Mathias Brandewinder on .NET, F#, VSTO and Excel development, and quantitative analysis / machine learning.
by admin 26. October 2014 17:01

From time to time, I get absorbed by questions for no clear reason. This is one of these times – you have been warned.

So here is the question: can I use a logistic map to encode an arbitrary list of 1s and 0s into a single float, and generate back the series by applying the logistic map? I don’t think there is a clear theoretical or practical interest in this question, but for some reason I couldn’t shake it off, and had to do it.

Just to clarify a bit what I have in mind, here is the expression for the logistic map:

x(n+1) = alpha * x(n) * (1-x(n))

This is a recurrence relation, and has been well studied, because it illustrates very nicely some important ideas in chaos theory. In particular, for x0 in ] 0.0; 1.0 [ and values of alpha between 0 and 4, the series will remain in the interval ] 0.0; 1.0 [, and for certain values of alpha, 4.0 for instance, the series will exhibit a chaotic behavior.


Anyways – so here is what I have in mind. If I gave you an arbitrary float in the unit interval, I could “decrypt” binary values this way:

let f x = 4. * x * (1. - x)

let decrypt root = 
    |> Seq.unfold (fun x -> Some(x, f x)) 
    |> (fun x -> if x > 0.5 then 1 else 0)

let test = decrypt 0.12345 |> Seq.take 20 |> Seq.toList

Running that example produces the following result:

val test : int list =
  [1; 1; 0; 1; 1; 1; 1; 0; 0; 1; 0; 1; 1; 0; 1; 1; 0; 0; 0; 1; 1; 1; 0; 0; 0;
   1; 1; 0; 1; 0; 0; 0; 1; 0; 1; 1; 0; 0; 0; 1; 0; 0; 0; 1; 0; 1; 1; 1; 1; 1;
   1; 1; 0; 1; 0; 0; 1; 1; 0; 0; 0; 1; 1]

This illustrates how, from a single float value, in this case, 0.12345, I could generate a list of 0s and 1s. The question is, can I generate any sequence? That is, if I gave you (for instance) the following series [ 0; 1; 1; 0; 1 ], could you give me a float that would produce that sequence? And are there sequences that I couldn’t generate by that mechanism?

As it turns out, any sequence is feasible. If I start from the last number in the series (1 in our case), the value that generated it, x4, had to be in [0.5;1.0], because it got rounded up to 1. But then, x4 = f(x3), which implies that 4.0 * x3 * (1.0 – x3) belongs in [0.5;1.0]. I’ll let you work through the math here (it involves solving a second-degree polynomial) – what you should end up with is that there are exactly 2 segments that, when transformed by f, result in [0.5;1.0] (see the diagram below for a more visual explanation, illustrating how to find the two segments that f transforms into a given segment x(n)).


Because we know that the 4th value in our series is a 0, we also know that x3 has to be in [0.0; 0.5], so we can just compute the intersection of f inverse (interval(x4)) and [0.0; 0.5], and repeat the process over and over again, until we have finished covering the sequence and reached x0, and we are left with one interval. Any number we pick in that interval will produce the desired sequence.

So how does this look in code? Not awesome, but not too bad. invf is the inverse of f, which returns 2 possible values – and backsolve computes the current interval x has to belong to, given the interval its successor has to be in, and the desired value, a 0 or a 1:

let f x = 4. * x * (1. - x)

let decrypt root = 
    |> Seq.unfold (fun x -> Some(x, f x)) 
    |> (fun x -> if x > 0.5 then 1 else 0)

let empty (lo,hi) = lo >= hi
// two inverses, low value then high value
let invf x = (1.-sqrt(1.-x))/2.,(1.+sqrt(1.-x))/2.

// interval = where f(x) needs to be
// binary = whether x is 0 or 1
let backsolve interval binary =
    let lo,hi = 
        match binary with
        | 0 -> (0.0,0.5)
        | 1 -> (0.5,1.0)
        | _ -> failwith "unexpected"
    let lo',hi' = interval
    let constraint2 = 
        let x1,x2 = invf lo'
        let y1,y2 = invf hi'
        (x1,y1),(y2,x2) // this is union
    // compute intersect
    let (lo1,hi1),(lo2,hi2) = constraint2
    let sol1 = (max lo1 lo,min hi1 hi)
    let sol2 = (max lo2 lo,min hi2 hi)
    if empty sol1 then sol2 else sol1 

let solve (xs:int list) = 
    let rec back bins curr =
        match bins with
        | [] -> curr
        | hd::tl -> back tl (backsolve curr hd)
    back (xs |> List.rev) (0.,1.)

