Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Observationally Functional

A couple of years back I wrote a Java microservice that talks to Jenkins to find the state of a series of builds. The code was structured to be “observationally functional” — there were plenty of side effects, but the main data abstractions behaved as if they were immutable as far as the abstract API was concerned. This allows us to treat code that uses these objects as if it were pure functional code.

If a data structure is observationally functional, then regardless of what the implementation does, there is no way to observe side effects at the abstract level. Primarily, this means that if you call a function twice with the same arguments, you always get the same answer. (This implies, but it isn't obvious, that calling a function should not mutate anything that would cause a different function to change.) This restriction has a lot of wiggle room. You can certainly side effect anything local to the abstraction that doesn't get returned to the caller. You can side effect data until the point it is returned to the caller.

The main data abstraction my microservice works with is a representation of the build metadata tree on the Jenkins server. The higher level code walks this tree looking for builds and metadata. The code maintains the illusion that the tree is a local data structure, but the implementation of the tree contains URL references to data that is stored on the Jenkins server. As the higher level code walks the tree, the lower level code fetches the data from the Jenkins server on demand and caches it.

Writing the code this way allows me to separate the data transfer and marshaling parts from the data traversal and analysis part. The tree, though it is mutated as it is traversed, is immutable in the parts that have already been visited. The caching code, which actually mutates the tree, needs to be synchronized across multiple threads, but the traversal code does not. Nodes in the tree that have already been visited are never mutated, so no synchronization is needed.

Once the caching tree abstraction was written, the higher level code simply walks the tree, selecting and filtering nodes, then reading the field values in the nodes. But the higher level code can be treated as if it were pure functional because there are no observable side effects. An advantage of pure functional code is that it is trivially thread safe, so my microservice can run hundreds of threads in parallel, each walking separate parts of the Jenkins tree and none interfering with the other. The only part of the code that uses synchronization is the tree caching code.

This implementation approach was quite fruitful. Once the code was tested with a single thread, it was obvious that multiple threads ought to work (because they couldn't observe each other's side effects) and when I turned the thread count up, no debugging was necessary. The code has been running continuously with dozens of threads for the past couple of years with no timing, synchronization, or race condition bugs.

Wednesday, September 7, 2022

Playing with raycasting

I wanted to learn about raycasting. Raycasting is like a simplified version of ray tracing. As in ray tracing, you examine the environment by projecting a ray from your current location out in some direction to determine what is visible in that direction. But we simplify the problem by only considering two dimensions.

I was also interested in making the graphics more functional and less dependent upon side effects. Now obviously rendering an image to the screen is going to involve side effects, but we can refactor the rendering problem into two subproblems, a pure function that maps the world to an image and the procedure that displays the image.

I'll put the code below. The run procedure implements the event loop state machine. It keeps track of the world and calls next-world on the current world to update the world as time passes. next-world just maps next-state over the objects in the world. next-state does not mutate an object, rather it returns a new object in the new state. Every 13 milliseconds, run calls render-world!, which calls render! on each object in the world.

We're going to use raycasting to fake up a first-person view of a two-dimensional maze. From a position within the maze, we'll cast a ray in a direction and see how far away the wall is. If we peer at the wall through a narrow slit in just that direction, it will appear as a vertical line with height inversely proportional to its distance. If we sweep the ray direction and stack the vertical lines next to each other, it will create three dimensional effect.

The render! method for a fp-view will side effect the screen, but we'll compute the contents functionally. We'll go through each column on the screen and call (vraster fp-view column) to compute a color and a height and we'll draw a vertical line of that height in that color in that column.

(defmethod render! (renderer (fp-view fp-view))
  (dotimes (column +window-width+)
    (multiple-value-bind (r g b height)
        (vraster fp-view column)
      (sdl2:set-render-draw-color renderer r g b #xFF)
      (sdl2:render-draw-line renderer
                             column (round (+ (/ +window-height+ 2) (/ height 2)))
                             column (round (- (/ +window-height+ 2) (/ height 2)))))))

vraster is a function that returns the color and height of the wall on a particular column on the screen. It figures out the angle at which to cast to a ray and calls range to find the distance to the nearest wall at that angle. This is sufficient to determine the wall height for that column, but the first person effect is enhanced significantly if you tint the color according to the distance and the direction of the wall. Knowing the distance, we compute the exact point px, py that the ray hit. It's a wall in the x direction if the y coordinate is an integer and vice versa.

