# Assign numerical values to symbolic variables in a vector inside a do loop

I have vector k = {k1, k2, k3, k4, k5, k6}.

I would like to assign numerical values to the elements of k in each step of a Do/For loop. I am currently using the following commands which are not working.

k = {k1, k2, k3, k4, k5, k6}; nrate = 6;
Do[temp = RandomReal[1, nrate]; Evaluate@k = temp; {p,4}]


The problem is once the elements are assigned numerical values the first time, the code does not remove the numerical values and reassign new values. I tried Clear[k] and other variants of that within the Do loop. But none worked. Any help will be appreciated. Thanks.

• What you are trying to do may be possible, but will be difficult. Consider instead assigning a list of values to k and the indexing it with Part to get each value: in other words, instead of using k1 in the rest of the code, you would use k[]. This is also much easier to do programmatically. – MarcoB Dec 18 '19 at 15:35

I'd probably use something like this injection pattern:

SeedRandom;
k = {k1, k2, k3, k4, k5, k6};
nrate = 6;
Hold@{k1, k2, k3, k4, k5, k6} /. Hold[v_] :>
Do[
Block[v,
temp = RandomReal[1, nrate];
v = temp;
Print[k -> k1]
],
{p, 4}]
k
(*
{0.652468,0.63307,0.682813,0.566352,0.935202,0.976188}->0.652468
{0.238452,0.637562,0.101098,0.645525,0.159522,0.813788}->0.238452
{0.904785,0.640712,0.30654,0.756198,0.876688,0.0191284}->0.904785
{0.542617,0.352371,0.8992,0.968878,0.876215,0.340281}->0.542617

{k1, k2, k3, k4, k5, k6}
*)


It pretty much skips the use of k, except one can see k behaves properly in the Print[k] statement. You could replace v = temp with Evaluate@k = temp if desired.

• Great! This works. I have one more question. Is it possible to write the command Hold@{k1, k2, k3, k4, k5, k6} in terms of the array k alone? I will be changing the number of elements in k, (e.g., k={k1,k2,...,k30}, so writing this command in terms of k will help me to automate the code better. – user8978 Dec 18 '19 at 16:00
• @user8978 You can write Hold@Evaluate@k, provided k1 etc. are undefined at that point. Or better: Hold@k /. OwnValues[k] /. Hold[v_] :> ... – Michael E2 Dec 18 '19 at 16:02

I am not quite sure that I have understood you correctly, but try this:

     k = {k1, k2, k3, k4, k5, k6};
nrate = 6;
Do[Clear[k ];
k = RandomReal[1, nrate];
Print[k], {4}]


It prints the following

(* {0.916468,0.66767,0.723805,0.200977,0.146658,0.721668}

{0.432025,0.55543,0.442879,0.147811,0.983221,0.618985}

{0.684541,0.0765643,0.430437,0.903713,0.68653,0.634845}

{0.00329059,0.670352,0.687355,0.843289,0.690302,0.73796} *)


If this is what you wanted, remove the Print statement.

I should say, however, that in Mma this task can be done easier without loops. Try this:

RandomReal[{0, 1}, {4, nrate}]


Have fun!

• I appreciate the help. However, I was asking a slightly different question. I would like to assign the elements (e.g., k1) of k different numerical values at each step becasue I will be using k1, k2, and so on for later calculations. If I use k={k1,k2,k3,k4,k5,k6}; Do[Clear[k]; k = RandomReal[1, nrate]; Print[k1];] then the output is k1. Thus k1 is not assigned a value in this operation. I would like to do that. Thank you. – user8978 Dec 18 '19 at 15:23