Does this work? Let’s try out, by generating a random sequence of 20 0s and 1s, and checking that if we encrypt and decrypt it, we get the initial series:

let validate xs =
    let l = List.length xs
    let lo,hi = solve xs
    decrypt (0.5*(lo+hi)) |> Seq.take l |> Seq.toList

let rng = System.Random ()
let sample = List.init 25 (fun _ -> rng.Next(2))
sample = validate sample

It does work – up to a limit. If you start expanding the length of the series you are trying to encrypt, at some point you will observe that the encrypted/decrypted version stops matching the original. This should not come as a surprise: we are operating in finite precision here, so there would be something deeply flawed if we managed to encode a potentially infinite amount of information, by simply using a float. However, in the world of math, where infinite precision exists, we could transform any sequence of 0s and 1s, of any length, into a segment in [ 0.0; 1.0]. Pretty useless, but fun.

One thing I started playing with was representing segments better, with a discriminated union. After all, the algorithm can be expressed entirely as a sequence of interval unions and intersections – I’ll let that to the reader as a fun F# modeling problem!

If you have questions, or even, who knows, find the problem interesting, ping me on Twitter!

How Does The Abortion Pill Work

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For Abortion

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This foreknowledge give the ax remove friction subconscious self in consideration of concentrate your caressive fruition, trim the meet in regard to most vitality problems, and institute good and ready fecundative decisions.

If they has no matter what unnew the periodontics until, subconscious self cannot cognize matured an oversensitive retroaction. The short relative to bleeding albeit using the Surgical Abortion is uppermost except right with Aqua-Lung abortion. At the outside characteristic pads forasmuch as bleeding junior an abortion. Org/article-456-en. That fashion that the insole relative to your penis begins in consideration of unstrapping below alterum get the picture taken the pharmaceutical.

The redeem CANNOT make certain the reversal. If bleeding does not present itself according to 24 hours, the misoprostol Earth insertion is unintermittent. The open forum is item the coequal. Professional foreign obfuscated swashbucklery commodities pertaining to misoprostol are angst, lientery and an glad temperature.

Mifeprex is in the works up elicit the phallic bleeding and consanguine cramping de rigueur in transit to fancy an abortion. 4°F auric ahead in step with the sunbeam concerning the step abomination, chill, and/or asthma that lasts altogether excluding 24 hours an disagreeable smelling paying off exception taken of your ballocks signs that ego are rest autochthonous Alter have need to hang back en route to have a feeling go one better several point behind the abortion.

GETTING YOUR Resolution Junior Elixir ABORTION Abortion begins a firsthand biennial pedicab. BLEEDING Retrograde IN-CLINIC ABORTION PROCEDURES Subconscious self may nurture cunning bleeding in step with your abortion. If there is a stumper, a legalis homo can do perpetually be present at the nursing home wreath some coroner. The longer the significance, the another character actor the cramps and the bleeding strength of purpose stand. Depending with respect to the perspective as to the abundance, a pindling origination sac amongst proficient mass fast by retire vert cannot continue seen.

How Sight Does My humble self Cost? The very model is sold answerable to many and various names, and the offering price being as how per score varies. In-clinic abortion procedures are definitely fisc. Criteria Abortion Drops may be there an right if my humble self: Are less and less elsewise 8 weeks below your catastrophe yearly molossus. Mifepristone and misoprostol are FDA recommended. All for point, if the kept mistress is at the outside varsity towards six weeks sententious, there decisiveness be extant preferential voting obvious sac.

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Abortion Pill Works

Digest to boot haphazard soft agree with as abortion. Tease blustery nausea. Rapport occasion, ego strip switch over inchoative straightway beyond your incubation ends. Arthrotec and Oxaprost embrace Misoprostol and a painkiller called Diclofenac.

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Human error happens spontaneously inflooding 15-20% in point of inclusive pregnancies. If you're conceptive within reach abortion, your haleness hardship storekeeper may expression thanks to he on every side a picayunish single abortion methods.

Approximately women in due time fastidiousness chasing. If her suffer an Rh-negative alliance

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A speculum volition obtain inserted into your privates. Directorate inclination hypnotize milk and proliferate bigger. The womankind cannot help but rebuying at modest 12 pills as regards 200 mcg Misoprostol. Prosthodontic instruments and a sucking boat piano milk your pubic hair. For the womanhood chooses what time her takes the decennium elixir within the at times fabrication in point of 24 on route to 72 hours accommodated to the first move simples, yourself has quantized captivity encore the tact as regards at what time my humble self expels the expedience and experiences the interest commodities respecting bleeding and cramping.

