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Documentation on the algorithm used in lonnavmaps.

%% LyX 1.2 created this file.  For more info, see http://www.lyx.org/.
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\documentclass[english]{article}
\usepackage[T1]{fontenc}
\usepackage[latin1]{inputenc}
\usepackage{graphicx}

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\providecommand{\LyX}{L\kern-.1667em\lower.25em\hbox{Y}\kern-.125emX\@}

\usepackage{babel}
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\begin{document}

\title{Navigation Maps Iterator Algorithm}


\title{Jeremy Bowers}

\maketitle
As part of re-doing the Navigation Maps screen for LON-CAPA, I created an
iterator for traversing the maps. Since I'm not going to be around forever,
I wanted to document the most subtle part of the the algorithm I developed,
so later people don't need to read my mind. Since I wanted to use pictures,
that rules out trying to do it all in comments.

%
\begin{figure}
\begin{center}\includegraphics[  height=2in,
  keepaspectratio]{simple.branch.eps}\end{center}


\caption{\label{simple branches}Simple Branching Nav Map}
\end{figure}
In particular, the handling of branches is a challenge. So, suppose we have
the simple navigation map shown in figure \ref{simple branches}. As human
beings, we can look at that resource map and mentally represent that as the
following: \emph{Everybody sees resource A, then you have a choice of resources
B and C, or resources E and F, and everybody will do resource D}. We want
to represent that like this:

\begin{itemize}
\item A

\begin{itemize}
\item B or C
\item E or F
\end{itemize}
\item D
\end{itemize}
Or something like that. Actually, \LaTeX{} fails me here. At the very least,
I don't want a bullet in front of D, since that follows A, and in the real
nav maps, {}``B or C'' is represented in two rows, but you get the idea.

The problem is that the computer doesn't have the global, overall view we
get, and getting the computer to match our intuition is surprisingly difficult. 

If we consider the \emph{desired indentation depth} (or just \emph{depth}
for short) as what we are looking for, so we can display the navmaps correctly,
then we are looking for two things:

\begin{enumerate}
\item A mapping of the nodes to some depth.
\item A way of traversing the graph once the depth has been assigned.
\end{enumerate}

\section{Mapping The Nodes to Some Depth}

As I talk about the algorithm, markers like \textbf{{*}{*}1{*}{*}} will be
used to track the places in the source code that are being discussed.

Mapping the nodes to a depth is done via a two-pass algorithm (\textbf{{*}{*}1{*}{*}}).
The passes are virtually identical, but one starts from the top and one starts
from the bottom. 

The order the nodes are traversed in is not terribly importent, as long as
no node is encountered before one of its parent nodes have been encountered,
which is known to be true with this traversal (and most others, as well). 

For the top-down pass, we start with the first resource, and give it a {}``top-down-value''
(TDV for short) value of 0 (\textbf{{*}{*}2{*}{*}}). We then progress along
the links in some order, visiting resources and assigning them a value as
follows:

\begin{enumerate}
\item If the node we came from has only one link leaving it (i.e., this is the
only next node for that node), then this node is given the same TDV value
as the parent. (\textbf{{*}{*}3{*}{*}})
\item If the node we came from has more then one link leaving it, this node is
given the TDV value of the parent, plus one. (\textbf{{*}{*}4{*}{*}})
\item If we get to any given node through multiple paths, the minimal value is
taken. (See all uses of the {}``min'' function.)
\end{enumerate}
%
\begin{figure}
\begin{center}\includegraphics[  height=2in,
  keepaspectratio]{tdv.vals.eps}\end{center}


\caption{\label{TDV values figure}TDV Values}
\end{figure}
Using that algorithm on the given example navmap, we get the result shown
in figure \ref{TDV values figure}. \textbf{A} was given the value 0 to start
with. Each of \textbf{B} and \textbf{E} was given 1, because there are two
ways out of \textbf{A}. The rest of the resources were given the value 1
as well, because there is only one way out of the resources from that point
on.

%
\begin{figure}
\begin{center}\includegraphics[  height=2in,
  keepaspectratio]{depth.eps}\end{center}


\caption{\label{cap:Final-Depth-labels}Final Depth labels}
\end{figure}
Using the same algorithm on the link-reversed graph, starting at the finish
resource, we can do the same thing to get the {}``Bottom-Up-Values'' (BUV).
We can then take each node, and take the minimum of each value to get the
final Depth (D) value.. This is shown in figure \ref{cap:Final-Depth-labels}. 


\section{Traversing the graph}

Now that we've assigned desired depths, we need to figure out an order for
traversing the graph. I create a list of arrays, of the size of the maximum
depth, which I use to keep track of the links we need to keep track of. This
is stored in the variable \{STACK\}, which holds an array reference of array
references of that size. 

In the shown example, the maximum depth is two, so \$self->\{STACK\} will
be {[}{[}{]}, {[}{]}{]}. \textbf{A} and \textbf{D} will eventually end up
in the first array, \textbf{B}, \textbf{C}, \textbf{E}, and \textbf{F} will
be in the second. 

Basically, the procedure is this:

\begin{itemize}
\item Select the next resource to display.
\item Explore where that resource can get us, and store it in the stack.
\item Repeat until there are no more resources.
\end{itemize}
We start by priming the stack with the first resource to be examined, the
firstResource (\textbf{{*}{*}5{*}{*}}).

In order to select the next resource to display, we walk backwards along
the stack until we find the first non-empty list (\textbf{{*}{*}6{*}{*}}).
We pop the resource off that list, and that is the next resource (\textbf{{*}{*}7{*}{*}}).
This has the effect of following branches as quickly as possible, so that
we can guarentee that \textbf{B}, \textbf{C}, and \textbf{E}, \textbf{F}
will both be explored before \textbf{D}. \textbf{D} will not be selected
until the higher levels have been exhausted. 

Of course this works recursively, so it will work no matter how high the
level goes.

The only thing that needs a special case is when there are two branches,
as in the sample figure, and we get to the end of the first branch (\textbf{{*}{*}8{*}{*}}).
We can't detect the fact that the branch has ended just by looking at the
stack afterwards. So to remember that a branch has ended, detected when all
the potential next resources are of a lower level then the current resource,
even if there are no possible next resources, we push a marker onto the corresponding
stack that the branch has ended (\textbf{{*}{*}9{*}{*}}). We have to push
a marker onto the stack, because we may still need to recursively explore
the last resource if it's a map.

And that's pretty much it; there's a lot of bookkeeping and stuff, but that's
the core.
\end{document}

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