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ENCODE and DECODE
Encode (also called representation) and decode (also called basevalue)
are mixed functions. Their principal use is to convert numbers from one
number base to another. Mixed number bases are permitted. Note that
encode () is on the N key, while basevalue
() is on the B key.
In APL, the representation of a number in a particular number base
consists of a vector whose elements are the digit values in that base.
For example, the decimal number 31 would be expressed in binary as a
vector of five ones with any number of leading zeros: 0 0 0 1 1 1 1 1.
The same number expressed as three hexadecimal (base 16) digits would be
0 1 15, while in base 10 it would be 0 3 1. Fiftyone inches would be
expressed in yards, feet, inches as 1 1 3, an example of a mixed number
base. The scalar quantities 31 and 51 in the above example should not
be thought of as decimal numbers. Although they are represented at the
terminal as a vector of decimal characters (digits), their internal form
is not decimal, but rather depends on the characteristics of the
computer, and so should be considered abstract quantities. In this
discussion of encode and decode, Q will mean an abstract value or
quantity and R will be its representation using a radix vector or number
base B.
ENCODE  dyadic
Encode is used to represent a number or an array of numbers in one or
more number bases. The right argument is the array to be converted, the
left argument defines the base (or bases) to be used for the
representation. Consider first the representation of a scalar in a
single uniform number base:

2 2 2 2 2
0 0 1 0
2 2 2 2 5
0 1 0 1
2 2 2 2 13
1 1 0 1
16 16 16 62
0 3 14
The left argument is called the radix vector. If it is a scalar, it is
not automatically extended as for scalar functions. The length of the
radix vector determines the number of digits in the representation of
the right argument. No error occurs if the length is insufficient to
give a proper representation of the number. Exploring this situation
will suggest other uses of encode, and may clarify the use of encode
with mixed number bases.

4 4 4 4 75 © The representation of 75 in base 4
1 0 2 3
4 4 4 75 © At least four digits are needed for the full representation.
0 2 3
4 4 75 © If fewer elements are in the left argument,
© leading digits do not appear in the representation.
2 3
4 75 © If the left argument is a scalar, encode is identical to residue.
3
4 76
0
0 75 © The expression OQ always yields Q as the result.
7 5
0 4 7 5 © This usage returns quotient and remainder.
18 3
0 4 4 75 © The first quotient (18) is again divided by 4,
© yielding a second quotient and remainder.
4 2 3
0 4 4 4 7 5 © The process is repeated again. Since the last quotient
© is less than 4, the result is the same as 4 4 4 4 75.
1 0 2 3
Now consider a mixed number base: convert 175 inches into yards, feet, inches.
0 12 175 © 175 inches is 14 feet, 7 inches (quotient and remainder).
14 7
0 3 14 © 14 feet is 4 yards, 2 feet,
4 2
0 3 12 175 © so 175 inches is 4 yards, 2 feet, 7 inches.
4 2 7
The basic concept underlying the encode function involves a vector left
argument and a scalar right argument. The definition is extended to
permit arrays of any rank for either argument. In the expression BQ,
if the rank of the left argument is two or greater, then each vector
along the first axis of B is applied independently to each element of Q
in a manner directly analogous to the outer product. The resulting
representation of each element of Q lies along the first dimension of
the result. As with outer product, the shape of the result is the
catenation of the shapes of B and Q.

4 4 4 415 31 32 33 75 © The last column is 4 4 4 475
0 0 0 0 1
0 1 2 2 0
3 3 0 0 2
3 3 0 1 3
10 10 10 1015 31 32 33 75
0 0 0 0 0
0 0 0 0 0
1 3 3 3 7
5 1 2 3 5
16 16 16 1615 31 32 33 75
0 0 0 0 0
0 0 0 0 0
0 1 2 2 4
15 15 0 1 11
B 4 3½4 10 16 © B contains 3 radix vectors
4 10 16
4 10 16
4 10 16
4 10 16
B75 © The first column is 4 4 4 475
1 0 0
0 0 0
2 7 4
3 5 11
B15 31 32 33 75 © The blue items are the elements of 4 4 4 4 15
© The red items are the elements of 16 16 16 16 75
0 0 0 0 1
0 0 0 0 0
0 0 0 0 0
0 1 2 2 0
0 0 0 0 0
0 0 0 0 0
3 3 0 0 2
1 3 3 3 7
0 1 2 2 4
3 3 0 1 3
5 1 2 3 5
i5 15 0 1 11
2 1 3³B15 31 32 33 75
0 0 0 0 1 © Dyadic transpose is used to reorder the
0 1 2 2 0 © result.
3 3 0 0 2 © The first plane is
3 3 0 1 3 © 4 4 4 415 31 32 33 75
0 0 0 0 0 © This plane is
0 0 0 0 0 © 10 10 10 1015 31 32 33 75
1 3 3 3 7
5 1 2 3 5
0 0 0 0 0 © and this plane is
0 0 0 0 0 © 16 16 16 1615 31 32 33 75
0 1 2 2 4
15 15 0 1 11
Decode  dyadic
Decode (or basevalue) is used to determine the value of the
representation of a quantity in some number base. If R is a vector
representation (perhaps produced by the encode function described above)
of some quantity Q in a number base defined by the radix vector B (i.e.,
RBQ), then the expression
BR yields Q:

