When I start a new notebook, I enter


I get this

{"list", "msgs", "rhs", "z"}

Then I enter,

mydummy[x_, y_, model_] := Module[
      {ans, j},
      ans = Sum[x[[j]], {j, 1, y}]


I get this:

{"ans", "ans$", "j", "j$", "list", "model", "model$", "msgs", "mydummy", "rhs", "x", "x$", "y", "y$", "z"}

I dont really know the difference between x and x$ here. I don't know any of the difference between the variables and the one with an extra $.

I check


Ok, one of them is 'Temporary'.

Here are my questions:

1 - Are they all saved in RAM during the session? 2 - What's the point of saving these 'Temporary' (Global) variables? I thought when declaring them to be local using Module[], they would be thrown away after my execution.

3 - Why do we have x and y at first place? I only defined mydummy, which is a function. So I only want the 'final' value when it's evaluated.

4 - If the x and y are of any use, how do I access them? I tried


It does not tell me anything?

5 - If I define a new function,

mydummy2[x_, y_, model_] := Module[
  {ans, j},
  ans = Sum[x[[j]], {j, 1, y}]




which 'x' is which?

6 - Sometimes, I get Global variables like


To me, they are all 'local' to a Module. But it's in the list when I use 'Names["Global`*"]', why are they there? Can I remove them during a long calculation? How to remove and what's the downside of removing them?

7 - Do I need to declare $j$ within a Module, if it's a dummary index value, like this

(* or *)

8 - Lastly, when i first started Mathematica, what are the "list,msgs,rhs,z" variables?

Sorry if this seems really silly. But I do want to understand this, as I have long codes, it seems sometimes it's using too much memory. I am not sure if it's caused by those 'local' variables.


1 Answer 1


First of all I suspect you are running Mathematica 10.0.0 and are experiencing these issues:

In version 10.0.1 I get:


And then:

mydummy[x_, y_, model_] := Module[{ans, j}, ans = Sum[x[[j]], {j, 1, y}]];

{"ans", "ans$", "j", "j$", "model", "mydummy", "x", "y"}

The remaining names can all be explained as expected behavior. Every Symbol name that appears that does not correspond to an existing Symbol in the $ContextPath

is created in the current $Context. See:

This explains {"ans", "j", "model", "mydummy", "x", "y"}.

The remaining two: {"ans$", "j$"} are more tricky; I believe they are created by the automatic renaming mechanism that applies to nested scoping constructs, here SetDelayed and Module. See:

I shall try to address all of your question on a point-by-point basis if I have time. I think those links should give you plenty to read for the moment, and right now it is time for me to eat. :-)

  • $\begingroup$ You are absolutely right that I am using V10.0.0. As I am very new to Mathematica, I was not aware this was a bug related. I just thought it might be some of my code. Because I have scoping structure, and sometimes it is causing me memory overflow on my 8GB RAM. I will definitely take some time to read the links. $\endgroup$ Oct 14, 2014 at 13:55
  • $\begingroup$ Just tested on V 10.0.1. Names["Global*"]` works fine now. That's sorted! $\endgroup$ Oct 14, 2014 at 14:58

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