Bug introduced after 9.0 and in 10.1 or earlier, and fixed in 10.4.0

I'm running into an extremely bizarre issue that evades reproduction by means other, than repeating my actions verbatim.

Please note, this question is NOT about digitizing a plot. It just describes the actions taken to reproduce an error, shown at the end.

First take the following image:


This is a plot I want to digitize. There are tiny little green marker points on the frame of the plot to map from image coordinates to plot coordinates. To filter out unnecessary pixels I define two functions:

Clear[fn1, fn2];
(fn1[#] = #) & /@ {{0., 0., 0.}, {1., 0., 0.}, {0., 1., 0.}};
fn1[_] = {1., 1., 1.};
(fn2[#] = #) & /@ {{0., 0., 0.}, {0., 0., 0.8}, {0., 1., 0.}};
fn2[_] = {1., 1., 1.};

They convert to white everything, except the four of the five main colors in this image: Black, White, Green (0,1,0) and either Red (1,0,0) or Blue (0,0,0.8). Now import the image and get either one or the other curve:

tnse = Import["https://i.stack.imgur.com/08dE5.png"];
tnse1 = tnse // RemoveAlphaChannel // ImageApply[fn1, #] & // Erosion[#, 1] &;
tnse2 = tnse // RemoveAlphaChannel // ImageApply[fn2, #] & // Erosion[#, 1] &;

At this point I calculate the positions of the reference markers, etc., but this is not relevant to the question. So let's extract the datapoints from the plot like so:

curve1 = PixelValuePositions[
      Thinning[tnse1 // ColorNegate] // ColorNegate, {1., 0., 0.}] // 
     SortBy[First] // GatherBy[#, First] & // Mean /@ # &;
curve2 = PixelValuePositions[
      Thinning[tnse2 // ColorNegate] // ColorNegate, {0., 0., 0.8}] //
      SortBy[First] // GatherBy[#, First] & // Mean /@ # &;

And now I do

MovingAverage[curve1, 4]
General::nomem: The current computation was aborted because there was insufficient memory available to complete the computation.

Throw::sysexc: Uncaught SystemException returned to top level. Can be caught with Catch[\[Ellipsis], _SystemException].

If I type

(* long list of pairs of numbers, Integer or Half-Integer *)

Then type curve1 = in the output cell like so:


Thereby assigning to curve1 whatever is returned by executing curve1 then MovingAverage works properly.

Also this works properly:

MovingAverage[2 curve1, 4]/2

What is going on? I am running MMA on Win 7x64 Professional. This problem was reproduced on a desktop computer and a laptop of similar configurations. Also it doesn't matter, whether I used the source file from my hard drive or the file uploaded to imgur. Also this problem came up when trying to digitize other images.

  • $\begingroup$ Does this still happen if you set $HistoryLength = 0? $\endgroup$ Feb 18, 2016 at 15:55
  • $\begingroup$ @J.M. yes, regardless, before, or after all commands, a fresh kernel start, or whatever. It's persistent. $\endgroup$
    – LLlAMnYP
    Feb 18, 2016 at 15:58
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Oh I know, I'm as obsessed with MMA as everyone else around here, lol. I think prodding it to see what works and what spits back an error is productive in these cases. For example, Mean /@ Partition[curve1, 4, 1] gives the desired results as well. Using TracePrint shows that the last thing that goes through is a call to ListCorrelate, but the call itself gives no error when I copy and paste it into the notebook. $\endgroup$
    – Jason B.
    Feb 18, 2016 at 16:26
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ As others have said this ends up calling ListCorrelate under the hood. Interestingly it fails just by using the first five elements of curve1. ListCorrelate[{{1},{1},{1},{1}}, curve1[[;;5]]]. $\endgroup$
    – Andy Ross
    Feb 18, 2016 at 19:19
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ This is a bug that has already been fixed in the development version last month, thanks @DanielLichtblau ! $\endgroup$
    – ilian
    Feb 19, 2016 at 16:13

1 Answer 1


Turning my comment into an answer, this bug has been fixed in the just released Mathematica 10.4.0.

enter image description here


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