2 2 2 2 0 0 1 0
2
2 2 2 2 0 1 0 1
5
16 16 16 0 3 14
62
As with other APL functions, scalars or one element vectors
will be extended to match the length of the other argument;
otherwise, the lengths of vector arguments must match.

2 2 2 2 1 1 1 1
15
2 1 1 1 1
15
2 2 2 2 1
15
2 2 2 1 1 1 1
LENGTH ERROR
2 2 2 1 1 1 1
^
As with the encode function, mixed number bases can be used:
0 3 12 4 2 7 © Convert 4 yards, 2 feet, 7 inches to inches.
175
0 24 60 60 2 3 5 27 © Convert 2 days, 3 hours, 5 minutes,
© and 27 seconds to seconds
183927
0 24 60 60 2 3 5 27 χ 60 © or to minutes.
3065.45
The first element of the radix vector (left argument) is not used; it is
required only to make the lengths match and so can be any value. This
fact, and the use of encode with mixed number bases, may be clarified if
we explore the mechanism used to evaluate encode.
From B, the radix vector in the statement QBR, we compute a weighting
vector, W, as the first step of the evaluation. Using a specific
example: 0 3 12 4 2 7 (converting yards, feet and inches to inches),
compute a weighting vector from B as follows:
inches per yard: 3Χ12 or 36
inches per foot: 12
inches per inch: 1
The weighting vector is 36 12 1.
In APL, the process for evaluation of the weighting vector can be written:

N½B © Length of B
WN½0 © Give W the proper shape
W[1]Χ/1B © Product of all but the first element of B
W[2]Χ/2B © Product of all but the first 2 elements of B etc.
. © etc.
.
.
W[N1]Χ/(N1)B © Next to last element of W is last element of B
W[N]1 © Last element of W is always I
Note that the first element of B was not used. To complete the
evaluation of encode, take the sum of W times R:

Q+/WΧR
This result is BR. For our specific example:
36 12 1 Χ 4 2 7
144 24 7
144 + 24 + 7
175
0 3 12 4 2 7
175
Consider a uniform number base. If the radix vector is
2 2 2 2 2 2, then the weighting vector is 32 16 8 4 2 1, and

2 2 2 2 2 2 0 1 0 1 1 1
23
is equivalent to the usual rule for converting binary numbers:
+/32 16 8 4 2 1 Χ 0 1 0 1 1 1
23
The basic action of decode is to convert two vectors (radix vector and a
representation) into a single quantity. The definition is extended to
arrays of any rank for either argument. In the expression BR, each
vector along the last axis of B is considered a radix vector, while each
vector along the first axis of R is a representation of some quantity.
It follows that the last dimension of B must match the first dimension
of R. Each radix vector in B is applied independently to every representation in R. The
result is an array of values from all possible combinations of the radix
vectors in B with. the representations in R. The shape of the result is
(―1½B),1½R. These rules are analagous to the rules for inner product.
The following examples illustrate the use of decode with arrays; compare
them with examples of encode given earlier.

R14 4 4 4 15 31 32 33 75
R1
0 0 0 0 1
0 1 2 2 0
3 3 0 0 2
3 3 0 1 3
4 4 4 4 Rl
15 31 32 33 75
4 R1
15 31 32 33 75
B
4 4 4 4
10 10 10 10
16 16 16 16
R2(³B) 75
R2
1 0 0
0 0 0
2 7 4
3 5 11
BR2
75 33 27 © Note that 75 appears on the diagonal of the result
1023 75 51
4131 117 75
R3(³B) 15 31 32 33 75
R3
0 0 0 0 1
0 0 0 0 0
0 0 0 0 0
0 1 2 2 0
0 0 0 0 0
0 0 0 0 0
3 3 0 0 2
1 3 3 3 7
0 1 2 2 4
3 3 0 1 3
5 1 2 3 5
15 15 0 1 11
BR3
15 31 32 33 75
9 13 14 15 33
15 19 8 9 27
33 133 200 201 1023
15 31 32 33 75
15 25 20 21 51
51 307 512 513 4131
21 49 50 51 117
15 31 32 33 75
In some instances, encode and decode are inverse functions, but not always.
For example:

