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Marpa::XS::Semantics::UserrContributed Perl DocuMarpa::XS::Semantics::Order(3)

NAME
       Marpa::XS::Semantics::Order - How Marpa ranks ambiguous parses

DESCRIPTION
       Marpa allows ambiguous parses.  While an	unambiguous parse can produce
       at most one parse tree and one parse result, an ambiguous parse will
       produce a parse series.	A parse	series is a sequence of	parse trees,
       each of which will have its own parse result.

       This document describes ways of controlling the order in	which the
       recognizer's "value" method evaluates the parse trees of	an ambiguous
       parse.  It also describes ways to exclude selected parse	trees from the
       parse series.

   Duplicate parses are	eliminated
       When evaluating the parse trees in a parse series, Marpa	never
       evaluates the same parse	tree twice.  Marpa considers two parse trees
       to be the same if they are semantic duplicates.

       Two parse trees are semantic duplicates if and only if a	recursive,
       top-down	evaluation of each applies the same rules in the same order at
       the same	earleme	locations.  This definition implies that, given	any
       deterministic semantics,	two parse trees	which are semantic duplicates
       will always produce the same parse result -- hence the term "semantic
       duplicates".  When the Marpa documentation refers to duplicate parses,
       it will mean semantic duplicates	unless otherwise stated.

   Default parse order
       By calling the recognizer's "value" method repeatedly, Marpa can
       produce all the parse results in	the current parse series.  The default
       is for the parse	results	to be returned in an arbitrary order.  This
       corresponds to the ""none"" value of the	recognizer's "ranking_method"
       named argument.

   Arbitrary parse order
       When this document calls	a behavior "arbitrary" it means	that an
       application must	not rely on that behavior being	repeated.  An
       arbitrary behavior is allowed to	change from version to version of the
       software, from run to run of the	application, and even from call	to
       call of the methods.

       "Arbitrary parse	order",	in particular, means that the particular order
       in which	parse trees are	evaluated may not be repeated.	But an
       application can expect, even when the order of evaluation of the	parse
       trees is	arbitrary, that	all appropriate	parse trees will be included
       in the parse series, and	that none of the parse trees in	the parse
       series will be the semantic duplicate of	any other tree.

   Ranking methods
       Marpa grammar objects have a "ranking_method" named argument, whose
       value can be the	name of	a ranking method, or ""none"", indicating that
       the default ranking method is to	be used.

   The "rule" ranking method
       The rule	method ranks alternative parses	according to their rules.
       Every rule has a	rule rank.  A rule's rank can be specified using the
       the "rank" named	argument for that rule.	 Rule ranks must be integers.
       If no rule rank is specified, the rule rank is 0.  When being ranked,
       parse trees are traversed top-down, left-to-right.

   The "high_rule_only"	ranking	method
       The "high_rule_only" ranking method is similar to the "rule" ranking
       method, except that, at every choice point, it discards all of the
       choices which have a rank lower than that of the	highest	ranked
       alternative.

       In carrying out the ranking, the	choice points of the parse trees are
       visited in top-down, left-to-right order.  Since	the "high_rule_only"
       ranking method eliminates some parse trees, it can reduce or eliminate
       the ambiguity of	a parse, but it	does not necessarily do	either.	 This
       is because, at each choice point	among the parse	trees, it is possible
       that several of the choices, or all of them, will have the same rank as
       the highest ranked alternative.

   Null	ranking
       Some rules have a RHS which contains proper nullables: symbols which
       may be nulled, but which	are not	nulling	symbols.  (Nulling symbols are
       symbols which are always	nulled.)

       When a rule contains proper nullables, each application of that rule to
       a section of input creates a nulling variant -- that rule with a
       specific	pattern	of null	and non-null symbols.  In many cases, this
       creates an ambiguity -- different nulling variants could	apply to the
       same substring of input.	 In ambiguous parsings of this kind, some
       applications may	want to	rank nulling variants that start with non-null
       symbols higher.	Other applications may want to do the opposite -- to
       rank nulling variants that start	with null symbols higher.

       The "null_ranking" named	argument for rules specifies which nulling
       variants	are ranked high	or low.	 Ranking of nulling variants is	done
       left-to-right, with the null preference as indicated by the
       "null_ranking" named argument.  Specifically, if	the "null_ranking" is
       ""low"",	then the closer	a nulling variant places its non-null symbols
       to the start of the rule, the higher it ranks.  If the "null_ranking"
       is ""high"", then the closer a nulling variant places its null symbols
       to the start of the rule, the higher it ranks.

