Maple, Assignment, Partial Evaluation, Lazy Evaluation Anonymous Functions

Discussion in 'Maple' started by John Creighton, Apr 2, 2005.

  1. I've been told Maples rules of assignment are intuitive and not much
    different then one would expect coming from a language like c. I would
    like to explore this further. I can type


    and I get:


    But if I tytpe:


    It behaves like the c language if x is defined and if x is not defined
    I get:

    ??? Error using ==> maple
    Error, too many levels of recursion

    If I try blocking the evaluation by typing


    I get error

    ??? Error using ==> maple
    Error, recursive assignment

    I don't see why x can't be assigned the expression, so the expression
    can be later extracted using eval(x,1). Anyway, maple doesn't allow
    this but it does allow:

    Or equivalently
    and returns:
    x := ('x')+1

    This is interesting because it gives a convent way to represent
    iteration of the same expression. For instance if one typed
    They would get:
    To me it is not at all obvious why if you use a variable that is on
    the left of assignment you need two quotes but if you use a different
    variable you need one quote.

    Furthing thinking of how this might be useful one could evaluate a
    factorial like :

    One can use this to generate weird sequences. Consider:


    Clearly maples rules of assignment provide a handy way of doing
    substitution but the delayed evaluation is not as powerful as lazy
    evaluation. For instance I can't recursively define an infite list (in
    the lazy evaluation sense) by typing
    it is not obvious how to do this without anonymous functions but you
    cannot easily right an anonyms function that you can partial evaluate.
    For instance the expression if x is set to
    then x cannot be partially evaluated
    ans =
    eval(x(2),n) give
    x(2) for any n
    and eval(x(2)) gives
    One could try to delay the evaluation with a complicated expression
    x:=z->((y->`if`(y<=1,1,y* ''x('' y-1 '')''))(eval(z)))
    but then maple will only perform partial evaluation. To fully evaluate
    the expression for x(4) you must type
    (note that this is an example of continuation)
    The lack of consistency really has me baffled as to the motivation
    behind maples design. I see can see how you can use the rules of
    assignment to get maple to do what you want but I don't understand the
    motivation behind there choices and consequently I don't have a good
    grasp about the most basic principles of how maple works.
    John Creighton, Apr 2, 2005
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  2. It has to be rather different, because c doesn't have symbolic values.
    The point is that if you did assign the value x+1 to x, this could
    never be fully evaluated, because in order to evaluate x you would have
    to first evaluate x.
    No, it would just be x+3. Evaluation to one level gives 'x'+1, two
    levels gives x+1, three levels 'x'+2, etc.
    It's not particularly interesting: just a question of how deeply you
    have to hide the x to fool Maple's mechanism for detecting recursive
    I have no idea what you're trying to do here. It's easy enough to
    define legitimate recursive functions without resorting to subterfuge.
    You're just confusing yourself by using the same letter for
    the name of the procedure and the formal parameter. This is the
    same as

    x:= t -> `if`(t<1, 1, t*(t-1));

    Robert Israel
    Department of Mathematics
    University of British Columbia Vancouver, BC, Canada
    Robert Israel, Apr 4, 2005
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  3. opps, I ment
    JohnCreighton_, Apr 4, 2005
  4. John Creighton

    devore Guest

    Note that each assignment performs one level of evaluation (i.e.,
    removes one level of quotes).
    I made the correction to your original so that I can address what you
    intended to write. Anyway, the problem with using this for iteration
    or recursion is that the expressions are unstable. Every time you use
    them, they change. For example:

    x:= ''x''^2+1;
    x := 'x'^2+1

    What you are trying to achieve can be done better as

    x:= x-> x^2+1:
    ([email protected]@3)(x);

    I did not need to use x on both sides of the := to do that; I was
    following your style; any symbol would work.
    If you evaluate this further (to more than 3 levels), you do get a
    recursive function, but it is not factorial. One again, it is very
    easy write a one-line factorial using legitimate Maple syntax.

    F:= x-> x*F(x-1): F(0):= 1:
    What is the 'maple' command? There is no command by that name in my

    How about this?
    x:= x-> [op(x), nops(x)+1]:
    ([email protected]@4)([]);
    [1, 2, 3, 4]
    My guess is that it was not at all designed to do these things. The
    fact that it works sometimes is just a coincidence. Maple usually does
    not waste a lot of time checking user input. If they cared to take the
    time, I believe the designers would have disallowed recursive
    assignments entirely.
    Most things can be figured out by using the commands addressof,
    disassemble, pointto, assemble, ToInert, and FromInert and by reading
    the appendices of the Advanced Programming Guide.
    devore, Apr 5, 2005
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