I have this little exercise writing a binary trie in F#. In C# it can be done in few lines, but here it became more complicated than I had expected (especially the add function):

open System

type BitTrie = 
    | BitTrie of Zero:BitTrie * One:BitTrie
    | NullTrie

module BitTrie = 

    let ubound = 31  // 32 bits integer

    let add value trie =
        let rec adder shift curTrie = 
            if shift < 0 then curTrie
                match (value >>> shift) &&& 1, curTrie with
                | 0, BitTrie(zero, one) ->
                    match zero with
                    | BitTrie(_) -> BitTrie(adder (shift - 1) zero, one)
                    | NullTrie -> BitTrie(adder (shift - 1) (BitTrie(NullTrie, NullTrie)), one)
                | 1, BitTrie(zero, one) ->
                    match one with
                    | BitTrie(_) -> BitTrie(zero, adder (shift - 1) one)
                    | NullTrie -> BitTrie(zero, adder (shift - 1) (BitTrie(NullTrie, NullTrie)))
                | bit, _ -> raise (InvalidOperationException(sprintf "Invalid bit value: %d" bit))

        adder ubound trie

    let contains value trie =
        let rec searcher shift curTrie =
            if shift < 0 then curTrie <> NullTrie
                match (value >>> shift) &&& 1, curTrie with
                | _, NullTrie -> false
                | 0, BitTrie(zero, _) -> searcher (shift - 1) zero
                | 1, BitTrie(_, one) -> searcher (shift - 1) one
                | bit, _ -> raise (InvalidOperationException(sprintf "Invalid bit value: %d" bit))
        searcher ubound trie

    let isEmpty trie =
        match trie with
        | NullTrie -> true
        | BitTrie(NullTrie, NullTrie) -> true
        | BitTrie(_) -> false

    let create () = BitTrie(NullTrie, NullTrie)

    let addValues values trie =
        values |> Seq.fold (fun accTrie value -> add value accTrie) trie

    let fromValues values = create() |> addValues values

    let toSeq trie =
        let rec iterator value curTrie =
            seq {
                match curTrie with
                | NullTrie -> ()
                | BitTrie(NullTrie, NullTrie) -> yield value
                | BitTrie(zero, one) -> 
                    yield! (iterator (value <<< 1) zero)
                    yield! (iterator ((value <<< 1) + 1) one)

        iterator 0 trie

    let toList trie = trie |> toSeq |> Seq.toList
    let toArray trie = trie |> toSeq |> Seq.toArray

    let iter action trie = trie |> toSeq |> Seq.iter action

I know this pattern match

bit, _ -> raise (InvalidOperationException(sprintf "Invalid bit value: %d" bit))

will never happen, but hate to leave the compiler unsatisfied.

Here are some test cases:

let testBitTrie () =

    let values = [ 0b1011001; 0b1101101; 0b1011011; Int32.MaxValue; (Int32.MaxValue >>> 16) - 1; 0; -1; Int32.MinValue ]
    let trie = values |> BitTrie.fromValues

    trie |> BitTrie.iter (fun v -> printfn "%s -> %d" (Convert.ToString(v, 2)) v)

    printfn ""
    |> BitTrie.addValues [ 35; 45 ]
    |> BitTrie.iter (fun v -> printfn "%s -> %d" (Convert.ToString(v, 2)) v)

    //values @ [1; 2; 4; 100] |> Seq.iter (fun v -> printfn "%d: %b" v (trie |> BitTrie.contains (v)))

let solveXorMax () = 
    //let rand = new Random(1);
    //let values = Enumerable.Range(0, 5000).Select(fun x -> rand.Next(rand.Next(0, 10000000))).ToList();
    //let trie = values |> BitTrie.fromValues

