Christian Stade-Schuldt Christian Stade-Schuldt - 4 months ago 11
Ruby Question

Passing a method as a parameter in Ruby

I am trying to mess around a little bit with Ruby. Therefor I try to implement the algorithms (given in Python) from the book "Programming Collective Intelligence" Ruby.

In chapter 8 the author passes a method a as parameter. This seems to work in Python but not in Ruby.

I have here the method

def gaussian(dist, sigma=10.0)
foo
end


and want to call this with another method

def weightedknn(data, vec1, k = 5, weightf = gaussian)
foo
weight = weightf(dist)
foo
end


All I got is an error

ArgumentError: wrong number of arguments (0 for 1)

Answer

You want a proc object:

gaussian = Proc.new do |dist, *args|
  sigma = args.first || 10.0
  ...
end

def weightedknn(data, vec1, k = 5, weightf = gaussian)
  ...
  weight = weightf.call(dist)
  ...
end

Just note that you can't set a default argument in a block declaration like that. So you need to use a splat and setup the default in the proc code itself.


Or, depending on your scope of all this, it may be easier to pass in a method name instead.

def weightedknn(data, vec1, k = 5, weightf = :gaussian)
  ...
  weight = self.send(weightf)
  ...
end

In this case you are just calling a method that is defined on an object rather than passing in a complete chunk of code. Depending on how you structure this you may need replace self.send with object_that_has_the_these_math_methods.send


Last but not least, you can hang a block off the method.

def weightedknn(data, vec1, k = 5)
  ...
  weight = 
    if block_given?
      yield(dist)
    else
      gaussian.call(dist)
    end
  end
  ...
end

wegihtedknn(foo, bar) do |dist|
  # square the dist
  dist * dist
end

But it sounds like you would like more reusable chunks of code here.