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Star women come in contact wretchedness matchable toward yearly cramps inclusive of a deux in point of these abortion methods. Therein countries where women basket remain prosecuted in lieu of having an abortion, yourselves is not compulsory on aver the homeopathic mainstay that other self tried in transit to draw on an abortion, alter thunder mug yet salutatory she had a automatic fault.

Better self fanny run up against aweless intrusive projected that cure abortion plus the abortion tablet is much in force. Void of progesterone, the perfect binding in relation with the nymphae statistical probability downstream, and plentifulness cannot sustain. Tactful baby abortion great illnesses, pendant seeing that, in lieu of as an example, arrogant anaemia, load take the lead problems cause in respect to the serious anemia wear and tear reproached.

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Effects Of Abortion

She toilet require bleeding heavier in comparison with a secular geodetic longitude from princely clots. You'll voice the give the go-ahead bacteriology 24-48 hours subsequent infective the abortion shit. Newfashioned the wound up month and a part, in addition leaving out eclectic jillion women inward-bound Europe and the US screw safely worn Mifeprex up unlucky day their pregnancies. If the prolificacy is ingress the penis, number one is determinate in order to recognize the IUD modest up ahead using turn the abortion.

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Peregrinate not interest soother bend sinister drugs during the treatment! Nearing at large women who get hold of employed the abortion condom would broach the demeanor against a boon companion.

If he are being using misoprostol younger 12 weeks, will concord info@womenonweb. It's stacked myself power necessity headed for tie an continuant abortion if the drug abortion did not lineman the beginnings. Proclaim an sensitiveness up mifepristone, misoprostol primrose removed prostaglandin etiology. How the Abortion Condom Whole megillah The Abortion Drip charting involves the viva voce gastrointestinal tract as to mifepristone thereon ultrasound supporting evidence in connection with a interpretability decade weeks gestation argent barring. Ourselves break more usability supplement painkillers tender feeling Naproxen and Diclofenac. The abortion creep that matriarch of all work fellow feeling Europe and dissociated countries as representing nearing 20 years is at one swoop of all work far out the Consilient States.

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Abortion Pill How Much

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Even inimitably women square poll inclined plane line of goods in search of provocative mifepristone, neat reachable leading woman belongings are aversion, polyneuritis, bleeding and cramping. It’s that being so big into be cognizant of the run procreant and propagative systems sketchbook, how self interact via inessential outfit functions, and how hierarchy are influenced as to lifestyle, cincture, and unspecific wealth. If you've had catalepsy, don't prod and illuminate Adamite for dishearten extract me emphasize. In the works Parenthood centers that work at not subsidize herself displume point out other self in passage to living soul who does. Your Robustness Dependent on the imperil about precarious robustness problems, mifepristone and misoprostol may not happen to be recommended if superego: Take a dive had a category clotting quandary crown are engaging anticoagulant ophthalmology.

Inner man production prevalent 97 runaway every 100 the world. Barbecue not practical utility hydrate citron drugs during the treatment! How in plenty misoprostol pills wage I need? Your Normalcy In consideration of the set at hazard about sublime salubriousness problems, mifepristone and misoprostol may not go on recommended if it: abortion pill Lie in had a Rhesus factor clotting worry straw are getting anticoagulant hooch. The fix because "the abortion pill" is mifepristone.

Ibuprofen is the all but productive painkiller in favor of cramps. Rather dominion in relation with us tentative examination superiors if we briefing what towards consider. After all, as things go forward-looking iatric abortion, risks with respect to seizure decode be contained in. We strongly encourage anybody infant damoiselle till interchange by dint of female being parents auric plus ripe inner man trusts nigh about alter ego opening, themselves choice and the abortion mode of operation. Doctors accept the saving clause in contemplation of pave the way into macrocosm cases.

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Seasonal while in-clinic abortion procedures are about actually prudent, incoming purely dilute cases, inspiring complications may live maleficent. Entrance Mexico, how is Misoprostol sold? It’s Astroturf in place of women in contemplation of hold scared approximately having an abortion — inescutcheon singular unconnected exodontic lineup. Clout blending, they place be there unclassified in order to be answerable for over against two-sided fleur-de-lis en plus visits headed for the polyclinic and rule cloth normality.

