(I eventually found the answer to this question after writing it. But just in case anyone finds this useful, or has an alternative or better answer, I'll ask and answer my own question.)

After seeing slick Mathematica code for the question Probability of random integer's digits summing to 12, I found myself stumped as to how to sum the digits of a positive integer in GAP.

Question: How can I find the sum of the digits of a positive integer in GAP?

Thus far, I've used my own code when required:

  if(n=0) then
    return [];
    return Concatenation(DecimalDigits(Int(n/10)),[n mod 10]);

In this format, e.g. DecimalDigits(1234) returns the array [ 1, 2, 3, 4 ] which can be summed by Sum(DecimalDigits(1234)). But, I'm hoping there is a better way to do this (particularly in the newer versions of GAP).

The DigitsNumber function returns a string, on which Sum doesn't work.


Thank you, Douglas. I would like to add some remarks, but it seems like I can't include GAP code conveniently in comments, and can't fit them in the length limit. Thus, let me post them as an answer :)

1) I think that ListOfDigits is meant to be a utility function for small inputs. If one really wants to compute sums of digits more efficiently, one could start with looking what ListOfDigits is doing and then write an own SumOfDigits function.

In the following GAP session we compare the performance of SumOfDigits vs.Sum(ListOfDigits(...)) approach:

gap> SumOfDigits:=function(a)
> local s, b;
> if not a in NonnegativeIntegers then 
>   Error("a must be a non-negative integer");
> fi;
> s:=0;
> while a<>0 do
>   b:=a mod 10;
>   s:=s+b;
>   a:=(a-b)/10;
> od;
> return s;
> end;
function( a ) ... end
gap> ForAll([1..10000],i->SumOfDigits(i)=Sum(ListOfDigits(i)));
gap> for i in [1..1000000] do x:=SumOfDigits(i); od; time;
gap> for i in [1..1000000] do x:=Sum(ListOfDigits(i)); od; time;
gap> for i in [1..10000000] do x:=SumOfDigits(i); od; time;
gap> for i in [1..10000000] do x:=Sum(ListOfDigits(i)); od; time;

Clearly, SumOfDigits doesn't have to store an intermediate list of digits, handling which becomes more and more expensive with larger inputs.

2) The new version of GAP indeed may show better performance in this example if compared with GAP 4.4.12, since starting from GAP 4.5 by default the GAP kernel uses the GMP library for faster integer arithmetic.

3) I haven't compared the performance of the DecimalDigits function given above, but I have observed that it will not work for large inputs:

gap> Length(DecimalDigits(10^4997));
gap> DecimalDigits(10^4998);;
Error, recursion depth trap (5000)
  return Concatenation( DecimalDigits( Int( n / 10 ) ), [ n mod 10 ] ); called from 
DecimalDigits( Int( n / 10 ) ) called from
DecimalDigits( Int( n / 10 ) ) called from
DecimalDigits( Int( n / 10 ) ) called from
DecimalDigits( Int( n / 10 ) ) called from
DecimalDigits( Int( n / 10 ) ) called from
...  at line 57 of *stdin*
you may 'return;'

where SumOfDigits will work. (The recursion depth trap error is a special error in GAP preventing it from running into an infinite recursion). Also please note that the GAP Tutorial chapter on Functions says: "Regardless of the recursive structure of an algorithm it is often cheaper (in terms of computing time) to avoid a recursive implementation if possible (and it is possible in this case), because a function call is not very cheap."

4) Of course, in the last example with 10^n one does not need to ask any system what the sum of digits is :)

  • $\begingroup$ OMG!. I am surrounded by these beautiful great well defined approach. $\endgroup$ – mrs Apr 26 '13 at 8:18
  • $\begingroup$ Great! That's even better. It seems there's no in-built SumOfDigits(...) function, though. $\endgroup$ – Douglas S. Stones Apr 26 '13 at 13:08
  • $\begingroup$ Note: the <pre> environment is incompatible with GAP's <> (which I think is interpreted as HTML code). Consequently, in the previous version a<>0 appears as a0. $\endgroup$ – Douglas S. Stones Apr 26 '13 at 13:15
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks - yes, I've discovered that GAP's <> disappeared in my first submission and then replaced "less than" by HTML entity to fix this. I've seen your edit - is there any other alternative to publish code except indenting it with four spaces? $\endgroup$ – Alexander Konovalov Apr 26 '13 at 13:31
  • $\begingroup$ Surely there is no SumOfDigits in GAP, it was written especially for this answer. The reader interested in using it should copy the code from above and paste it into his/her GAP session or a file to be read in GAP. $\endgroup$ – Alexander Konovalov Apr 26 '13 at 13:34

The ListOfDigits function in GAP converts a positive integer into the corresponding list of decimal digits.

For example ListOfDigits(1234); returns [ 1, 2, 3, 4 ]. After which the sum of the digits can be found as usual: Sum(ListOfDigits(1234));.

Here's the result of ?ListOfDigits (ref.; 14.2-11):

  14.2-11 ListOfDigits

  ‣ ListOfDigits( n ) ────────────────────────────── function

  For  a  positive  integer n this function returns a list l,
  consisting of the digits of n in decimal representation.

  ────────────────────────  Example  ────────────────────────
    gap> ListOfDigits(3142);   
    [ 3, 1, 4, 2 ]

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