La Tour D'Hanoï

Ralf Hinze

The 14th ACM SIGPLAN International Conference on Functional Programming (ICFP 2009)
Edinburgh, Scotland, 31st August - 2nd September 2009


Functional languages excel at wholemeal programming, a term coined by Geraint Jones. Wholemeal programming means to think big: work with an entire list, rather than a sequence of elements; develop a solution space, rather than an individual solution; imagine a graph, rather than a single path. The wholemeal approach often offers new insights or provides new perspectives on a given problem. It is nicely complemented by the idea of projective programming: first solve a more general problem, then extract the interesting bits and pieces by transforming the general program into more specialised ones. This pearl aims to demonstrate the techniques using the popular Towers of Hanoi puzzle as a running example. This puzzle has its own beauty, which we hope to expose along the way.

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