Given that I have a ragged list as below,

raggedList = {U1, U2, ..., Un}

where, ui is a sublist($i=1,2,\cdots,n$) and their length are distinct. For example,

raggedList = 
  {{0.25, 0.25, 0.5, 0.5, 0.75, 0.75, 0.8}, 
   {0.21, 0.25, 0.3, 0.6, 0.7, 0.8}, 
   {0.25, 0.3, 0.7, 0.8};

Namely, raggedList is not a tensor. For this case, obviously, I cannot use MArgument_getMTensor(Args[0]) to get that input.

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ You can use MathLink to pass such arguments. This is easy but slower than MTensors. Alternatively, you can flatten the array, then pass both its elements and the length of each sublist separately. This will be faster. I have used both approaches with LibraryLink. $\endgroup$
    – Szabolcs
    Commented Jul 31, 2016 at 13:40
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ Will this representation help? $\endgroup$
    – vapor
    Commented Jul 31, 2016 at 14:23
  • $\begingroup$ Yes, that's what I meant. $\endgroup$
    – Szabolcs
    Commented Aug 1, 2016 at 8:00

1 Answer 1


You can't. I mean you can't directly. This is not yet supported in LibraryLink, there is a method to parse it via MathLink(now called WSTP), but that's another story. You can however always flatten your ragged array, store the lengths of each sub-array and pass that as another argument too for later formatting.

Another method would be to pad your array with symbols that you know should not appear as elements of your sub-list, things like -1 if you know the matrix is non-negative.

A lot of things are not supported in LibraryLink others include lists of strings and images.

  • $\begingroup$ Padding with symbols doesn't help because symbols can't be a part of a packed array and only packed arrays are supported directly by LibraryLink. Images are supported directly. $\endgroup$
    – Szabolcs
    Commented Aug 1, 2016 at 8:01
  • $\begingroup$ If you pad with symbols you get NaN in your array. And I meant list of images is not supported. You will need to pass a 3D image and then slice it up. $\endgroup$ Commented Aug 1, 2016 at 8:04
  • $\begingroup$ That is not true, or at least not true on all platforms. On my machine I get a LibraryFunction::cfta message. Using things like Infinity appears to work sometimes, but in reality is not reliable and will result in random weird behaviour. $\endgroup$
    – Szabolcs
    Commented Aug 1, 2016 at 8:10
  • $\begingroup$ This is what happens when you try to use them: mathematica.stackexchange.com/questions/19026/… $\endgroup$
    – Szabolcs
    Commented Aug 1, 2016 at 8:11
  • $\begingroup$ Hmm. That's possible. I tried with a toy example on my machine and it worked. Anyway. Thanks for clarification. $\endgroup$ Commented Aug 1, 2016 at 11:18

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

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