# Journey into Haskell, part 6

Another thing to be learned down the Haskell rabbit-hole: Thinking in infinites. Today someone posed a puzzle which I tried to solve in a straight-forward, recursive manner: Building a list of primes. The requested algorithm was plain enough:

Create a list of primes “as you go”, considering a number prime if it can’t be divided by any number already considered prime.

However, although my straightforward solution worked on discrete ranges, it couldn’t yield a single prime when called on an infinite range – something I’m completely unused to from other languages, except for some experience with the SERIES library in Common Lisp.

## An incomplete solution

Looking similar to something I might have written in Lisp, I came up with this answer:

``````primes = reverse . foldl fn []
where fn acc n
| n `dividesBy` acc = acc
| otherwise         = (n:acc)
dividesBy x (y:ys)
| y == 1         = False
| x `mod` y == 0 = True
| otherwise      = dividesBy x ys
dividesBy x [] = False``````

But when I suggested this on #haskell, someone pointed out that you can’t reverse an infinite list. That’s when a light-bulb turned on: I hadn’t learned to think in infinites yet. Although my function worked fine for discrete ranges, like `[1..100]`, it crashed on `[1..]`.

So back to the drawing board, later to come up with this infinite-friendly version:

``````primes :: [Int] -> [Int]
primes = fn []
where fn _ [] = []
fn acc (y:ys)
| y `dividesBy` acc = fn acc ys
| otherwise         = y : fn (y:acc) ys

dividesBy _ [] = False
dividesBy x (y:ys)
| y == 1         = False
| x `mod` y == 0 = True
| otherwise      = dividesBy x ys``````

Here the accumulator grows for each prime found, but returns results in order whose value can be calculated as needed. This time when I put `primes [1..]` into GHCi it printed out prime numbers immediately, but visibly slowed as the accumulator grew larger.