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Palindrome number

December 27, 2019

Today, as I was checking my RSS feeds, I came across the latest post on Irreal blog, which pointed to a post by Joe Marshall that I read few days ago. The post in question was about implementing a palindrome checker, and I liked the way Joe Marshall exposed the algorithm as a set of three equations, including the base case that is commonly used to terminate a recursive function.

Several problems on the Euler project involve palindromes. For instance, for problem 36, I wrote the following function in Python:

def is_palindrome(n):
    n = str(n)
    if n == n[::-1]:
        return True
    return False

Note that this relies on an integer to string explicit conversion, but it allows array slicing (which is still better than reversed(), in the case of strings at least). Problem 4 also deals with palindromic number, and this time I used the folllowing Racket code, again with an integer to string conversion:1

(define (rev-string str)
  (list->string (reverse (string->list str))))

(define (palindrome? x)
    (equal? (number->string x) (rev-string (number->string x))))

It is, however, not necessary to use such string representation to work with palindromic number, much like we don’t necessarily needs to convert a number to a string in order to get a list of its digits. Here’s now some C code to detect if a given integer is a palindrome number or not:

#include <stdbool.h>

bool is_palindrome(int x) {
    if (x < 0 || (x % 10 == 0 && x != 0)) return false;

    int reverse = 0;
    while (x > reverse) {
        reverse = reverse*10 + x % 10;
        x /= 10;

    return x == reverse || x == reverse/10;

The clause x == reverse/10 in the return statement is here to ensure that edge cases like 222 are detected as well.

  1. In the meantime I learned that it is possible to use foldl pattern to reverse a list: (define (rev lst) (foldl cons '() lst)). ↩︎

clang euler

See Also

» Decimal expansion and coprimes » Insertion sort and Python FFI » Racket FFI and C » Prime permutations » Prime numbers in Scheme