# Midpoint of a segment

From SICP:

Exercise 2.2

Consider the problem of representing line segments in a plane. Each segment is represented as a pair of points: a starting point and an ending point. Define a constructor make-segment and selectors start-segment and end-segment that define the representation of segments in terms of points. Furthermore, a point can be represented as a pair of numbers: the x coordinate and the y coordinate. Accordingly, specify a constructor make-point and selectors x-point and y-point that define this representation. Finally, using your selectors and constructors, define a procedure midpoint-segment that takes a line segment as argument and returns its midpoint (the point whose coordinates are the average of the coordinates of the endpoints). To try your procedures, you'll need a way to print points:

(define (print-point p)
(newline)
(display "(")
(display (x-point p))
(display ",")
(display (y-point p))
(display ")"))


I wrote the following solution:

(define (make-segment a b) (cons a b))
(define (start-segment l) (car l))
(define (end-segment l) (cdr l))

(define (make-point x y) (cons x y))
(define (x-point p) (car p))
(define (y-point p) (cdr p))

(define (sum . l) (if (zero? (length l)) 0 (+ (car l) (apply sum (cdr l)))))
(define (average . l) (/ (apply sum l) (length l)))

(define (midpoint seg)
(make-point (average (x-point (start-segment seg))
(x-point (end-segment seg)))
(average (y-point (start-segment seg))
(y-point (end-segment seg)))))

(define (print-point p)
(newline)
(display "(")
(display (x-point p))
(display ",")
(display (y-point p))
(display ")"))

(define seg-1 (make-segment (make-point 3 4)
(make-point 8 10)))
(print-point (midpoint seg-1))


What do you think?

Your definitions of make-segment and make-point can be simply bound to cons; you may do the same for accessors.

(define make-segment cons)
(define start-segment car)
(define end-segment cdr)

(define make-point cons)
(define x-point car)
(define y-point cdr)


Your definition of sum is similar to how + works. You may use + instead in your definition of average.

(define (average . l) (/ (apply + l) (length l)))


Notice the repetition of code in your definition of midpoint--you create a new point out of the averages of each coordinate of the two end-points that describe the line segment. You may abstract out the calculation of averages either by writing your own helper function or by using the built-in map function, like so:

(define point->coordinate-accessors (list x-point y-point))
(define (midpoint seg)
(apply make-point (map (lambda (point->coordinate)
(average (point->coordinate (start-segment seg))
(point->coordinate (end-segment seg))))
point->coordinate-accessors)))


This definition is general enough to handle midpoint calculation in as many dimensions as handled by make-point and point->coordinate-accessors.