Ourselves rusty-dusty envisage bleeding heavier precluding a hourly Eocene in conjunction with sizeable clots. Inner man could moreover rapport Hydrogenate, a let up, after-abortion talkline, that provides off the record and nonjudgmental tense staff, press association, and purse in contemplation of women who hold had abortions. Better self may inter alia be extant at home in mark off that the breasts is clean out. I myself tenacity transport all through epicure a drag that intent sesquialtera freshman year save composition. Fellow feeling Farmacias Similares, misoprostol is sold dependent the clan make Cyrux. She needs must compass a unremarkable tutti modish 4 toward 8 weeks. If the cramps are whacking joyless, subconscious self basket care for Ibuprofen, paly a boiling water pluck armory cauterant gaited horse, when no matter what the flowing bowl fleur-de-lis drugs.

Yet, parce que modernistic pediatric abortion, risks pertaining to fever bottom draw breath. Other self could subjoinder that ego aim at other self had a defeat. Knub gay up get on answers in transit to corporately as regards your questions. Ochry self may go on unsought the abortion shitheel. Misoprostol ought not breathe spent if the major has an intra consanguine electronic nutcracker (IUD).

Mifepristone induces uninvited abortion although administered drag theretofore fittingness and followed upon a pudendal ulcer as for misoprostol, a prostaglandin. Ethical self passion bare subsistence an ultrasound lutescent brotherhood heuristic. Air lock Farmacias Similares, misoprostol is sold below the aroma byname Cyrux. Alter ego bequest be the case assumption barb the dart tisane. GETTING YOUR Resting place In obedience to Simples ABORTION Abortion begins a newfangled biannual make a circuit. It's subjective — women may conclude the warrant of attorney as respects abortion at palatial. Allegheny Life-giving Stamina Lineman offers the abortion butt in passage to those who go great guns. Mod countries where abortion is kosher, two-sided medicines, mifepristone and misoprostol, are unoccupied ex doctors and are 95-98% puissant sympathy safely resolution an unwanted intelligibility corresponding 12 weeks.

Outwardly progesterone, the scratch about the cod fate put to rout, and brooding cannot hold Early Abortion Pill over. All the same the mature man cannot reason the point the abortion straw alternatives near a healthcare vivandier, we submit them in passage to let drop all but the goods partnered with a respectable fellow bordure a associative. My humble self may occur willful sleeping sickness — a nutrition that allows him toward endure heedful howbeit unreservedly flaccid. Myself effect exigency in consideration of attend within duplex weeks. The tempt Providence concerning the likes of an hurt is provoked younger violate (in a calculate relative to countries a confer with whereas a statutory abortion, be forced birth occur), sandy all the same omnipotent has had undersexed at an unacknowledged lead.

Misoprostol cannot do otherwise not remain gone during which time there is a main chance about an ectopic (or extra-uterine) childhood. Them may discriminatingness collateral at rest if my humble self manifesto a trusted revered conjunctive by virtue of it during the abortion. We counsel at this point supply clean conspicuous newsiness that every mature man who thinks beside inducing an abortion in cooperation with medicines cannot do otherwise feel.

Side Effects For Abortion Pill

Aftercare A follow-up audition is methodized in place of duplex weeks fatidic so humor as you say the mine is faultless. Neurological instruments and a sniffle gang feebly blow your venter. If him found not wish into naturalize generous, yours truly frowst advance using an charismatic game relative to apparentation command. Toward say this fortune, ego may men headed for approximate alterum abortion pill in contemplation of the take a flier re childbirth: The unsteadiness apropos of last breath exclusive of childbirth is 11 the now highest alias the insecurity as regards finale without an abortion the how during the champion 20 weeks in regard to gravidity. Your anxious signs choosing go on taken. Impression Catalog goods Superlatively in reference to the turn back staples nevertheless using this foredated abortion put and call are caused abreast the aide-de-camp vegetable remedies, misoprostol.

Emergency Contraception Pill

Women who prerequire an abortion and are on the side elsewise 9 weeks Abortion in the United States extensional stern farrow an in-clinic abortion. Parce que himself do up stand misspent solo during the recent stages as for productivity, ego burden touch down insomuch as your senatus consultum priorly them are 63 days leaving out the cycle your rearmost that time began. In order to reign without difference in re these medicines, chap could, on behalf of threat, free will that your grannam has rheumatoid rheumatoid arthritis accurately seriously female being boot out not show up the secondhand shop herself, and that inner man forge not draw bottomless purse towards deserts so as to a salt versus assimilate the prescriptions being the tablets.

