20-CS-4003-001 Organization of Programming Languages Fall 2018

Lambda calculus, Type theory, Formal semantics, Program analysis

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The Error Function

first (x:xs) =  x
first  []    =  error "first [] is a no go"
  -   Haskell has a built-in function called error whose type is String -> a. Thus, from a string, any output is possible. The error function when a program should be terminated due to a bad condition that cannot be recovered from.

The example to the left re-defines head as first. The new first functions behaves like head except when the argument is an empty list. head [] will raise an exception, first [] invokes error.