Re: iterators

Daniel Pitts <>
Thu, 06 Aug 2009 12:06:16 -0700
Tom Anderson wrote:

On Wed, 5 Aug 2009, Daniel Pitts wrote:

Eric Sosman wrote:

Daniel Pitts wrote:

What I would *love* is an iterator that can be made smart enough to
not throw ConcurrentModificationException if the modification can be
proven to be non-conflicting (such as appending to a list, or
removing a node from a linked-list, which is not any node being
pointed to by the iterator.)

    Can you give some examples of situations where you've wished you
had such a thing?

I have a simulation involving robots which can shoot at each other.
Once a robot is destroyed, it is removed from the list. At the time
that damage is dealt, I am already iterating through that list.

This means that I must go through the list afterward and remove the
dead robots, instead of removing them as they die.

This is a simplified example. The list itself may contain other
objects (such as missiles, mines, etc...) each of which may cease to
exist and/or inflict damage at any time.

I had exactly that problem many years ago, only it was spaceships
instead of robots.

How about something like:

Collection<Thing> things; // robots, missiles, mines, etc

void carryOutATurn() {
    List thingsToDo = new LinkedList(things);
    while (!thingsToDo.isEmpty()) {
        Thing next = thingsToDo.remove(0);
        Collection<Thing> casualties = next.takeTurn();
        if (!casualties.isEmpty()) {

This does involve creating and throwing away a linked list of everything
in the universe on every turn, and potentially a lot of little casualty
lists too - although these can be emptySet or singleton sets from
Collections, which are very cheap.

It would be straightforward to extend this to handle new things (a
newly-fired missile, etc) as well.

This is similar to what I did, but instead of copying things, used this

public void doTurn() {
    Collection<Thing> current = allThings;
    do {
       // clean up


       // things not yet processed
       current = thingsToAdd;

       // reset
       thingsToAdd = new ArrayList<Thing>();
    } while (!current.isEmpty())

public void handleTurns(Collection<Thing> toHandle) {
   for (Thing thing: toHandle) {
      if (!thingsToRemove.contains(thing)) {

This is still somewhat annoying to deal with, however.

An alternative to the casualty list would be to create and pass in a
little callback object for deleting things:

class Undertaker {
    public void kill(Thing t) {


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