[R] linear lists, creation, insertion, deletion, traversal *someone?*

Ben Bolker bolker at ufl.edu
Wed Mar 1 15:37:21 CET 2006

Christian Hoffmann <christian.hoffmann <at> wsl.ch> writes:

> Hi,
> In a second try I will ask this list to give me some useful pointers.

   [There is a general problem with the list, because of its
volunteer nature: easy questions and questions that catch peoples'
attention get answered.  Others don't.  I saw your initial question
but wasn't sufficiently clear on the distinction between "linear
lists" and lists as implemented in R to know what you needed that
an R list() couldn't do ... and I don't have Wirth on my shelf
and didn't have time to go look for a copy.]
> Linear lists, as described e.g. by N.Wirth in "Algorithms and Data
> Structures", seem not to be implemented in S/R, although in lisp we have 
> cons, car, cdr.

  cons would seem to be roughly equivalent to c() (except
that you have to make sure that the arguments are lists:
c("pine",list("fir","oak","maple")) won't work, you have
to do c(list("pine"),list("fir","oak","maple"))).
   car(x) is x[1]
   cdr(x) is x[-1]

> Nevertheless I want to implement an algorithm using such linear lists, 
> porting a trusted program to R (S). I need:
> (from Modula/Oberon)
> 	SC* = RECORD	Next*: pSC; ......
> ...     END;
> # generate and fill a linked list:
> VAR   p, pA, Kol: pSC;
> 	NEW( Kol);
> 	pA := Kol;
> 	while () {
> 		NEW( p );
> 		pA.Next := p;
> 		pA := p;
> 		...
> 	}
> Mapping this list management to R's list() is possible, but may not be 
> so transparent. Insertions and deletions from a list may be more convoluted.

   I don't know Modula.  What determines the length of the
list you are constructing here?  It looks like this is more
or less analogous to a while() { mylist <- c(mylist,newelement) }
(although there are probably more efficient ways to do it)

   Setting a list element to NULL deletes it; you can also use
negative indexing to drop one or more elements from a list.
  (pages 28 and 29 of "introduction to R"
   I don't know offhand if there's a simple way to modify
a list by inserting an element into the middle, bumping
up all the other indices; R deals much more with indices
than with pointer references.  If you wanted to insert
an element between items w and w+1 you could say
newlist <- c(oldlist[1:w],newelement,oldlist[(w+1):length(oldlist)])
but I appreciate that this may not be what you're looking

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