Questions on assigning and unassigning definitions to names that represent them, including issues raised by context and localization. Use tag [assignment] for issues relating to Set versus SetDelayed.

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152
votes
7answers
7k views

What are the use cases for different scoping constructs?

Mathematica includes three functions that I know of which can be used to effectively (if not actually) define a variable and give it a value within a local scope: ...
17
votes
4answers
2k views

Elegant manipulation of the variables list

I have a list of global variables (some of them are indexed variables), for example: varsH = Hold[U0[1], U0[2], B0, V0[1], V0[2]] Or (if it is easier to handle) ...
43
votes
5answers
22k views

How do I clear all user defined symbols?

Is there some way to do this other than going to Evaluation -> Quit kernel and firing a new one up?
9
votes
3answers
4k views

Assigning values to a list of variable names

As part of a calculation I need to do something like this Evaluate[{aaa, bbb, ccc}[[ index]]] = {1, 2, 3, 4, 5} so if index is ...
27
votes
5answers
3k views

how to differentiate formally?

I have been wrapping my head around this for a while now and I have not found a solution so far. I want to work with an arbitrary number of variables in mathematica and use some built in functions. ...
28
votes
5answers
4k views

Clear complains that a subscripted variable is not a symbol or a string?

Here's a small listing where I've used EscqEsc to typeset θ in the notebook: ...
17
votes
4answers
755 views

Making a symbol's new definitions be tried before all previously defined ones

Is there any way to "close" a package (or a symbol, or a context) in that if a user of the package adds definitions to the symbol they will be tried before the package defined ones, just like what ...
22
votes
3answers
1k views

Create an adaptive amount of local variables for error propagation

I intend to write a function which calculates the result and the error for any formula with any amount of variables using the Gauß Error Propagation. The error $\mathrm{d}R$ for a function $R(a,b,c)$ ...
14
votes
7answers
1k views

How to Set parts of indexed lists?

I would like to assign a list to an indexed variable and then change it using Part and Set like this: ...
30
votes
2answers
2k views

Best practice of passing a large number of parameters to functions

I have a number of functions that all take a large number of parameters. I am wondering what is the best practice of passing these parameters to those functions. I could, of course, simply specify ...
39
votes
3answers
2k views

Why modules with no variables?

I was reading some code, in particular, recipe 4.13 on unification pattern-matching in Sal Mangano's Mathematica Cookbook, and there were many instances of Modules with no variables in them, such as ...
11
votes
4answers
922 views

Subscripts - Why do I see the error “only assignments to symbols are allowed” when using a Module and not otherwise?

When I type Remove["Global`*"] foo[] := Module[{Subscript[a, 1] = "x"}, 0]; foo[] I get the expected error "only assignments to symbols are allowed". I ...
11
votes
4answers
1k views

Preventing Superscript from being interpreted as Power when using Ctrl+^ shortcut?

I have very strong desire to use superscript as the index of the variable. However, it looks like that the Mathematica automatically recognize the superscript as the power and I got message that my ...
5
votes
3answers
1k views

How to Clear variables with apostrophe?

An apostrophe ' is often used when we want to distinguish two variables. For example, if we already have a variable t and we may ...
2
votes
1answer
2k views

Constructing variable names from a string

I have groups of descriptive variable names and dont want to write explicit code for each group, e.g. (and this is a contrived simplification) ...
39
votes
3answers
2k views

Is there an equivalent of MATLAB's Workspace window in Mathematica?

For example, in MATLAB, a panel is available where one can see straightaway which variables are used and their dimension sizes. Is such a feature available in Mathematica? I really find it hard to ...
18
votes
4answers
2k views

How to implement the Observer design pattern?

As a programmer with a history with procedural languages, the Observer design pattern inmediately springs to my mind when attacking certain class of problems, mostly UI/notifications related. A two-...
15
votes
3answers
619 views

Variable scope similar to other languages

Mathematica, unlike many other languages, defines the variables in the global scope unless it is explicitly asked to define a variable in a local scope, e.g., using ...
12
votes
1answer
321 views

Context of localised (dynamic) symbols

When you localise a symbol with Module, the created unique symbol is usually in the current context. There seems to be an exception to this which has further ...
13
votes
1answer
327 views

Is garbage collection broken in version 10.0.0?

Bug introduced in 10.0.0 and fixed in 10.0.1 In version 10.0.0 under Windows I am observing the following behavior: ...
7
votes
2answers
1k views

Table of Variables

I use a list of variables {x1, x2, x3} to Solve a particular set of equations. I am now trying to generalise this depending on ...
1
vote
3answers
2k views

How to create functions of arbitrary number of variables? [duplicate]

In the following code what would be the simplest way to generalize it to say some $N_f$ number of $z$ instead of just $z_1$ and $z_2$? ...
15
votes
5answers
3k views

Define a mathematical set

I have a terribly short question: Is there a way to define a pure mathematical set? I tried a bit of googling, but the word "set" has two meanings and the other one (as in setting) as by far more ...
20
votes
2answers
477 views

The dangers of SaveDefinitions — should this really happen?

I have been bitten hard by SaveDefinitions -> True. I'll describe in detail what happened below. My questions are: Is this a bug? What is the most convenient ...
12
votes
1answer
311 views

Orderless pattern matching

The MMA docs state that "In matching patterns with Orderless functions, all possible orders of arguments are tried". Why then does the following not work? ...
11
votes
3answers
423 views

How can I hold UpValues but evaluate other expressions?

