# Problems with For statement

I'm trying to iterate some expression through for loop:

 a = 0; b = 0.1; ϵ = 0.01; Ns = 100;
lhr[t_] := Normal[Series[-k7 x[t] y[t] /. Nsol /. initConst, {t, 0, Ns}]][]; lhr[t]
rhr1[t_] := Normal[Series[-k7 x[t] y[t] /. Nsol /. initConst, {t, 0, Ns}]][]; rhr1[t]
h = 0.01
For[t = a, t < b, t += h;
If[Abs[lhr[t]] < ϵ*Max[Abs[rhr1[t]]], Print[t]]]


I'm getting following errors:

General::ivar: 0.01 is not a valid variable. >>
General::ivar: 0.01 is not a valid variable. >>
General::ivar: 0.01 is not a valid variable. >>
General::stop: Further output of General::ivar will be suppressed during this calculation. >>

Can you help with this problem?

• Please include complete code (what areNsol,initConst?). In any case, the ; in the For is incorrect. – ciao May 17 '14 at 9:45
• Hi wizar and welcome to Mathematica.SE. Don't set h outside the For loop. It's causing a clash. – Verbeia May 17 '14 at 10:49
• the ivar error is not in the For loop, but in Series. You need to use some other variable for the series expansion, then substitute the numeric value of t: Normal[Series[ f[x] ,{x,0,Ns}]] /. x->t  – george2079 May 17 '14 at 11:57
• For[t = a, t < b, t += h; If[Abs[lhr[t]] < ϵ Max[Abs[rhr1[t]]], Print[t]]] should be For[t = a, t < b, t += h, If[Abs[lhr[t]] < ϵ Max[Abs[rhr1[t]]], Print[t]]]; that is, comma not semicolon after h. – m_goldberg May 17 '14 at 21:15

Others have mentioned two important points:

• you really should provide a working example
• your problem is actually not really with For but with the evaluation of your series expansion.

the latter you can solve relatively easy by using Set (=) instead of SetDelayed (:=) in your definitions, e.g.:

lhr[t_] = Normal[Series[-k7 x[t] y[t] /. Nsol /. initConst, {t, 0, Ns}]][];


That has also the advantage that the series expansion is only done once, not for every new numeric value of t again.

You almost certainly will run into problems when you work with this, though: As For does not localize its variables it will leave t set to the last value in the loop. If you then change your definitions and reevaluate them, they won't work because they expect t to be a symbol without a numeric value. To prevent that, you probably want to localize t at definition time, like so:

Module[{t},
lhr[t_] = Normal[Series[-k7 x[t] y[t] /. Nsol /. initConst, {t, 0, Ns}]][];
]


This is also a good example why For loops in Mathematica always are (at most) the second best choice, as I have explained in this answer. Here Do[...,{t,a,b,h}] (or Do[...,{t,a,b-h/2,h}] if you insist on the < vs. <=) would be shorter and -- at least in my opinion -- much clearer. It would do the same thing but additionally localize t and thus not leave t` behind with a value defined. Note that I have added a section about the differences how the two will handle numeric errors potentially accumulating in the loop variable in the answer mentioned which might be of interest for your use case.