots

(setf p3 (make-doctor :name 'Fred :age 49 :occupation 'doctor :medical-school 'UH))

  • similarly define a :print-name function to print out the structure
  • and define :conc-name to provide another access to a slot
    • e.g., (p-n p1) instead of (person-name p1)
  • details are in Successful Lisp, Chapters 3 and 6
more on structure inheritance
More on Structure “Inheritance”
  • The inheritance for structures is not controllable - we can’t override what we inherit
    • In the previous example we had to specify the occupation of p3 to give it an initial value
    • We would normally prefer to include (occupation ’doctor) in the defstruct for doctor so that all doctors have a default occupation, but that would override part of person’s definition
  • Similarly, we cannot use multiple inheritance for structures
    • We can using classes to get around this problem
  • If a variable points to a structure that inherits from another, you can use either structure to specify the slots
    • So p1’s slots are accessed by (person-slot p1) but p3’s slots can be accessed either by (person-slot p3) or (doctor-slot p3)
    • (person-p p1) , (person-p p2) and (doctor-p p2) return t and (doctor-p p1) is nil
  • With :constructor you can specify the name of a default constructor along with its parameters
    • You can only use this if you place the structure’s name inside ()

(defstruct (foobar (:constructor construct-foobar (…))) …)

not (defstruct foobar (:constructor…))

  • The parameters listed should be the same names as the slots
  • You can use &key or &optional
  • We change our person:

(defstruct (person (:constructor construct-person

(name &optional age sex occupation)))

name age (sex ’m) (occupation ’unknown))

    • Now we can use (make-person) or (make-person:name…) or (construct-person ’fred), etc.
    • Now we don't need to initialize slots using :slot-name <value> format