Here is a simple test function

test[n_] :=
  Module[{i = 0}, Total[Nest[{++i, #}&, {0}, n], -1]]

On my system V9.0.1 running OS X 10.6.8 and with a clean kernel, the following works

{0.106564, 343180701}

but then immediately evaluating


fails. I get a beep and Help > Why the Beep?... shows


Can anybody verify this on another system different from mine? Can you cast any light on why it happens? I will submit a bug report to WRI if this is not just peculiar to my system.

  • $\begingroup$ Both work fine here: mac os 10.9, Mathematica 9.01. $\endgroup$ – bill s Nov 16 '13 at 3:46
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    $\begingroup$ Crashes without Timing too, but the number at which it crashes varies a bit. test[21820] crashes sometimes, but if it doesn't crash on first-run it can be evaluated seemingly endless amount of times without crashing. $\endgroup$ – ssch Nov 16 '13 at 12:41
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    $\begingroup$ You are blowing up the subroutine stack. Whether this is a consequence of evaluation semantics, or vagary of (mis?)implementation of Nest, I do not know. $\endgroup$ – Daniel Lichtblau Nov 16 '13 at 23:27
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    $\begingroup$ You can submit it. But the fact is I do not know at this time whether it is a bug or a fact of evaluation semantics. If the latter, there won't be much to be done about it. Time permitting, I hope to look into that next week. $\endgroup$ – Daniel Lichtblau Nov 16 '13 at 23:42
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    $\begingroup$ I looked some more. The issue is that Total is implemented by recursion. This could be done differently (many things could be done differently...) and I imagine a suggestion will be, or has been, filed to this effect. Not sure if/when it might be acted upon. I'd suggest using Flatten first since that one is not done by recursion (not since version 3.0, at any rate). $\endgroup$ – Daniel Lichtblau Nov 20 '13 at 17:48

I reported my problem to Wolfram Research technical support. Here is a slightly edited version of the reply I received.

... I tried the same command with larger value[s] of n and the crash could be reproduced with Total applied. Indeed, this number seems to be system dependent. I tested it on several different machines and got different thresholds of n.


Regarding this, I will file a report so the developer who is responsible for the function Total will notice the issue.

I think this issue can be marked with .


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