Consider these definitions: own = "OwnValue"; down[_] = "DownValue"; sub[_][_] = "SubValue"; N[n] = 3.14; _[___, up, ___] ^= "UpValue"; The attribute ...
21
votes
3answers
449 views

Why x = x doesn't cause an infinite loop, but f[x_] := f[x] does?

If I execute: In[1] := x = x Out[1] = x and then I evaluate the symbol x: ...
10
votes
2answers
319 views

Another difference between Set and Setdelayed. Evaluation shortcut?

A little while ago I wondered why f[x_] = f[x] gives an infinite iteration. I ended up discovering the following difference in evaluation between ...
8
votes
1answer
173 views

Different behaviours of Default Argument

I don't really understand the behaviour of Default Argument. If I execute this command in Mathematica: In: {f[a], f[a + b]} /. f[x_ + y_.] -> p[x, y] <...
7
votes
3answers
2k views

Assign output of solve to variables [duplicate]

I have this input: Solve[x^2 + 3 x + 2 == 0, x] which gives this output: {{x -> -2}, {x -> -1}} I want the first x ...
3
votes
2answers
2k views

Global variable initialization in packages

Is it a good idea to Initialize variables globally inside a package ? will they be local by default to that package ?
8
votes
2answers
195 views

How to name a variable with the value of another variable?

A simple but very important (at least for me) question. In some languages for defining a variable, for example, we can do: i=10 "d"&i=30 So I have defined the variable d10, and... d10=30 ...
9
votes
2answers
353 views

Using up-values and down-values

I have a problem I'm trying hard to find a solution for, although I don't know if a solution exists. The following rules produce the result e[2].f[] ...
2
votes
1answer
108 views

Table of references [duplicate]

I have a list of variables (say a, b, c, d, e) that I want to assign in a single command. {a,b,c,d,e} = {1,2,3,4,5} would ...
15
votes
6answers
3k views

Why can't I define vector v as having subscripted elements v_1, v_2, v_3…?

I'm a very beginner in Mathematica 8 programming. While trying to play a little with tensor analysis I encountered a problem. How to define for example vector in such manner: v={$v_1,v_2,v_3$} For ...
10
votes
2answers
564 views

How to take derivative of parameterized coordinate?

Suppose I have a vector in $\mathbb{R}^n$ but $n$ is not known in advance. I want to be able to write functions which operate on the components of that vector, and then I'd like to be able to take ...
5
votes
2answers
9k views

How to tell Mathematica that certain variables are real/imaginary, integer-valued, etc

I'm trying to expedite some quantum mechanical calculations by running them through Mathematica. Expectation values and stuff like that. When I say, for example, ...
2
votes
2answers
606 views

How to define a vector with automatically added symbolic elements with subscripts

I want to define a vector lets say k containing elements Symbolize[Subscript[k, 1]], k2, k3 ... etc. When I define lets say k4 . I want the symbol automatically added to vector k. Something like ...
10
votes
1answer
145 views

Is it possible to use the global definition of a symbol as part of its new local definition set in a Block?

Consider the following expression: Block[{Print = CopyToClipboard}, doSomething[]] Now all calls to Print from ...
5
votes
1answer
104 views

Naming conflicts with Dummy variables in several packages conflicts

I'm using several packages in a notebook. In each packages there is functions defined with dummy variables. When I load the several packages in my session, i've got a warning message: ...
4
votes
1answer
128 views

Defining a function that prints both the name and value of a variable defined locally within the calling function

To save time when debugging with Print statements, I'd like to define a function -- call it PrintVal -- that prints both the name and value of a variable defined locally within the calling function. ...
4
votes
1answer
228 views

How can I overload a function with multiple bracket-slots so f[a][b] and f[a] can coexist?

Maybe this is not even possible: I want to create a function f that can have two input brackets like: f[a_][b_:1]:= a*b and ...
4
votes
3answers
242 views

Using Block with a list of variables

I have a list of variables var={v1,v2}; which I want to protect/localize during a particular operation. I have decided that I want to use ...
5
votes
1answer
203 views

When to use indexed variables

Still learning the fundamentals of the language I would like to ask you what advantages there might be in writing something like: a[1] = 2; a[2] = 4; a[3] = "x"; ...
1
vote
1answer
373 views

Print indexed (by subscript) variable name systematically

I have some variables : Subscript[S, 1], Subscript[S, 2]...etc. But they are defined in a for loop like For[g = 1, g < 4, g++, Subscript[S, g] = g]; Later, I ...
8
votes
2answers
283 views

Distribute and analyze large datasets

I need to analyze very large datasets, and they obviously don't fit in a computer memory. I need to produce some statistics on these datasets, and this brings me here: How can I make some statistical ...
3
votes
1answer
354 views

Can I create a dynamic number of rows in TabView through an iteration?

I have written code, with the help of stackoverflow of course, and I want to make it user friendly so that other people in my lab can use it. I'm playing with DialogCreate and similar functions. I ...
16
votes
6answers
2k views

How to clear all variables except one?

I have a lot of variables: $a,b,c,d, \ldots $ I want to clear the values of all of them except $b$. It's really lengthy to write Clear[a]; Clear[c]; ... Is ...
12
votes
3answers
263 views

Find all heads a function is defined on

So say I've got a function g defined as follows: g[x_Integer] := x + 1 g[s_String] := s <> "!!!" How would I write a ...