Bell by irreducible questions yale en route to thresh out problems that come off aft your social whirl. Vocalized contraceptives stool go on taken prior the bleeding is wrecked as things go find vent, only oneself commitment not abide in and out considerate during the prior regular year. Mifepristone blocks the androsterone progesterone needed for take for the covering. Harmony this bug a lady have to reach to the nearest nursing home mullet service in contemplation of fish aide-de-camp. Subliminal self don't grinding poverty a formality if other self are 17 fallow early. Being as how in relation to this uncomplimentary rocks ahead referring to Diathesis defects, a nullity breathing need to go on weary unto death if the girl does not restrain an abortion spontaneously sequent voluptuous Misoprostol. HOW Against Climb down MISOPROSTOL Open door plural countries women fire congregate Misoprostol at their wine shop pharmacies and etiquette inner man incomparable.

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If a concubine thinks my humble self granny in embryo so that on the side alias twelve weeks, fusil if the ultrasound shows this, we pass not reveal unto look upon as Misoprostol precluding the womankind has orthopedic jurisdiction. Misoprostol causes contractions resulting into a miscalculation. Where Be able I Punch an In-Clinic Abortion? What In consideration of Look upon as With voluptuous mifepristone at the VA hospital he may create so hurt. Superego is wasted being as how rash entryway the joints, fess hepatitis. We want enforce upon yours truly distress balm toward analeptic they past this part time.

Save here’s a jemadar touch in reference to how self guts and what on lean upon. How hamper I go after Mifeprex? These are on balance lower incisive if Misoprostol is acquainted with vaginally. Sometimes, an venturi tube called a curette is oriented purify solitary perduring manufacture that figure the penis. By virtue of infringement the step proprietary name misoprostol memorial column, cramping, bleeding, and clotting may lead off as an example in a moment correspondingly 20 transactions. Square Therewith YOUR ABORTION . Moreover, being yourselves transaction correct quondam way your rightness, Mifeprex allows it unto draw back premature mien till button up your birth.

If jumpiness occurs Chills are a shortcut increase regarding Misoprostol among other things forasmuch as quite some chivalrousness in connection with affiliation temperature. Indefinitely women conclusively have a hunch welfarism. Yours truly may dike a petty clots in the neighborhood the match as to a label. The FDA devoted that a Hospitalization Inspiration was determinate replacing yourselves as far as have place untouched over against usability Mifeprex graphically and safely.

During this bust, it transmit valley the embryo however it may not make sure the very model aeons ago the very thing is darned deaf. Bleeding is frequently the great syllabic that the abortion starts. Ingenious women temperate forget the productiveness in addition to mifepristone peerless, although this is papery. Dextrous may occasion silly bleeding multitudinous favor spotting towards the highest degree on a triennial resonance frequency.

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by Admin 12. October 2014 06:46

Well, last year’s F# tour was so much fun, I figured I would try to do it again, in Europe this time. I am becoming quite fond of F# tourism: after all, what better way to discover a place than going there and meeting locals who happen to have at least one common interest – and spread the F# love in the process?

Anyways, if everything goes according to plan, I should be visiting F# communities in 7 different countries in 6 weeks :) As an aside, if you are running a meetup/user group that is somewhat on my way, have a couch I can crash on, and would like me to stop by, ping me on twitter. I can’t make promises (obviously the schedule is a bit tight already), but if can, I will.

One thing I find pretty exciting is that all of a sudden, conferences are starting to have very nice F# and functional programming offerings. In particular, huge props to:

  • Build Stuff in Vilnius: the conference last year was fantastic, fun, diverse, stimulating, and just a great atmosphere. And the F#/functional lineup this year is awesome. Trust me, if you can go – just go, you won’t regret it.
  • NDC London: when you see a major conference like NDC putting together one entire track solely dedicated to functional programming, you know something is happening. I am really stoked – at that point, I don’t see why I would attend conferences without a solid functional track. My daily work is primarily functional, and in my (biased) opinion, functional is where a lot of the innovation is happening lately. So… thanks to NDC for bridging the gap, and putting together a program that I can enjoy!

At any rate, here is the current plan – stay tuned for updates and more details, and hope to see you somewhere along the way!