(defparameter +field-of-view+ (/ pi 4))

(defun column->theta (column)
  (- (* (/ column +window-width+) +field-of-view+) (/ +field-of-view+ 2)))

(defun vraster (fp-view column)
  (let* ((location (get-location fp-view))
         (theta (column->theta column))
         (distance (range location theta))
         (px (+ (get-x location) (* (sin (+ (get-theta location) theta)) distance)))
         (py (+ (get-y location) (* (cos (+ (get-theta location) theta)) distance)))
         (wx (< (abs (- py (round py))) 0.05))
         (wy (< (abs (- px (round px))) 0.05)))
     (min #xFF (floor (/ (if wx #xff #x00) distance)))
     (min #xFF (floor (/ #xFF distance)))
     (min #xFF (floor (/ (if wy #xff #x00) distance)))
     (min +window-height+ (/ (* +window-height+ 2) distance)))))

So we've factored the rendering of a frame into a procedure that draws on the screen and a function that returns what to draw. The direct advantage of this is that we can determine what we should draw without actually drawing it. As an example, suppose we wanted to generate a stereo pair of images. The only thing we need to change is the render! method. It will now compute the view from two slightly different locations and put one set of columns on the left and the other on the right.

(defmethod render! (renderer (fp-view fp-view))
  (dotimes (column (/ +window-width+ 2))
    (multiple-value-bind (r g b height)
        (vraster (left-eye (get-location fp-view)) (* column 2))
      (sdl2:set-render-draw-color renderer r g b #xFF)
      (sdl2:render-draw-line renderer
                             column (round (+ (/ +window-height+ 2) (/ height 2)))
                             column (round (- (/ +window-height+ 2) (/ height 2)))))
    (multiple-value-bind (r g b height)
        (vraster (right-eye (get-location fp-view)) (* column 2))
      (sdl2:set-render-draw-color renderer r g b #xFF)
      (sdl2:render-draw-line renderer
                             (+ column (/ +window-width+ 2)) (round (+ (/ +window-height+ 2) (/ height 2)))
                             (+ column (/ +window-width+ 2)) (round (- (/ +window-height+ 2) (/ height 2)))))))

In this and in a previous post I've gone through the effort of writing some graphics code while avoiding unnecessary side effects. Typical graphics examples and tutorials are stuffed to the brim with global variables, state, and side effects. I wanted to see which side effects were intrinsic to graphics and which are simply incidental to how the examples are coded. It appears that large amounts of the global state and side effects are unnecessary and a more functional approach is reasonable.

As promised, here is the code.

;;; -*- Lisp -*-

(defpackage "RAYCAST"
  (:shadowing-import-from "NAMED-LET" "LET")
  (:use "COMMON-LISP" "NAMED-LET""))

(in-package "RAYCAST")

(defparameter +window-height+ 480)
(defparameter +window-width+ 640)

(defgeneric next-state (object dt)
  (:method ((object t) dt) object))
(defgeneric render! (renderer thing))

(defun next-world (previous-world dt)
  (map 'list (lambda (object) (next-state object dt)) previous-world))

(defun render-world! (renderer world)
  (sdl2:set-render-draw-color renderer #x00 #x00 #x00 #xFF)
  (sdl2:render-clear renderer)
  (mapc (lambda (object) (render! renderer object)) world)
  (sdl2:render-present renderer))

(defun run (initial-world)
  (sdl2:with-init (:video)
    (sdl2:with-window (window
                       :h +window-height+
                       :w +window-width+
                       :flags '(:shown))
      (sdl2:with-renderer (renderer window :index -1 :flags '(:accelerated :presentvsync))

        (let ((last-ticks 0)
              (render-ticker 0)
              (title-ticker 0)
              (sim-count 0)
              (frame-count 0)
              (world initial-world))

          (flet ((title-tick! (dticks)
                   (incf title-ticker dticks)
                   (when (>= title-ticker 1000)
                     (decf title-ticker 1000)
                     (sdl2:set-window-title window
                                            (format nil "Sim rate: ~d, Frame rate: ~d"
                                                    sim-count frame-count))
                     (setq sim-count 0)
                     (setq frame-count 0)))

                 (world-tick! (dticks)
                   (incf sim-count)
                   (setq world (next-world world (/ dticks 1000))))

                 (render-tick! (dticks)
                   (incf render-ticker dticks)
                   (when (>= render-ticker 13)
                     (incf frame-count)
                     (decf render-ticker 13)
                     (render-world! renderer world))))

            (sdl2:with-event-loop (:method :poll)

              (:idle ()
                     (let ((this-ticks (sdl2:get-ticks)))
                       (if (= this-ticks last-ticks)
                           (sdl2:delay 1)
                           (let ((dticks (- this-ticks last-ticks)))
                             (setq last-ticks this-ticks)
                             (title-tick! dticks)
                             (world-tick! dticks)
                             (render-tick! dticks)))))

