31 Ranges

A range is a dense list of integers, such that the difference between consecutive elements is a nonzero constant. Ranges can be abbreviated with the syntactic construct [ first, second .. last ] or, if the difference between consecutive elements is 1, as [ first .. last ].

If first last, [first,second..last] is the empty list, which by definition is also a range. If first = last, [first,second..last] is a singleton list, which is a range too. Note that last - first must be divisible by the increment second - first, otherwise an error is signalled.

Note that a range is just a special case of a list. So everything that is possible for lists (see Lists) is also possible for ranges. Thus you can access elements in such a range (see List Elements), test for membership (see In), etc. You can even assign to such a range (see List Assignment). Of course, unless you assign last + second-first to the entry range[Length(range)+1], the resulting list will no longer be a range.

Most often ranges are used in connection with the for-loop (see For). Here the construct
for var in [first..last] do statements od replaces the
for var from first to last do statements od, which is more usual in other programming languages.

Note that a range is at the same time also a set (see Sets), because it contains no holes or duplicates and is sorted, and also a vector (see Vectors), because it contains no holes and all elements are integers.

    gap> r := [10..20];
    [ 10 .. 20 ]
    gap> Length( r );
    11
    gap> r[3];
    12
    gap> 17 in r;
    true
    gap> r[12] := 25;; r;
    [ 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 25 ]
    gap> r := [1,3..17];
    [ 1, 3 .. 17 ]
    gap> Length( r );
    9
    gap> r[4];
    7
    gap> r := [0,-1..-9];
    [ 0, -1 .. -9 ]
    gap> r[5];
    -4
    gap> r := [ 1, 4 .. 32 ];
    Error, Range: <high>-<low> must be divisible by <inc>
    gap> s := [];;  for i  in [10..20]  do Add( s, i^2 );  od;  s;
    [ 100, 121, 144, 169, 196, 225, 256, 289, 324, 361, 400 ] 

The first section in this chapter describes the function that tests if a list is a range (see IsRange).

The other section tells you more about the internal representation of ranges (see More about Ranges).

Subsections

  1. IsRange
  2. More about Ranges

31.1 IsRange

IsRange( obj )

IsRange returns true if obj, which may be an object of any type, is a range and false otherwise. A range is a list without holes such that the elements are integers with a constant increment. Will cause an error if obj is an unassigned variable.

    gap> IsRange( [1,2,3] );
    true    # this list is a range
    gap> IsRange( [7,5,3,1] );
    true    # this list is a range
    gap> IsRange( [1,2,4,5] );
    false    # this list is a set and a vector, but not a range
    gap> IsRange( [1,,3,,5,,7] );
    false    # this list contains holes
    gap> IsRange( 1 );
    false    # is not even a list
    gap> IsRange( [] );
    true    # the empty list is a range by definition
    gap> IsRange( [1] );
    true    # singleton lists are a range by definition too 

31.2 More about Ranges

For some lists the kernel knows that they are in fact ranges. Those lists are represented internally in a compact way instead of the ordinary way. This is important since this representation needs only 12 bytes for the entire list while the ordinary representation needs 4 length bytes.

Note that a list that is represented in the ordinary way might still be a range. It is just that GAP does not know this. This section tells you under which circumstances a range is represented in the compact way, so you can write your program in such a way that you make best use of this compact representation for ranges.

Lists created by the syntactic construct [ first, second .. last ] are of course known to be ranges and are represented in the compact way.

If you call IsRange for a list represented the ordinary way that is indeed a range, IsRange will note this, change the representation from the ordinary to the compact representation, and then return true;

If you change a range that is represented in the compact way, by assignment, Add or Append, the range will be converted to the ordinary representation, even if the change is such that the resulting list is still a proper range.

Suppose you have built a proper range in such a way that it is represented in the ordinary way and that you now want to convert it to the compact representation to save space. Then you should call IsRange with that list as an argument. If it is indeed a proper range, IsRange will convert it to the compact representation. You can think of the call to IsRange as a hint to GAP that this list is a proper range.

Previous Up Next
Index

GAP 3.4.4
April 1997