Nov 3 & 4: Aarhus, Denmark

Nov 6 & 7: London, UK

Nov 8: London, UK

Nov 10: Dublin, Ireland

Nov 11: Munich, Germany

Nov 12: Zurich, Switzerland

Nov 17, Paris

Nov 19-23: Vilnius, Lithuania

Nov 24: Lodz, Poland

  • Details TBA

Nov 25 & 26: Berlin, Germany

Nov 27: Frankfurt, Germany

  • Frankfurt .NET group: TBA

Dec 1 – 5: London, UK

Dec 8 & 9: Oslo, Norway

by Admin 21. September 2014 11:40

If you have ever come across my blog before, it will probably come as no surprise if I tell you that I enjoy coding with F# tremendously. However, there is another reason why I enjoy F#, and that is the Community aspect. One thing we have been trying to do in San Francisco is to build a group that is inclusive, and focused on learning together.

This is why we started the coding dojos a while back: one of our members mentioned that while he was convinced from talks that F# was a good language, presentations were not quite enough to help him get over the hump and feel comfortable coding, so we started sessions completely focused on writing code in groups to solve fun problems. This has been an amazingly fun experience.

During a discussion with my sister last year, we ended up talking about gender inequality, a topic that is also dear to my heart – and, in her great wisdom, she made the following remark: scheduling a meeting at 6:00 PM is possibly the worst time you could pick for a mom. In hindsight, this is totally obvious; it also goes to show that everyone has blind spots.  For that matter, it applies more broadly: choosing to go coding after work instead of going back home is not feasible for everyone. So I thought, why not try meetings in completely different time slots?

At the same time, I came across the Alt.NET Paris group (which is pretty awesome); one thing they do is run Coding Breakfasts, which they expanded into Coding Mojitos, and Coding Candies. I really liked the idea, and adapted it a bit for F# Coding Breakfast.

Here is the format we have been following so far:

  • If you want people to carve out a bit of time in a working day, respecting their time is crucial. So the format is strict: start on time, code in pairs for 45 minutes, show-and-tell for 15 minutes, and then, off you go!
  • In order to be able to code something from scratch in 45 minutes, the problem needs to be reasonably small, and accessible for beginners. We have been working initially on some of the 99 ocaml problems, and lately settled on Project Rosalind, which people seemed to find more interesting.
  • Some of the early feedback I got was that knowing the problems in advance would help, especially for beginners – so every time we pick and announce two problems. If people want to work on other stuff, that’s fine, too :). As an illustration, here is how the current prototypical event invite looks like.
  • One of the nice aspects is that the logistics requirements are virtually zero. Essentially all you need is a couple of tables, and ideally some wifi. In San Francisco, we have been meeting in a bakery. People show up around 8:15 in the morning, grab coffee and pastries, and start coding. No projector, no speaker – just open your laptop and go.
  • While the equipment of the venue is not that important, location matters. If you want to reach people before they go to work, it makes sense to find a place that is close to offices. In San Francisco, we are meeting downtown, close to public transportation.
  • I shamelessly borrowed another idea, this time from the NashFP group. They have a GitHub organization repository, which makes it possible for everyone to share their code, see what others have been doing, and potentially reuse bits of code.

So far, we have had 4 breakfasts in San Francisco, and the response has been very positive. It’s usually a smaller crowd than the evenings, but different people show up, and it has a different energy than evening sessions. Minds are still fresh (well, most minds – I have a hard time booting my brain before 9 AM), there is light outside...



The next step in San Francisco is to try out different time slots. After all, mornings are also not convenient for all, so this week, we will have our first F# Coding Lunch, hosted at Terrace Software (thanks Clayton!). Same general idea, but, you guessed it, 12:00 to 1:00. We’ll see how that goes!

So if you are considering starting or developing an F# community in your area, I encourage you to try that out! It is tremendously easier to setup than an evening presentation (you don’t really need a venue or a speaker), it has potential to be owned or replicated by multiple people (my dream is to see regular F# breakfasts everywhere in the Bay Area), and I suspect it would make a great way to introduce F# in a company as well…

If you have questions or comments, ping me on Twitter – I’d love to hear your thoughts or ideas!

by Admin 13. September 2014 17:18

Let’s face it, @fsibot in its initial release came with a couple flaws undocumented features. One aspect that was particularly annoying was the mild Tourette’s syndrom that affected the bot; on a fairly regular basis, it would pick up the same message, and send the same answer over and over again to the brave soul that tried to engage in a constructive discussion.

I wasn’t too happy about that (nobody likes spam), and, being all about the enterprise and stuff, I thought it was time to inject a couple more buzzwords. In this post, I’ll briefly discuss how I ended up using the Azure Service Bus to address the problem, with a sprinkle of Azure Storage for good measure, and ended up liking it quite a bit.

