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I am interested in a function which would stop Mathematica reducing fraction.

If my input is 50/100, Mathematica outputs 1/2, I want it to output 50/100. Any nice function which does this?

I need this because I want to define a recursive function with this behavior:


I want to obtain f[1]=51/101, not f[1]=2/3, which I get.

A more complicated example:


This gets really annoying if I store 50/100 as {50,100}.

share|improve this question
I need it because I am defining a recursive function, where I need the denominator and nominator of the previous element of the function. i.e. let's say my function is this: f[0]=50/100 f[n_]=Nominator[f[n-1]]+1/Denominator[f[n-1]]+1 Then this is useless if mathematica reduces the fractions... EDIT: First time here, no clue how to make enters:P – matti0006 Sep 25 '13 at 19:53
How about storing f[0]={50,100}? (and there is an "edit" button right below your question, I think it would be nice to include the example) – Pinguin Dirk Sep 25 '13 at 19:55
That's a possibility, but it is slower than just not reducing the fraction I would say. It will probably work for what I am doing, but I would still like to know if there is a generic function to achieve this. – matti0006 Sep 25 '13 at 19:57
Did that! (10 characters) – matti0006 Sep 25 '13 at 20:00
Well yeah, this is just a quick thing I typed up, the thing I really want to do is a bit more complicated. Also HoldForm just keeps "Numerator" as a string. I'll edit my orginal post with brackets. – matti0006 Sep 25 '13 at 20:02
up vote 3 down vote accepted

Try this one

f[0] = HoldForm[50]/HoldForm[100];

f[n_] := HoldForm[#] &[ReleaseHold@Numerator[f[n - 1]] + 1]/
    HoldForm[#] &[ReleaseHold@Denominator[f[n - 1]] + 1];



The second example

f2[0] = HoldForm[50]/HoldForm[100];

f2[n_] := 
 If[Mod[n, 2] == 0, 
  HoldForm[#] &[ReleaseHold@Numerator[f[n - 1]] + 1]/HoldForm[#] &[n],
   Numerator[f[n - 1]]/HoldForm[#] &[ReleaseHold@Denominator[f2[n - 1]] + 1]]



More elegant approach consists in the definition of your own irreducible Fraction

Fraction /: MakeBoxes[Fraction[n1_, n2_], StandardForm] := MakeBoxes@HoldForm[n1/n2]

f[0] = Fraction[50, 100];
f[n_] := Fraction[#1 + 1, #2 + 1] & @@ f[n - 1];


f2[0] = Fraction[50, 100];
f2[n_] := If[Mod[n, 2] == 0, Fraction[#1 + 1, n], Fraction[#1, #2 + 1]] & @@ f2[n - 1];


share|improve this answer
I think I sort of understand what this does, but I'm not entirely sure how I would apply it to the 2nd example, would it still work? – matti0006 Sep 25 '13 at 20:28
@matti0006 Yes, it is! See my update. – ybeltukov Sep 25 '13 at 20:34
Awesome, this seems to do what I want. Not sure if it's actually faster than making a list in my case, but I'd never even heard of Holdform and it seems useful in other situations! – matti0006 Sep 25 '13 at 20:35
@matti0006 See also the second update! I think it is more elegant than numerous HoldForm/ReleaseHold. – ybeltukov Sep 25 '13 at 20:56
This looks a lot more elegant, could you maybe elaborate on MakeBoxes though, mathematica's help function is not giving me enough insight to see exactly what it does. Also, what does the /: in Fraction mean? (Sorry, not been using mathematica for too long:)) – matti0006 Sep 25 '13 at 20:59

As mentionend in the comments, as a kind of "workaround", you could use:

f[0] = {50, 100}; f[x_] := f[x - 1] + 1

(using that Plus is Listable) which yields for f[1]:


or using memoization:

f[0] = {50, 100}; f[x_] := f[x] = f[x - 1] + 1

On another note (or reading the comments, thanks @Kuba), you won't even need recurisivity here:

f[x_]:= f[0] + n


For the extended example (I guess there might be a typo in your comment below), you could do:

ff[0] = {50, 100};
ff[x_] := If[EvenQ[x], {#1 + 1, x}, {#1, #2 + 1}] & @@ ff[x - 1];
ff /@ Range[10]

{{50, 101}, {51, 2}, {51, 3}, {52, 4}, {52, 5}, {53, 6}, {53, 7}, {54, 8}, {54, 9}, {55, 10}}

I leave it to you to judge what's nicer to look at (and faster...)

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I believe the real case would be interesting since here f[n_]:=(50+n)/(100+n) :) – Kuba Sep 25 '13 at 20:05
uhm... I must be tired – Pinguin Dirk Sep 25 '13 at 20:06
This works in this simple case, as I said in the comments above, but as things get more complicated, this is less and less effective, say I want instead to do this: f[0]=50/100 f[n]=If[Mod[n,2]==0,(Numerator[f[n-1]+1])/n,Numerator[f[n-1]/(Denominator[f[n-1]‌​]+1) Using suggested notation, this gets very unreadable with all the brackets, since you'll have to use f[n-1][[1]] and f[n-1][[2]] – matti0006 Sep 25 '13 at 20:06
I will add this to original question for better notation... – matti0006 Sep 25 '13 at 20:07
Edited my original post to show how problems can arise if you do something a bit more difficult, it is still possible to store it as a list (obviously), but it won't be very pretty code. – matti0006 Sep 25 '13 at 20:10

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