B10 10 10 10 © For these arguments, and are inverse of each other
B 1215
1 2 1 5
B B 1215
1215
But if B (in the expression BQ) does not have enough elements to yield
the full representation of Q:

B210 10
B2 1215
1 5
B2 B2 1215
15
The elements of a representation produced by encode are always less than the
corresponding elements (except for 0) of the radix vector (B). But this property need not
apply to the right argument of decode:

B10 10 10 10
B 1 3 17 22
1492
B B 1 3 17 22
1 4 9 2
Encode and decode are not restricted to integer arguments:

0 3.5 2.5 10.5
1 0.5 0.5
2.5 1 .5 .5
8
Examples Using Encode and Decode
APL uses a vector of digit values to represent a quantity in an arbitrary number base.
This convention is convenient and efficient for numeric manipulation of such data, but
it is cometimes desirable to use a character representation with letters
for digits greater than nine, particularly for display purposes. Suppose we
wish to convert numbers to hexadecimal (base 16) using 0 through 9 and A through F as the
digits. The following function shows how this might be done. The left argument
specifies the desired number of digits.

rn ConvertToHex arg;IO
[1] IO0
[2] r'0123456789ABCDEF'[³ (n½16) arg]
2 ConvertToHex 31
1F
4 ConvertToHex 15 31 32 33 75
000F
001F
0020
0021
004B
The next example is a function that will convert the result of
ConvertToHex back to numeric quantities.
rConvertFromHex arg;IO
[1] IO0
[2] r16 ³ '0123456789ABCDEF' Ό arg
ConvertFromHex '1F'
31
ConvertFromHex 3 3 ½ '00F01F02F'
15 31 47
ConvertFromHex 5 ConvertToHex 2 2 5 ½Ό20
1 2 3 4 5
6 7 8 9 10
11 12 13 14 15
16 17 18 19 20
Suppose we wish to create a scalar date stamp containing packed decimal digits
representing month, year and day using the system variable TS. TS is a vector
containing year, month, day, hours, minutes, seconds, milliseconds:

TS
1998 3 6 16 2 9 430
100 100 100 100  1 ² 3 TS
30698
Packing data in this way may occasionally be useful in other applications.
Here are functions for decimal packing and unpacking. The left argument specifies
the number of digits to be used for each element of the unpacked vector:

rn PACK arg
[1] r(10*n) arg
rn UNPACK arg
[1] © if n is not a scalar, assume it is a vector of the proper length
[2]
(0¬½½n)/unpack
[3]
[4] © if n is a scalar, it must be extended, use log to find number of digits
[5] r10΅arg
[6]
[7] © divide the number of digits by n to find the number of fields in arg
[8] rrχn
[9]
[10] © reshape n to match the number of fields in arg
[11] nr½n
[12]
[13] © unpack arg
[14] unpack: r(10*n) arg
3 PACK 4 7 9 12
4007009012
2 3 4 PACK 9 22 666
90220666
2 3 4 UNPACK 90220666
9 22 666
Note that a mixed number base was used in the above examples (different powers
of ten). Other uses of mixed number bases have already been suggested (hours,
minutes, seconds; yards, feet, inches, etc.). Decode, with a mixed base, can also be
used to assign or select (index) several random elements from a matrix or higher order
array at once.

IO0
M(10ΧΌ6)°.+Ό9 © define the array
0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18
20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28
30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38
40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48
50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58
Suppose we wish to add 100 to the elements of M whose coordinates are specified by
the matrix S:

S
3 7
5 2
4 8
0 3
B½M
(,M)[B³S]
37 52 48 3
M,M
M[B³S]100+M[B³S]
MB½M
M
0 1 2 103 4 5 6 7 8
10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18
20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28
30 31 32 33 34 35 36 137 38
40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 148
50 51 152 53 54 55 56 57 58
The following application is possible because noninteger arguments can be used
and because the digits of a representation in base B need not be less than B.
Consider a simple polynomial in X:
Y=X^{4}+3X^{3}12X^{2}+2
One way to evaluate this polynomial in APL is:

io1
C1 3 ―12 0 2 © vector of coefficients
X4
+/CΧX*²0,Ό4
258
Since the coefficient vector can be thought of as a representation of Y in base X,
we can use decode to evaluate the polynomial at X:

XC
258
If we wish to evaluate the polynomial for several values of X, make X a matrix
with one column:

X8 1 ½ .5 Χ Ό8
(5/X)C
―0.5625 ―6 ―9.8125 ―6 12.9375 56 133.6875 258