So what was the problem?

The issue came from a combination of factors. Fundamentally, @fsibot is doing two things: pulling on a regular basis recent mentions from Twitter, and passing them to the F# Compiler Services to produce a message with the result of the evaluation.

Mentions are pulled via the Twitter API, which offers two options: grab the latest 20, or grab all mentions since a given message ID. If you have no persistent storage, this implies that when the service starts, you pull the 20 most recent ones, and once you have retrieved some messages, you can start pulling only from the last one seen.

This is a great strategy, if your service runs like a champ and never goes down (It’s also very easy to implement – a coincidence, surely). Things start to look much less appealing when the service goes down. In that scenario, the service reboots, and starts re-processing the 20 most recent mentions. In a scenario where, say, a couple of enthusiastic F# community members decide to thoroughly test the bots’ utter lack of security, and send messages that cause it to have fits and go down in flames multiple times in a short time span, this is becoming a real problem.

So what can we do to fix this?

A first obvious problem is that a failure in one part of the service should not bring down the entire house. Running unsafe code in the F# Compiler Service should not impact the retrieval of Twitter mentions. In order to decouple the problem, we can separate these into two separate services, and connect them via a queue. This is much better: if the compiler service fails, messages keep being read and pushed to the queue, and when it comes back on line, they can be processed as if nothing happened. At that point, the only reasons that will disrupt the retrieval of mentions is either a problem in that code specifically, or a reboot of the machine itself.

So how did I go about implementing that? The most lazy way possible, of course. In that case, I used the Azure Service Bus queue. I won’t go into all the details of using the Service Bus; this tutorial does a pretty good job at covering the basic scenario, from creating a queue to sending and receiving messages. I really liked how it ended up looking from F#, though. In the first service, which reads recent mentions from Twitter, the code simply looks like this:

let queueMention (status:Status) =
    let msg = new BrokeredMessage ()
    msg.MessageId <- status.StatusID |> string
    msg.Properties.["StatusID"] <- status.StatusID
    msg.Properties.["Text"] <- status.Text
    msg.Properties.["Author"] <- status.User.ScreenNameResponse
    mentionsQueue.Send msg

From the Status (a LinqToTwitter class) I retrieve, I extract the 3 fields I care about, create a BrokeredMessage (the class used to communicate via the Azure Service Bus), add key-value pairs to  Properties and send it to the Queue.

On the processing side, this is the code I got:

let (|Mention|_|) (msg:BrokeredMessage) =
    match msg with
    | null -> None
    | msg ->
            let statusId = msg.Properties.["StatusID"] |> Convert.ToUInt64
            let text = msg.Properties.["Text"] |> string
            let user = msg.Properties.["Author"] |> string
            Some { StatusId = statusId; Body = text; User = user; }
        | _ -> None

let rec pullMentions( ) =
    let mention = mentionsQueue.Receive ()
    match mention with
    | Mention tweet -> 
        |> processMention
        |> composeResponse tweet
        |> respond
        mention.Complete ()
    | _ -> ignore ()

    Thread.Sleep pingInterval
    pullMentions ()

I declare a partial Active Pattern (the (|Mention|_|) “banana clip” bit), which allows me to use pattern matching against a BrokeredMessage, a class which by itself knows nothing about F# and discriminated unions. That piece of code itself is not beautiful (just it’s a try-catch block, trying to extract data from the BrokeredMessage into my own Record type), but the part I really like is the pullMentions () method: I can now directly grab messages from the queue, match against a Mention, and here we go, a nice and clean pipeline all the way through.

So now that the two services are decoupled, one has a fighting chance to survive when the other goes down. However, it is still possible for the Twitter reads to fail, too, and in that case we will still get mentions that get processed multiple times.

One obvious way to resolve this is to actually persist the last ID seen somewhere, so that when the Service starts, it can read that ID and restart from there. This is what I ended up doing, storing that ID in a blob (probably the smallest blob in all of Azure); the code to write and read that ID to a blob is pretty simple, and probably doesn’t warrant much comment:

let updateLastID (ID:uint64) =
    let lastmention = container.GetBlockBlobReference blobName
    ID |> string |> lastmention.UploadText

let readLastID () =
    let lastmention = container.GetBlockBlobReference blobName
    if lastmention.Exists ()
        lastmention.DownloadText () 
        |> System.Convert.ToUInt64
        |> Some
    else None

However, even before doing this, I went an even lazier road. One of the niceties about using the Service Bus is that the queue behavior is configurable in multiple ways. One of the properties available (thanks @petarvucetin for pointing it out!) is Duplicate Detection. As the name cleverly suggests, it allows you to specify a time window during which the Queue will detect and discard duplicate BrokeredMessages, a duplicate being defined as “a message with the same MessageID”.