              (:keydown (:keysym keysym)
                        (case (sdl2:scancode keysym)
                          ((:scancode-x :scancode-escape) (sdl2:push-quit-event))
                          ((:scancode-left :scancode-right
                            :scancode-up :scancode-down
                            :scancode-pageup :scancode-pagedown)
                          (t (format *trace-output* "~&Keydown: ~s" (sdl2:scancode keysym))
                           (force-output *trace-output*))))

              (:quit () t)

(defparameter +maze+
  #2a((1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1)
      (1 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1)
      (1 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1)
      (1 0 1 1 0 0 0 1 0 1 0 1)
      (1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1)
      (1 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 1 0 1)
      (1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1)
      (1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1)
      (1 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 1 0 1)
      (1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1)
      (1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1)))

(defclass location ()
  ((maze :initarg :maze
         :initform +maze+
         :reader get-maze)
   (x :initarg :x
      :initform 2.5
      :reader get-x)
   (y :initarg :y
      :initform 2.5
      :reader get-y)
   (theta :initarg :theta
          :initform 0
          :reader get-theta)))

(defun ud-input ()
  (- (if (sdl2:keyboard-state-p :scancode-up) 1 0)
     (if (sdl2:keyboard-state-p :scancode-down) 1 0)))

(defun lr-input ()
  (- (if (sdl2:keyboard-state-p :scancode-right) 1 0)
     (if (sdl2:keyboard-state-p :scancode-left) 1 0)))

(defun pg-input ()
  (- (if (sdl2:keyboard-state-p :scancode-pageup) 1 0)
     (if (sdl2:keyboard-state-p :scancode-pagedown) 1 0)))

(defun canonicalize-angle (angle)
  (cond ((>= angle pi) (canonicalize-angle (- angle (* pi 2))))
        ((>= angle (- pi)) angle)
        (t (canonicalize-angle (+ angle (* pi 2))))))

(defparameter +translation-rate+ 3.0) ;; tiles per second
(defparameter +rotation-rate+ pi) ;; radians per second

(defmethod next-state ((location location) dt)
  (let ((fbstep (* (ud-input) +translation-rate+ dt))
        (lrstep (* (pg-input) +translation-rate+ dt))
        (thstep (* (lr-input) +rotation-rate+ dt))

        (old-x (get-x location))
        (old-y (get-y location))
        (cos-theta (cos (get-theta location)))
        (sin-theta (sin (get-theta location))))

    (let ((new-x (+ old-x (* sin-theta fbstep) (- (* cos-theta lrstep))))
          (new-y (+ old-y (* cos-theta fbstep) (+ (* sin-theta lrstep))))
          (new-theta (canonicalize-angle (+ (get-theta location) thstep))))
      (cond ((zerop (aref (get-maze location) (floor new-x) (floor new-y)))
             (make-instance 'location :x new-x :y new-y :theta new-theta))
            ((zerop (aref (get-maze location) (floor old-x) (floor new-y)))
             (make-instance 'location :x old-x :y new-y :theta new-theta))
            ((zerop (aref (get-maze location) (floor new-x) (floor old-y)))
             (make-instance 'location :x new-x :y old-y :theta new-theta))
             (make-instance 'location :x old-x :y old-y :theta new-theta))))))

(defclass fp-view ()
  ((location :initarg :location
             :reader get-location)))

(defmethod next-state ((fp-view fp-view) dt)
  (make-instance 'fp-view :location (next-state (get-location fp-view) dt)))

(defun range (location relative-theta)
  (let* ((angle (+ (get-theta location) relative-theta))

         (dx/dS (sin angle))
         (dy/dS (cos angle))

         (x-step (if (< dx/dS 0) -1 1))
         (y-step (if (< dy/dS 0) -1 1))

         (dS/dx (abs (/ 1 (if (zerop dx/dS) 1e-30 dx/dS))))
         (dS/dy (abs (/ 1 (if (zerop dy/dS) 1e-30 dy/dS)))))

    (let dda ((next-x (* dS/dx
                         (if (< dx/dS 0)
                             (- (get-x location) (floor (get-x location)))
                             (- (+ 1.0 (floor (get-x location))) (get-x location)))))
              (mapx (floor (get-x location)))
              (next-y (* dS/dy
                         (if (< dy/dS 0)
                             (- (get-y location) (floor (get-y location)))
                             (- (+ 1.0 (floor (get-y location))) (get-y location)))))
              (mapy (floor (get-y location)))
              (distance 0))
      (cond ((not (zerop (aref (get-maze location) mapx mapy))) distance)
            ((< next-x next-y)
             (dda (+ next-x dS/dx) (+ mapx x-step)
                  next-y mapy
             (dda next-x mapx
                  (+ next-y dS/dy) (+ mapy y-step)

