exercism fetch erlang circular-buffer

Circular Buffer

A circular buffer, cyclic buffer or ring buffer is a data structure that uses a single, fixed-size buffer as if it were connected end-to-end.

A circular buffer first starts empty and of some predefined length. For example, this is a 7-element buffer:

[ ][ ][ ][ ][ ][ ][ ]

Assume that a 1 is written into the middle of the buffer (exact starting location does not matter in a circular buffer):

[ ][ ][ ][1][ ][ ][ ]

Then assume that two more elements are added — 2 & 3 — which get appended after the 1:

[ ][ ][ ][1][2][3][ ]

If two elements are then removed from the buffer, the oldest values inside the buffer are removed. The two elements removed, in this case, are 1 & 2, leaving the buffer with just a 3:

[ ][ ][ ][ ][ ][3][ ]

If the buffer has 7 elements then it is completely full:


When the buffer is full an error will be raised, alerting the client that further writes are blocked until a slot becomes free.

When the buffer is full, the client can opt to overwrite the oldest data with a forced write. In this case, two more elements — A & B — are added and they overwrite the 3 & 4:


3 & 4 have been replaced by A & B making 5 now the oldest data in the buffer. Finally, if two elements are removed then what would be returned is 5 & 6 yielding the buffer:

[ ][7][8][9][A][B][ ]

Because there is space available, if the client again uses overwrite to store C & D then the space where 5 & 6 were stored previously will be used not the location of 7 & 8. 7 is still the oldest element and the buffer is once again full.


Running tests

In order to run the tests, issue the following command from the exercise directory:

For running the tests provided, rebar3 is used as it is the official build and dependency management tool for erlang now. Please refer to the tracks installation instructions on how to do that.

In order to run the tests, you can issue the following command from the exercise directory.

$ rebar3 eunit

Test versioning

Each problem defines a macro TEST_VERSION in the test file and verifies that the solution defines and exports a function test_version returning that same value.

To make tests pass, add the following to your solution:


test_version() ->

The benefit of this is that reviewers can see against which test version an iteration was written if, for example, a previously posted solution does not solve the current problem or passes current tests.


For detailed information about the Erlang track, please refer to the help page on the Exercism site. This covers the basic information on setting up the development environment expected by the exercises.


Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Circular_buffer

Submitting Incomplete Solutions

It's possible to submit an incomplete solution so you can see how others have completed the exercise.