Mathematica Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for users of Mathematica. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

How can I compute the following derivative,

$$ \frac{\partial}{\partial \lambda_j} \prod_{i=1}^k (1+\lambda_i)e^{\lambda_i} \quad \text{for }\; 1\le j \le k $$

for some positive integer $k$ which is not known? Note that it is simple to compute the derivative by hand, but I just wonder how such equations can be input in Mathematica.

Edit: After halirutan's answer, I decided to update the question. What I understand from his answer is that: there is no simple straight forward way to express such an example. Now, my question is that: is it possible to add some rewriting rules to Mathematica's built-in D and Simplify functions such that, running

   Simplify[D[Product[(1 + l[i]) Exp[l[i]], {i, k}], l[j]]]

Returns the desired output:

$$ \frac{2+\lambda_i}{1+\lambda_i}\prod_{i=1}^k (1+\lambda_i)e^{\lambda_i} $$

share|improve this question
A smaller example of this kind would be to calculated the part. derivative of Sum[l[i], {i, k}] wrt some l[j]. To solve this you need to imagine the sum expanded and then you see that it's always 1. The step of imagination does not work in Mma because it needs to consider all possible cases. – halirutan Oct 11 '12 at 23:57
Regarding your edit: No, this is not possible without substantially changing the system. Simplify does not Hold the expression to simplify. This means, your expression D[Product[(1 + l[i]) Exp[l[i]], {i, k}], l[j]] is first evaluated to 0 before Simplify can do anything. – halirutan Oct 13 '12 at 2:13
up vote 4 down vote accepted

As stated in my comment, the hard thing here is, that Mathematica cannot expand your Product for an unknown k. What you know is, that $1\leq j \leq k$ but I don't how I could help Mathematica, that it expands your Product with this knowledge. What we want to do is the following:

$$\prod_{i=1}^k (1+\lambda_i)e^{\lambda_i} \rightarrow \\\left(\prod_{i=1}^{j-1} (1+\lambda_i)e^{\lambda_i}\right) \cdot \left((1+\lambda_j)e^{\lambda_j}\right)\cdot \left(\prod_{i=j+1}^k (1+\lambda_i)e^{\lambda_i}\right)$$

Let's try to do this small part manually

expr = Product[(1 + l[i]) Exp[l[i]], {i, k}];
exprExpanded = expr /. Product[f_, {i_, k_}] :> 
  Product[f, {i, 1, j - 1}]*(f /. i :> j)*Product[f, {i, j + 1, k}]

$$e^{l[j]} (1+l[j]) \left(\prod _{i=1}^{-1+j} e^{l[i]} (1+l[i])\right) \prod _{i=1+j}^k e^{l[i]} (1+l[i])$$

In this form we can derive the expression with D because everything which depends on l[j] is extracted

dexpr = D[exprExpanded, l[j]]

$$e^{l[j]} \left(\prod _{i=1}^{-1+j} e^{l[i]} (1+l[i])\right) \prod _{i=1+j}^k e^{l[i]} (1+l[i])+e^{l[j]} (1+l[j]) \left(\prod _{i=1}^{-1+j} e^{l[i]} (1+l[i])\right) \prod _{i=1+j}^k e^{l[i]} (1+l[i])$$

This is the general analytic form of your derivative. Now you can check whether it is equivalent to calculated derivative when you insert special values for j and k

(dexpr /. {j :> 3, k :> 5}) == D[Product[(1 + l[i]) Exp[l[i]], {i, 5}], l[3]]
share|improve this answer
Thanks, that's a nice answer halirutan. I updated the question. Could you let me know your thoughts about it. – Helium Oct 12 '12 at 5:05
@Mohsen Have you seen the TransformationFunctions option for Simplify? – halirutan Oct 12 '12 at 16:15

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.