       A rule is null ranked if	and only if its	"null_ranking" is defined.
       Note that this definition means that a rule can be considered null
       ranked even if it does not have any nullable symbols.  A	rule which is
       not null	ranked is called non-null-ranked.

       Null ranking, in	the current implementation, is targeted	at situations
       where the alternatives are different applications of a single rule.  In
       situations where	the choice is between two different rules, an
       application which cares about the order will typically want to override
       the null	ranking	using rule ranks.  A more detailed description of the
       rule comparison logic can be found below.

       By default, "null_ranking" is undefined,	which means the	order of the
       null variants is	arbitrary.  This is fine for most applications.

   Details of ranking
       When ranking, the logic descends	the parse trees	top-down and left-to-
       right.  Places where there is more than one alternative are called
       choice points.  Alternatives are	ranked (in the "rule" ranking method)
       or selected (in the "high_rule_only" ranking method), by	comparing them
       as follows:

       o   If two alternatives are for the same	rule, and that the rule	is
	   null	ranked,	they rank as described under "Null ranking".

       o   If the two alternatives have	the same rule, and that	rule is	non-
	   null-ranked,	the alternatives have equal rank.

       o   If the two alternatives have	different rules, and the two rules
	   have	different rule ranks, the alternative with the higher rule
	   rank	ranks high.

       o   The remaining cases deal with the comparison	of alternatives	which
	   have	different rules, when both rules have the same rule rank.

	   o   If the rule for one alternative is null ranked, while the rule
	       for the other is	non-null-ranked, the alternative with the non-
	       null-ranked rule	ranks high.

	   o   If both rules are non-null-ranked, the two alternatives have
	       equal rank.

	   o   If both rules are null-ranked, their ranking is arbitrary --
	       either one may rank high, or they may have equal	rank.

   A general approach to sorting parses
       The most	general	way to sort Marpa parses is for	the application	to
       take control.  The application can set up the Marpa semantic actions so
       that the	parse result of	every parse tree is a "<rank, true_value>"
       duple.  The duples can then be sorted by	"rank".	 Once the resuls are
       sorted, the "rank" element of the duple can be discarded.  (Those
       familiar	with the Schwartzian transform may note	a resemblance.	In
       Perl, duples can	be implemented as references to	arrays of 2 elements.)

       The user	needs to be careful.  In theory, ambiguity can cause an
       exponential explosion in	the number of results.	In practice, ambiguity
       tends to	get out	of hand	very easily.  Producing	and sorting all	the
       parses can take a very long time.

   The "constant" ranking method is no longer supported
       The "constant" ranking method is	no longer implemented.	An initial
       attempt to find the ideal compromise between flexibility	and
       efficiency, the "constant" ranking method proved	too ambitious, and had
       several drawbacks.  First, its overhead was high	in comparison to the
       flexibility it offered.	Second,	it was not intuitive.  Even when the
       "constant" ranking method was powerful enough to	solve a	problem, it
       was not always obvious how to actually use it.  Finally,	its
       implementation was extremely complex.

       The new "rule" ranking method is	far more efficient, vastly more
       intuitive, and far easier to implement and maintain.  But the new
       "rule" ranking method is	also very flexible -- it passes	the test suite
       which was written for the "constant" ranking method.

COPYRIGHT AND LICENSE
	 Copyright 2012	Jeffrey	Kegler
	 This file is part of Marpa::XS.  Marpa::XS is free software: you can
	 redistribute it and/or	modify it under	the terms of the GNU Lesser
	 General Public	License	as published by	the Free Software Foundation,
	 either	version	3 of the License, or (at your option) any later	version.

	 Marpa::XS is distributed in the hope that it will be useful,
	 but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even	the implied warranty of
	 MERCHANTABILITY or FITNESS FOR	A PARTICULAR PURPOSE.  See the GNU
	 Lesser	General	Public License for more	details.

	 You should have received a copy of the	GNU Lesser
	 General Public	License	along with Marpa::XS.  If not, see
	 http://www.gnu.org/licenses/.

perl v5.24.1			  2017-07-02	Marpa::XS::Semantics::Order(3)

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