Fibonacci Project

Fibonacci in Erlang

Thursday, August 11th, 2011

We’ve seen the fibonacci example in multiple languages, but none of them purely functional. Erlang is a functional language that is growing in popularity due to the ease in which you can create concurrent programs. It has a number of paradigms that may be foreign to developers that are used to working in scripting or object oriented languages, but rather than a hindrance, things like immutable variables and the lack of loop constructs encourage an elegance in implementation that becomes second nature once you change your mindset.

In this example, we’re using three of these features together to create a very simple version of our fibonacci function.

  • Multiple function clauses – In erlang, you can define a function multiple times – and depending on the arguments passed to the function the correct version of that function is executed.
  • Pattern matching – To determine which function clause is executed, variables declared in the head can be matched against a pattern. In this example, we’re using the same variable name in the first clause for the third and fourth variables. Because variables are immutable, they can only ever equal one value when they are set. That means that when we are looking for “Count” twice in the function head – we are really looking for those variables to contain the same value.
  • Tail recursion – Instead of for or while loops, erlang uses a mechanism called tail recursion. By calling itself multiple times with incremented values, our fibonacci function is in effect executing a loop; and because we have multiple function clauses, we can end the loop when a certain condition is met.


Fibonacci in Java

Sunday, January 6th, 2008

So we’ve seen lots of examples of our Fibonacci program in scripting languages, but other than C, I haven’t touched on many compiled languages. So here is a version in Java, probably one of the most common and popular languages in use today. Considered by advocates to be the among the best enterprise application development languages, we’ll see here how to write our simple program.

Fibonacci in Ruby

Saturday, January 5th, 2008

So finally we get to Ruby. Is it a ghetto? I don’t know about that, but I do know that writing our simple Fibonacci program in Ruby was a piece of cake. Before we get to the good stuff, though, I’d like to recap where we are, and what we’ve done so far. Here’s a list of the Fibonacci project programs so far:

So this is our sixth version of the simple sequence generator, this time in Ruby

The next installment will be another popular language. Stay tuned to see Fibonacci in Java.

Fibonacci in Python

Saturday, January 5th, 2008

In our latest installment of the Fibonacci project, we’ll write our simple program in Python. For those of you who are unfamiliar with what we are doing here, please read the first post here. Python is a newer, but increasingly popular scripting language. I suppose the most interesting difference here is that Python is dependent on indentation to define blocks, rather than braces or other language constructs.

Fibonacci in Perl

Thursday, January 3rd, 2008

So this is our fourth post of the Fibonacci project, and in this installment, we are going to take on Perl. For those of you who don’t know about the Fibonacci project, you should read the first post, Fibonacci in C. Also, you may want to check out the other posts in the series. The comments in the code will make more sense if you have seen the other examples.

Any Perl gurus want to critique my work here? Like most of the examples, this is a simplified version, but one that works.

Fibonacci in BASH

Thursday, January 3rd, 2008

So here’s the big surprise. Shell scripting! It’s not what most people think of when they think of programming, but systems administrators are still doing lots of scripting work to automate tasks. Shell scripting can tackle some pretty serious and complicated problems, so running our Fibonacci program is no sweat. If you haven’t seen the Fibonacci in C and the Fibonacci in PHP, now might be a good time to review them.

So what are the gotchas for scripting in BASH? What killed me is whitespace! (a=1 is not the same as a = 1). Once you get the hang of it, it’s not a big deal, but if you are used to working in PHP or another language that ignores whitespace, you’ll run through a few syntax errors before figuring it out. Using an editor like Vim that has syntax highlighting will help a lot there.So there is the third version of our Fibonacci project. Coming soon, I’ll take on the popular scripting languages perl, python, and ruby.

Fibonacci in PHP

Thursday, January 3rd, 2008

So here is my second post in the Fibonacci project. For those of you that have not seen the first post here, the Fibonacci project is a learning experiment designed to highlight the similarities and differences between programming languages. In our C Fibonacci example, we learned that we need to declare variables and types, even the return type of a function. In this PHP example, we’ll see that PHP, while different, is very similar to C in syntax.

You’ll notice a couple of things about this version of the Fibonacci program. Because it’s intended to be run on the command line, the first line tells the shell which interpretor to use. In addition, I have been careful here to return an exit code so that the shell knows that the program completed successfully.Stay tuned for our next installment, I’ll keep it a surprise, and even though everyone thinks it will be Ruby, I’m going to save that one for later.

Fibonacci in C

Thursday, January 3rd, 2008

Welcome to the first post of the Fibonacci project. In the following weeks, I am going to write this simple program in as many languages as possible, to highlight the similarities and differences between them. Today I will start with C, a classic language that is still in use today, and a good foundation for everything else that we will see. Rather than writing a lengthy post with each language, I’ll try to comment the code to point out the important things. Hopefully, this learning experiment will teach me something, and hopefully it will provide a handy resource for people to compare languages, even if it’s in a limited capacity.

So before I started, I gave myself the following “spec sheet” for writing the code:

The purpose of the Fibonacci project is to create a simple programming example in as many languages as possible, to provide a clear demonstration of the differences and similarities between them.

The sample code should:

  • Accept an input “x” (A value to progress up to)
  • Starting at 0 and 1, output the Fibonacci sequence up to “x” permutations.
  • There should be two functions, for clarity.
    • (main) Accepts the input and calls the fibonacci function.
    • (fibonacci) One that accepts the value of x and outputs the sequence.

The code should accept input from the console (stdin), with a prompt, and output to the console (stdout). This is so we keep everything simple. All of the code should be thoroughly commented.

So there’s my version of the Fibonacci sequence generator in C. I’m sure there are some problems with it, but the above code works. What would you change to make it better? Stay tuned for the next installment … PHP.