# Removing fractions without a particular variable

As a very minimal example, consider a sum of fractions such as:

$$A=\frac{a}{s_{123}bc}+\frac{d}{e}$$

In practice, I have many hundreds of thousands of these fractions generated from a recursion relation. My desired result comes around from the prescription in my theory, where I am required to multiply through by $$s_{123}$$ and then take $$s_{123}\to 0$$. Upon replicating in MMA, I use a code similar to:

A*s[1,2,3]//Expand
%/.{s[1,2,3]->0}


This Expand is necessary since by simply multiplying A by the relevant factor, MMA will first interpret it as $$s_{123} \big (\frac{a}{s_{123}bc}+\frac{d}{e}\big)$$. I think this is what is slowing my code down substantially, and crashes MMA due to a lack of memory.

To get around this, I have had a few ideas;

1. Use something like DeleteCase as a simple method (or something perhaps similar to Filter out all terms not involving a given variable which might be a bit overkill for my needs) to delete all terms not involving $$s_{123}$$, and then set the remaining factors of it in the leftover terms to 1.
2. Instead of using Expand, define a new function which brings common factors inside to each fraction.

Which of these, alongside any other methods, would you suggest? How could I go about implementing them? I think 2 would be easier to do, but at this point, I am needing efficiency in my code on such a large scale.

• You might find that working with a List of terms is better (e.g. effectively List@@A) than working with a sum of terms. Presumably Expand is comparing a large number of terms, looking for common subexpressions. Mar 2, 2019 at 12:15
• I would have thought Cancel[] would work better here than Expand[]. Mar 2, 2019 at 20:16
• Cancel actually crashes my code in this case. It simply runs out of memory on my laptop, but nonetheless; Expand was my first thought, and did the trick at the time when efficiency wasn't as important.
Mar 2, 2019 at 20:26

Pick out only those terms in A that contain exactly one s123 in the denominator:

A = a/(s123 b c) + d/e;

Select[A, Exponent[#, s123] == -1 &] /. s123 -> 1


a/(b c)

or with pattern matching using a Default pattern (*):

Total[Cases[A, _./s123, {1}]] /. s123 -> 1


a/(b c)

or with pattern-based case deletion:

DeleteCases[A, Except[_./s123]] /. s123 -> 1


a/(b c)

You'll have to check what's fastest in your case.

## Timing comparison

Faking a random input:

SeedRandom[1234];
A = Total[Times @@@ ({a, b, c, s}^# & /@ RandomInteger[{-10, 10}, {10^4, 4}])];


Method 1: Select is quite fast:

First[T1 = RepeatedTiming[Select[A, Exponent[#, s] == -1 &] /. s -> 1]]
(* 0.042 *)


Method 2: Cases is very fast:

First[T2 = RepeatedTiming[Total[Cases[A, _./s, {1}]] /. s -> 1]]
(* 0.006 *)


Method 3: DeleteCases is about equally fast, depending on the exact input:

First[T3 = RepeatedTiming[DeleteCases[A, Except[_./s]] /. s -> 1]]
(* 0.0081 *)


@CarlWoll's method is very slow:

First[T4 = RepeatedTiming[SeriesCoefficient[A, {s, 0, -1}]]]
(* 5.12 *)


check that the results agree:

T1[[2]] == T2[[2]] == T3[[2]] == T4[[2]] // Expand
(* True *)


## Footnote

(*) We need a special Default pattern for 1/s123 because it does not match the pattern _/s123. Why not? The full form of x/s123 (with anything for x) has head Times:

x/s123 //FullForm
(* Times[Power[s123, -1], x] *)


The full form of 1/s123, on the other hand, has head Power:

1/s123 //FullForm
(* Power[s123, -1] *)

• Thank you for your very helpful and informative comment. Only off the top of your head, can you think of any other alternative methods that may be faster which I have not considered before?
Mar 2, 2019 at 15:22
• The pattern (_ : 1)/s instead of _/s | 1/s works. Mar 2, 2019 at 19:44
• I've added DeleteCases as another fast method. Mar 3, 2019 at 2:43
• @Somos the default pattern _./s works too and looks even simpler. Mar 15, 2019 at 2:44

Why not just use SeriesCoefficient?

A = a/(s123 b c) + d/e;
SeriesCoefficient[A, {s123, 0, -1}]


a/(b c)

• Because it's terribly slow, see my answer. Mar 2, 2019 at 16:38
• In my extended case, it took around 41 seconds, compared to my original method which took around 5. The improvements from Roman both took sub-1 second when applied to the practical case. Thank you for your answer; although it's not quite what I needed in this situation, it serves as a pleasant reminder of the in-built capabilities of MMA.