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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95
votes
7answers
4k 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: ...
21
votes
5answers
2k 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: ...
23
votes
5answers
10k 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?
11
votes
3answers
960 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) ...
6
votes
3answers
2k 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 ...
14
votes
4answers
1k 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. ...
16
votes
3answers
659 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 $R(a,b,c)$ ...
15
votes
4answers
623 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 ...
12
votes
7answers
914 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: ...
2
votes
2answers
697 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 ?
1
vote
3answers
1k 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 $z_2$? ...
34
votes
3answers
1k 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 ...
12
votes
3answers
320 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 ...
6
votes
4answers
486 views

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 ...
25
votes
2answers
1k 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 ...
13
votes
1answer
254 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: ...
28
votes
3answers
1k 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 ...
19
votes
3answers
373 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: ...
14
votes
4answers
1k 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 ...
18
votes
2answers
324 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 ...
10
votes
2answers
262 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 ...
8
votes
1answer
151 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] ...
4
votes
4answers
400 views

How can I prevent Superscript from being interpreted as Power?

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
113 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
128 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"; ...
4
votes
3answers
723 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 ...
3
votes
2answers
464 views

Save variables values and definition

I used to do a lot of programming in R and recently switched to Mathematica. One thing that bothers me is that I haven't found a way to save variables, their values and definition! Let's look at an ...
2
votes
1answer
1k 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) ...
1
vote
0answers
937 views

How to assign (and retrieve) variables with subscripts? [duplicate]

I like to give subscripts to my variable names when the variables are related. I.e., Subscript[r, i] = 3 3 A problem arises when I later assign ...
1
vote
1answer
172 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 ...
12
votes
5answers
2k 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 ...
10
votes
3answers
308 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 ...
14
votes
6answers
2k 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
271 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 ...
14
votes
6answers
990 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 ...
10
votes
4answers
423 views

How to use pattern matching to assign values to Subscript[f,x_]?

I want to define two subscripted functions Subscript[f,1] and Subscript[f,2]. To keep the assignments local, I would like to ...
8
votes
3answers
578 views

Variable variable names

I have two variables, $ u \in \{0,40\}$ and $\gamma \in \{0,1\}$. I take $10$ values of $u$ and $5$ values of $\gamma$ and using their combinations as a pair of input parameters, I perform some ...
9
votes
3answers
357 views

Problem when defining variable in Mathematica

I'm trying to run this: domain := {n, 0, 10}; Plot[n, domain] but it doesn't work. Instead, it generates the message ...
7
votes
6answers
633 views

Using a built-in symbol as a variable

I want to produce a Mathematica Computable Document in which N appears as a variable in my formulae. But N is a reserved word in ...
4
votes
1answer
113 views

Multiple down-values with exactly the same lefthand side

I was working on an answer to this question, when I was sidetracked by what I bring up here. I wanted a function, which when given a string representing a binary number, would convert the string to a ...
4
votes
1answer
168 views

Forcing Mathematica to recognize a symbol without defining it

In the Mathematica front-end, symbols that have been defined are colored black and symbols with no definition associated are colored blue. This is useful to prevent spelling mistakes. Also, defined ...
3
votes
1answer
145 views

Define a function with the condition that it must be positive

I have a function f(x) and I want to define a new function g(x) that is equal to f(x) only ...
2
votes
3answers
201 views

how can I generate a sequence of assignments?

I want to make a sequence like follows r[1]= r[2]= r[3]= r[4]= .... r[n]= The above r[i] represents coordinates which I have ...
8
votes
1answer
121 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 ...
7
votes
1answer
147 views

Specifying optional arguments with variables

Perhaps this is poor programming on my part, but I would like to create a function that uses a variable as an optional parameter: var = 2; f[a_:var] := {a} The ...
5
votes
1answer
280 views

Proper use of arbitrary number of variables

So, I'm working on a project where the number of independent variables is not fixed. Consider a problem of $N$ independent variables, $\boldsymbol{r}$. I want to perform different things with them. ...
3
votes
2answers
131 views

Assigning an equation as a variable

I am compiling a calculator where many slider parameters are used to define a value, where the defined value may then be reused to define another value. I am unable able to, or at least been ...
3
votes
2answers
193 views

How to declare a function that uses local variables of a module outside this module?

I have the following code Module[{f,x=0}, f[t_] := x + t; ..........; ...f[1]...; ..........; ] My aim is to put the declaration of the function ...
2
votes
2answers
99 views

Extracting variables from Hold expression

For example I have some global assignments x=1;y=2;z=3 and an expression Hold[x*y/z]. How can I now extract variables ...