I want to create a dynamic calculation (Manipulate) that will display a complex (time consuming) calculation. The gist of the matter is working with a given sample of observations. The controls will determine an appropriate partitioning of the main sample in three consecutive parts and then calculations will be updated on selected sub-samples.

The way partioning works, it is possible that changing the controls can affect only two of the sub-samples which implies that calculations might need to be updated for either of those affected samples without needing to do so for the unaffected partition.

My best guess so far to prevent time-consuning redundunt evaluation of code is to somehow record the state of the controls and if between adjustments of the dynamic calculation a sub-state doesn't change then avoid performing the corresponding calculation.

This thought didn't pan out as I had hoped for:


  outp = Row[{prev,,x}];
  prev = x;

  {x, 0, 1},

  Initialization :> (

    prev = 0.5;



After changing the slider, the prev value changes into the current value of the control; I can't maintain a proper history of the control values.

Is there a way to record correctly the previous value of the control? Is it possible to achieve the desired objective of controlling which part of the code will evaluate according to the changes in the state of the controls in some other way I didn't think of?

Any and all suggestions much appreciated!


Below this line is an implementation of a solution based on the solution of @Kuba:

1. create a time series:


With[{n = 300},

  With[{y = Accumulate[RandomReal[{-1, 1}, n]], t = NestList[DatePlus[#, -RandomInteger[{2, 7}]] &, DateList[], n - 1]},

    ts = TimeSeries[y, {Reverse[t]}, 
      ResamplingMethod -> {"Interpolation", InterpolationOrder -> 0},
      TemporalRegularity -> True]]];

2. define the function to perform the actual calculation:

splitForecastDisplay[values_, times_, n1_, n2_, label_: ""] := Module[{wspec, tsi, tsmf1, tsfcst13, tspec},

  wspec = {{Automatic, times[[n1]]}, {times[[n1 + 1]], times[[n2]]}, {times[[n2 + 1]], Automatic}};

  tsi = TimeSeriesWindow[ts, #] & /@ wspec;

  tsmf1 = TimeSeriesModelFit[tsi[[1]]];

  tsfcst13 = TimeSeriesForecast[tsmf1, {Length[Drop[times, n2]]}];

  With[{ts3 = tsi[[-1]]},

    tspec = ts3[#] & /@ {"FirstTime", "LastTime"}


    Join[tsi, {TimeSeriesRescale[tsfcst13, tspec]}],
    PlotLabel -> label


3. implementation of @Kuba's proposal:

DynamicModule[{c = 30, v, t, tassoc, tspec, main, mainWrapper, label},


   ControlActive[{x, y}, main[x, y]],

   {{x, Round[c/2], "n1"}, 1, y - c, 1},
   {{y, Round[n - c/2], "n2"}, x + c, n, 1},

   SynchronousUpdating -> False,

   Initialization :> (

    {v, t} = Thread[ts[{"Values", "Times"}]];
    n = Length[t];

    tassoc = AssociationThread[Range[n] -> t];

    tspec = {"Year", "/", "Month", "/", "Day"};

    main[x_, y_] := main[x, y] = mainWrapper[x, y];

    mainWrapper[x_, y_] := With[{X = Round[x], Y = Round[y]},

      label = Row[{DateString[tassoc[X], tspec], " - ", DateString[tassoc[Y], tspec], " n1 = ", x, " n2 = ", y, ", n2 - n1 = ", y - x}];

      splitForecastDisplay[v, t, x, y, label]



The output after the first evaluation is displayed on the left of the following screenshot; on subsequent evaluations, the result is normal (right screenshot) enter image description here

  • $\begingroup$ Is the original problem about having 3 sliders when only 2 of them should trigger calculations? $\endgroup$
    – Kuba
    Apr 11, 2018 at 6:41
  • $\begingroup$ the way I see it is about having a way to discern if the values of the controls have changed between consecutive manipulations of the sliders; I use two sliders; each one accounts for the value of the other in their range specification; $\endgroup$ Apr 11, 2018 at 7:01
  • $\begingroup$ I know it is the way you see that but the original problem is different than the problem you have with implementing the solution of the original one. I suspect there may be a better way than tracking variable's history. But I need to understand the main problem first. $\endgroup$
    – Kuba
    Apr 11, 2018 at 7:08
  • $\begingroup$ I understand. Consider the problem of cutting a sample in three sub-samples and then performing lengthy calcs on each of them and then displaying the results on a plot; I administer two cuts on the sample to obtain the three sub-samples (that's what the sliders are for). If a cut doesn't change then the associated subsample is not updated and there is no need to perform lengthy calcs on it hence it is possible to make the dynamic evaluation more quickly updateable and less choppy. $\endgroup$ Apr 11, 2018 at 7:26

1 Answer 1


Unless I'm mistaken you can cache calculated values and reuse them if needed.

Additionally you can use e.g ControlActive to not calculate until sliders are released:

, Manipulate[
    ControlActive[ {x, y},  main[x, y] ]
  , {x, 0, 10, 1}
  , {y, 0, 10, 1}
  , SynchronousUpdating -> False
  , Initialization :> (
      main[x_, y_] := main[x, y] = longCalculation[x, y]
    ; longCalculation[x_, y_] := (Pause[1]; x + y)
        (*Pause only to simulate a long calculation*)
  • $\begingroup$ seems promising; I'll try it out and will post an update shortly $\endgroup$ Apr 11, 2018 at 7:55
  • $\begingroup$ ok, I tried it out and it is good enough I guess; I am having some minor issues with what I think is control initialization; I'd appreciate it if you could take a look at my edit and point me to the right direction; at first, I wasn't sure about memoizing the main func but in practice, I expect a few positions for the x value and a handful of positions for the y control so it might be a workable compromise after all; thanks ! $\endgroup$ Apr 11, 2018 at 15:40

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.