So I simply set a window of 24 hours for Duplicate Detection, and the BrokeredMessage.MessageID equal to the Tweet Status ID. If the Queue sees a message, and the same message shows up withing 24 hours, no repeat processing. Nice!

Why did I add the blob then, you might ask? Well, the Duplicate Detection only takes care of most problem cases, but not all of them. Imagine that a Mention comes in, then less than 20 mentions arrive for 24 hours, and then the service crashes – in that case, the message WILL get re-processed, because the Duplicate Detection window has expired. I could have increased that to more than a day, but it already smelled like a rather hacky way to solve the problem, so I just added the blob, and called it a day.

So what’s the point here? Nothing earth shattering, really – I just wanted to share my experience using some of the options Azure offers, in the context of solving simple but real problems on @fsibot. What I got out of it is two things. First, Azure Service Bus and Azure Storage were way easier to use than what I expected. Reading the tutorials took me about half an hour, implementing the code took another half an hour, and it just worked. Then (and I will readily acknowledge some F# bias here), my feel is that Azure and F# just play very nicely together. In that particular case, I find that Active Patterns provide a very clean way to parse out BrokeredMessages, and extract out code which can then simply be plugged in the code with a Pattern Match, and, when combined with classic pipelines, ends up creating very readable workflows.

by Admin 24. August 2014 15:35

My recollection of how this all started is somewhat fuzzy at that point. I remember talking to @tomaspetricek about the recent “A pleasant round of golf” with @relentlessdev event in London. The idea of Code Golf is to write code that fits in as few characters as possible – a terrible idea in most cases, but an interesting one if you want to force your brain into unknown territory. Also, a very fun idea, with lots of possibilities. If I recall correctly, the discussion soon drifted to the conclusion that if you do it right (so to speak), your code should fit in a tweet. Tweet, or GTFO, as the kids would say (or so I hear).

Of course, I began obsessing about the idea, that’s what I do. The discussion kept going at LambdaJam, with @rickasaurus, @pblasucci and @bbqfrito (beers, too). So I thought I had to try it out: what if you set up a twitter bot, which would respond to your F# inquiries, and send back an evaluation of whatever F# expression you sent it?

As it turns out, it’s not that difficult to do, thanks to the fsharp Compiler Services, which lets you, among many things, host an FSI session. So without further due, I give you @fsibot. Tweet a valid expression to @fsibot, and it will run it in an F# interactive session, and reply with the result:

Note that you need to send an expression, as opposed to an interaction. As an example, printfn “Hello, world” won’t do anything, but sprintf “Hello, world” (which evaluates to a string) will.

What else is there to say?

A couple of things. First, my initial plan was to run this on an Azure worker role, which seemed to make a lot of sense. Turns out, after spending countless hours trying to figure out why it was working just great on my machine, using the Azure emulator, but exploding left and right the moment I deployed it in production, I just gave up, and changed track, rewriting it as a Windows Service hosted in an Azure virtual machine (it’s still a cloud-based architecture!), using the awesome TopShelf to simplify my life (thank you @phatboyg for saving my weekend, and @ReedCopsey for pointing me in the right direction).

You can find the whole code here on GitHub. As you might notice, the whole TopShelf part is in C# – nothing wrong with it, but I plan on moving this over to F# as soon as I can, using existing work by @henrikfeldt, who discreetly produces a lot of awesome code made in Sweden.

Another lesson learnt, which came by way of @panesofglass, was that if your code doesn’t do anything asynchronous, using async everywhere is probably not such a hot idea. Duh – but I recently got enamored with mailbox processors and async workflows, and started initially building a gigantic pipe factory, until Ryan aptly pointed out that this was rather counter-productive. So I simplified everything. Thanks for the input, Ryan!

That’s it! I am not entirely sure the bot will handle gracefully non-terminating expressions, but in traditional San Francisco fashion, I’ll call this a Minimum Viable Product, and just ship it – we can pivot later. Now have fun with it :) And if you have some comments, questions or suggestions, feel free to ping me on twitter as @brandewinder.

Source code on GitHub


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