    let values = [ 3; 10; 5; 2; 25; 8 ]
    let trie = values |> BitTrie.fromValues

    let folder (max: int) value =
        let rec iter shift xor curTrie : int = 
            if shift <= 0 then Math.Max(max, xor)
                match (value >>> shift) &&& 1, curTrie with
                | 0, BitTrie(zero, one) ->               
                    match zero, one with
                    | _, BitTrie(_) -> iter (shift - 1) (xor + (1 <<< shift)) one
                    | BitTrie(_), _ ->  iter (shift - 1) xor zero
                | 1, BitTrie(zero, one) ->
                    match zero, one with
                    | BitTrie(_), _ -> iter (shift - 1) (xor + (1 <<< shift)) zero
                    | _, BitTrie(_) -> iter (shift - 1) xor one
        iter BitTrie.ubound 0 trie

    let max = values |> Seq.fold folder (Int32.MinValue)
    printfn "%d" max

solveXorMax () finds the maximum xor value of two values in the input set - taken from this question

I'm interested in any comment, but especially if you can see a smarter/shorter approach for the add function. My self-imposed restriction was to use a discriminated union type as data type for the trie node.


1 Answer 1


Big Issue

You have a problem with empty Tries: toSeq thinks they contain one element: it returns seq { 0 } for an empty Trie.

Seq.length (BitTrie.toSeq (BitTrie.create ())) = 1

This 0 value then goes away when you add anything. I think create should probably be producing a NullTrie. There's also no need for it to be a method; I'd prefer an empty value, but at that point you could just renameNullTrietoEmptyTrieand everyone should be happy. Moving the union into the module would let you just useEmpty` without stepping on any toes.

I can't work out what NullTrie is really meant to do otherwise; except produce confusing exceptions: BitTrie.add 0 NullTrie will throw your InvalidOperationException(sprintf "Invalid bit value: %d" bit).

I think you can fix this by 'ensuring' curTrie is not a NullTrie. You can probably use active patterns to resolve this nicely, but I forgot how to use those long ago, so instead I would add an ensure (I'm sure you can think of a better name, but it's late and I can't) function...

let private ensure trie =
    match trie with
    | Empty -> BitTrie(Empty, Empty)
    | _ -> trie

... and then modify the match in add (which allows us to simplify it somewhat):

match (value >>> shift) &&& 1, (ensure curTrie) with
| 0, BitTrie(zero, one) ->
    BitTrie(adder (shift - 1) zero, one)
| 1, BitTrie(zero, one) ->
    BitTrie(zero, adder (shift - 1) one)
| bit, _ -> raise (InvalidOperationException(sprintf "Invalid bit value: %d" bit))

But there is still a big problem, because BitTrie(Empty, Empty) contains nothing, but apparently isn't empty. This reveals a serious design issue: the meaning of the Trie is tied to ubound but you can produce 'invalid' Tries, and trivially so. At this point I would give up on the public BitTrie DU, and instead implement a self-contained class where I can encapsulate and control everything, providing methods for producing Tries with a valid and meaningful state.

One option you could consider is making BitTrie a ternary union, where you have a type indicating whether the value is present or not, so that it is unambigous. This, however, goes funny because you are using a classical Trie for integers. For example, 00000 = 0, but these sequences would have different positions in a Trie. I think your self-impose constraint might need to be relaxed if you want a sound API.


  • Using a variant of the ensure method above which returns just a tuple rather than a BitTrie, you can remove the need to cover the empty case in add. Then if you really wanted to get rid of the exception, you could go with (value >>> shift) &&& 1 > 0 and use false and true instead of 0 and 1. The same can be done in contains, but looking at it I think it is less clear.

  • It seems odd to provide BitTrie.iter specifically (as opposed to map or fold or whatever); I'd be inclined to only provide toSeq, and just leave the consumer to call Seq.iter themselves.

  • As always, I would prefer all public types and functions had inline documentation. toSeq, for example, probably wants to document any guarantees you will make about ordering (which presently is based on the bit values, so starts with 0 and ends with -1, which some might think odd).

  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks a lot. I've read and learned. Your suggestions about add and an introduction of a Bit DU have removed the complexity from that function. I've also introduced a leaf node - indicating a valid right most bit of a contained number. You may be right about making a class-type implementation - but it was not the objective of this exercise - and besides that I like the DU/module approach. I hope you get a little more up votes... \$\endgroup\$
    – user73941
    Jul 28, 2019 at 17:43

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