(defparameter +field-of-view+ (/ pi 4))

(defun column->theta (column)
  (- (* (/ column +window-width+) +field-of-view+) (/ +field-of-view+ 2)))

(defun vraster (location column)
  (let* ((theta (column->theta column))
         (distance (range location theta))
         (px (+ (get-x location) (* (sin (+ (get-theta location) theta)) distance)))
         (py (+ (get-y location) (* (cos (+ (get-theta location) theta)) distance)))
         (wx (< (abs (- py (round py))) 0.05))
         (wy (< (abs (- px (round px))) 0.05)))
     (min #xFF (floor (/ (if wx #xff #x00) distance)))
     (min #xFF (floor (/ #xfF distance)))
     (min #xFF (floor (/ (if wy #xff #x00) distance)))
     (min +window-height+ (/ (* +window-height+ 2) distance)))))

(defmethod render! (renderer (fp-view fp-view))
  (dotimes (column +window-width+)
    (multiple-value-bind (r g b height)
        (vraster (get-location fp-view) column)
      (sdl2:set-render-draw-color renderer r g b #xFF)
      (sdl2:render-draw-line renderer
                             column (round (+ (/ +window-height+ 2) (/ height 2)))
                             column (round (- (/ +window-height+ 2) (/ height 2)))))))

;; (run (list (make-instance 'fp-view :location (make-instance 'location))))

Monday, September 5, 2022

Drawing a circle

SDL is your bare bones graphics interface. It gives you primitives like draw-point, draw-line, and draw-rectangle, but you're on your own if you want to draw a circle. Naturally, I cribbed the code from stackoverflow.

Small circles didn't look right — they were a little squarish. The code worked by walking along pixels in one direction and accumulating an error term. When the error term got large enough, it would be reset and the code would advance a step along the other pixel axis. The error term was computed using integer math so that the circle was drawn quickly. The problem is that the integer math has rounding error and the rounding error is noticable with small circles.

For reference, it is straightforward to draw an exact circle. A circle isn't a function, but circle segment between 0 and 45 degrees is a function. If we mirror that segment eight ways horizontally, vertically, and at 90 degrees, we'll get a full circle.

(defun eightfold-point (renderer center-x center-y x y)
  (sdl2:render-draw-point renderer (+ center-x x) (+ center-y y))
  (sdl2:render-draw-point renderer (+ center-x x) (- center-y y))
  (sdl2:render-draw-point renderer (- center-x x) (+ center-y y))
  (sdl2:render-draw-point renderer (- center-x x) (- center-y y))

  (sdl2:render-draw-point renderer (+ center-x y) (- center-y x))
  (sdl2:render-draw-point renderer (+ center-x y) (+ center-y x))
  (sdl2:render-draw-point renderer (- center-x y) (- center-y x))
  (sdl2:render-draw-point renderer (- center-x y) (+ center-y x)))

(defun draw-circle (renderer center-x center-y radius)
  (let ((r-squared (* radius radius)))
    (dotimes (x (1+ (ceiling (/ radius (sqrt 2)))))
      (eightfold-point renderer
                       center-x center-y
                       x (round (sqrt (- r-squared (* x x))))))))
This gives much rounder looking circles than the code I cribbed from stackoverflow.

The problem, of course, is that this code computes a square root on each iteration. These days, computers are fast and that's not a big issue, but let's try to improve things.

On each iteration, we are computing the square root of r2-x2. This quantity changes between iterations, but not by much. You can compute a square root pretty quickly using Newton's method. The square root computed last iteration isn't that far from the new square root, so we can use the previous square root as the initial guess for Newton's method. Since we started pretty close to the right answer, we only need a single pass of Newton's method to get close enough to the square root for the current iteration.

(defun average (a b) (/ (+ a b) 2))

(defun draw-circle1 (renderer center-x center-y radius)
  (let ((x-limit (ceiling (/ radius (sqrt 2)))))
    (do ((x 0 (1+ x))
         (o 1 (+ o 2))
         (r2-x2 (* radius radius) (- r2-x2 o))
         (y radius (round (average y (/ (- r2-x2 o) y)))))
        ((> x x-limit))
      (eightfold-point renderer center-x center-y x y))))

This gives us pretty round circles — rounder than the integer methods, but not as round as the sqrt method. It requires less arithmetic than the sqrt method, but more than the integer method. What is more annoying, squarish circles or the amount of time it takes to draw round ones?