Ada: Conditionals

Ada: Conditionals

Learn about logic expressions and selectors.


6 min read

Logic Expressions

In Ada, logical expressions are expressions that can evaluate to one of two values:

  • True - Represented by the Ada keyword TRUE

  • False - Represented by the Ada keyword FALSE

For example:

A := True;   -- Assign TRUE
B := False;  -- Assign FALSE

if A and B then   -- Evaluates to FALSE
end if

if A or B then    -- Evaluates to TRUE 
end if

if not A then   -- Evaluates to FALSE
end if

Any non-zero numeric value will also evaluate to TRUE in a boolean context, while 0 evaluates to FALSE.

C := 1;
if C then   -- Evaluates to TRUE
end if

D := 0;
if D then   -- Evaluates to FALSE
end if

Boolean Operators

Ada supports the following Boolean operators:

  • and - Logical and. Returns true if both operands are true.

  • or - Logical or. Returns true if either operand is true.

  • not - Logical not. Reverses the logical state of its operand.


A and B   -- True if both A and B are true
A or B    -- True if either A or B is true
not A     -- True if A is false, false if A is true

Ada also has short-circuit evaluation for logical expressions, meaning that the second operand is not evaluated if the first operand determines the result.

You can use logical expressions in if statements, case statements, and loops in Ada. For example:

if A and B then
    -- Code  
end if

Order of evaluation

The order of evaluation for Boolean operators in Ada is:

  1. NOT - The NOT operator is evaluated first.

  2. AND - The AND operator is evaluated next.

  3. OR - The OR operator is evaluated last.

This is known as the NOT-AND-OR order of evaluation.

For example:

not A and B or C

Will be evaluated as:

  1. NOT A

  2. AND (result of 1 with B)

  3. OR (result of 2 with C)

This ensures that:

  • NOT operators are applied first

  • AND operators are applied next

  • OR operators are applied last

This is important because AND has higher precedence than OR, so it needs to be evaluated first.

We can also use parentheses to explicitly specify the order of evaluation:

(not A) and (B or C)

Here, B or C will be evaluated first, then ANDed with not A.

Relation Operators

Ada has four logic relation operators:

  1. "=" (Equal): Checks if two operands are equal

  2. "/=" (Not equal): Checks if two operands are not equal

  3. "<" (Less than): Checks if the left operand is strictly less than the right operand

  4. ">" (Greater than): Checks if the left operand is strictly greater than the right operand

These operators can be used to compare two expressions or variables of compatible types. For example:

A := 1;
B := 2;

if A = B then 
    ...  -- This will not execute
end if

if A /= B then  
    ... -- This will execute
end if

if A < B then
    ... -- This will execute
end if

if A > B then   
    ... -- This will not execute
end if

You can also compare values of different numeric types:

X : Integer := 1;
Y : Float := 1.0;

if X = Y then
    ... -- This will execute 
end if

Notes: Ada do not use "!=" and "==" that are normal ussages in other languages. Also operator "/=" may be interpreted by someone as a division modifier in other languages but in ada this represents "divergence" or "not equal".

Order of evaluation

Here is a table showing the order of evaluation for relation operators (<, >, =, /=) relative to logic operators (AND, OR, NOT) in Ada:

OperatorOrder of Evaluation
NOTHighest (1)
<, >, =, /=Medium (2)
ANDMedium (2)
ORLowest (3)

So the order of evaluation from highest to lowest is:

  1. NOT

  2. Relation operators and AND (have equal precedence)

  3. OR

For example, in the expression:

NOT (A = B) AND (C > D OR E /= F)

It will be evaluated as follows:

  1. A = B is evaluated

  2. NOT is applied

  3. C > D and E /= F are evaluated

  4. OR is applied

  5. AND is applied

So in summary, NOT has the highest precedence, relation operators and AND have equal medium precedence, and OR has the lowest precedence. This means expressions with NOT will be evaluated first, followed by relation comparisons, and finally OR operations.

Note: The order of evaluation can be changed in complex expressions using round parenthesis. This can also improve the readability of logic expressions.

Selection Statement

Ada has two selection statements based on logical expressions:

  1. IF statement

  2. CASE statement

The IF statement has the basic form:

if condition then
    -- Executes if condition is TRUE
    -- Optionally, executes if condition is FALSE    
end if;

The condition can be any logical expression using variables, operators, and function calls. For example:

A := 1;
B := 2;

if A < B then
    Put_Line("A is less than B");
end if;

You can also have an else if clause:

if A < B then
elsif A > B then  
end if;

The CASE statement has the form:

case expression is
    when choice1 => 
        -- Executes if expression equals choice1
    when choice2 =>
        -- Executes if expression equals choice2
    when others =>
        -- (Optional) catch-all for any other values     
end case;

For example:

case Day is
    when Mon => Put_Line("Monday");  
    when Tue => Put_Line("Tuesday");
    when others => Put_Line("Invalid day");
end case;

So in summary, Ada has two selection statements based on logical expressions:

  1. IF statement - Checks a single condition

  2. CASE statement - Checks multiple conditions against a single expression

Both statements allow you to execute different code blocks based on the evaluation of logical expressions.

Performance Tricks

There are a few shortcut and performance considerations for logic expressions in Ada:

  1. Short-circuit evaluation - Ada uses short-circuit evaluation for logical AND (and then) and logical OR (or else) expressions. This means that if the result can be determined after evaluating the first operand, the second operand is not evaluated. This can improve performance.

  2. Morgan's laws - Ada supports Morgan's laws which allow rearranging logical expressions to improve performance:

  • NOT (A AND B) <=> (NOT A) OR (NOT B)

  • NOT (A OR B) <=> (NOT A) AND (NOT B)

These equivalencies allow replacing an expression with multiple NOTs with an equivalent expression that has fewer NOTs. Since NOT is faster than AND and OR, this can improve performance.

For example:

if not (A and B) then ...

-- Can be rewritten as:

if (not A) or (not B) then ...

The second version will likely be faster since it avoids evaluating A and B, and then applying NOT.

  1. Avoid multiple evaluations - Avoid evaluating the same subexpression multiple times. For example:
if A < B and A > C then ...

Here, A is evaluated twice. Instead store the result in a temporary variable:

Temp := A;
if Temp < B and Temp > C then ...

Now Temp is evaluated only once.

In summary, you can improve the performance of logic expressions in Ada by:

  • Leveraging short-circuit evaluation

  • Applying Morgan's laws to reduce the number of NOT operations

  • Avoiding multiple evaluations by storing subexpressions in temporary variables

Disclaim: This article was created with Rix (AI). I ask the questions so you don't have to. Learn and prosper. ๐Ÿ––