Consider a function f and a list p={a,b,c}. I want to get a list of


In real use, p can have higher dimensions, and f may take more arguments, e.g. I may need to generate a list of f[a,a,a,a] through f[z,z,z,z]. Is there a cleaner way to do this other than making lists that approximately repeat the elements of p then use MapThread? e.g.

p1 = {a, a, b, b}
p2 = {a, b, a, b}
MapThread[f, {p1, p2}]

Here, a, b can be matrices

  • $\begingroup$ What about Outer? $\endgroup$
    – chuy
    Jun 20, 2019 at 19:31
  • $\begingroup$ @chuy Thanks! but Outer may not be a good fit when a,b ... are matrices. $\endgroup$ Jun 20, 2019 at 19:35
  • $\begingroup$ Just realized that p = {a, b, c}; Distribute[f[p, p], List] works $\endgroup$ Jun 20, 2019 at 19:44

2 Answers 2


You can use Tuples:

Tuples[f[{a, b, c}, {a, b, c}]]

{f[a, a], f[a, b], f[a, c], f[b, a], f[b, b], f[b, c], f[c, a], f[c, b], f[c, c]}

f @@@ Tuples[{a, b, c}, 2]

same result

Tuples[f[{a, b}, {r, s, t}, {x, y}]]

{f[a, r, x], f[a, r, y], f[a, s, x], f[a, s, y], f[a, t, x], f[a, t, y], f[b, r, x], f[b, r, y], f[b, s, x], f[b, s, y], f[b, t, x], f[b, t, y]}

f @@@ Tuples[{{a, b}, {r, s, t}, {x, y}}]

same result

p = {a, b};
p1 = {a, a, b, b};
Tuples[f[p, p1]]

{f[a, a], f[a, a], f[a, b], f[a, b], f[b, a], f[b, a], f[b, b], f[b, b]}

  • $\begingroup$ Oops, might need to be changed when a,b,c are matrices? $\endgroup$ Jun 20, 2019 at 19:16
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks! But when I use e.g. 2x2 matrices for a, b, c, p={a,b,c}, then Tuples[KroneckerProduct[p, p]] // Dimensions is {262144, 9, 4}, and does not give 9 4-by-4 matrices... $\endgroup$ Jun 20, 2019 at 19:26
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @egwenesedai, does KroneckerProduct@@@Tuples[p, 2] work? $\endgroup$
    – kglr
    Jun 20, 2019 at 19:28
  • $\begingroup$ Works, thanks a lot! $\endgroup$ Jun 20, 2019 at 19:29
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ you can also use Tuples[kp[p, p]] /. kp -> KroneckerProduct (to prevent KroneckerProduct evaluating before Tuples does its job) $\endgroup$
    – kglr
    Jun 20, 2019 at 19:31

You could also use Tuples as follows:

Tuples[f[a,b,c], 2]

{f[a, a], f[a, b], f[a, c], f[b, a], f[b, b], f[b, c], f[c, a], f[c, b], f[c, c]}

If f evaluates, and you want to do this for matrices, you could do:

p = RandomInteger[1, {3, 2, 2}];
Block[{KroneckerProduct}, Tuples[KroneckerProduct @@ p, 2]] //Dimensions

{9, 4, 4}

  • $\begingroup$ Thanks! That's one clever use for Block $\endgroup$ Jun 21, 2019 at 21:33

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