# How to define multiple functions using a for command

Let's say I want to plot 10 graphs of those following functions. Since they are recursive functions, I cant make a table with 10 different initial conditions because Mathematica stores each value individually.

Then, I could define p1...p10 and θ1...θ10 manually and just make a Show[graph1...graph10]

However, how can I define the functions in an fast way doing something like that:

For[i = 1, i < 10, i++;
θi[j_] := θi[j] = θi[j - 1] + β*pi[j - 1];
pi[j_] := pi[j] = pi[j - 1] - α*Sin[θi[j - 1] + β*pi[j - 1]];
θi[0] = Pi/4+i/10;
pi[0] = 0.8-i/10;
graphi = ListPlot[Table[{θi[j], pi[j]}, {j, 0, 100}], AxesLabel -> {"θ(j)", "p(j)"}]]


so I can join the functions plot in a Show later?

• I´d recommend putting together a Module for such things - take a look at the docs, there are many examples. Oct 20, 2014 at 13:27
• th[i_][j_] := th[i][j] = th[i][j - 1] + \[Beta] p[i][j - 1]; p[i_][j_] := p[i][j] = th[i][j - 1] - \[Alpha] Sin[th[i][j - 1]] + \[Beta] p[i][j - 1]; th[i_][0] := Pi/4 + i/10; p[i_][0] := .8 - i/10; \[Alpha] = \[Beta] = .01;
– Kuba
Oct 20, 2014 at 13:54
• @YvesKlett I will take a look. thanks Kuba that could help me. interesting
– Geo
Oct 20, 2014 at 14:55

You ought to set up functions that are indexed by i, not just looped through and reusing the same names. Why use θi when you could use θ[i]?

α=0.2;β=0.1;
For[i = 1, i < 10, i++,
θ[i][j_] := θ[i][j] = θ[i][j - 1] + β*p[i][j - 1];
p[i][j_] := p[i][j] = p[i][j - 1] - α*Sin[θ[i][j - 1] + β*p[i][j - 1]];
θ[i][0] = Pi/4+i/10;
p[i][0] = 0.8-i/10;
graph[i] = ListPlot[
Table[{θ[i][j], p[i][j]}, {j, 0, 100}],
PlotStyle -> RGBColor[{1 - i/10, i/15, i/10}]
]
]


All I did was make every instance of i in a variable name into a parameter [i]. Also watch out! You have a semicolon after i++ when you should have a comma. And the important plot option, color, is here, while the axes labels are relegated to the Show command (below).

If you want these to vary with α and β, I suggest you also include them as arguments, e.g. θ[i][α_,β_,j_] or similar.

I don't want to change your code too much, so I mostly just replaced i with [i]. However, you could also avoid the use of a loop entirely (if you're really interested, comment and I can follow up) because now you are just defining ten separate functions.

Anyway, after that, all you need is:

Show[Table[graph[i], {i, 1, 9}],
AxesLabel -> {"θ(j)", "p(j)"}, PlotRange -> All
]


I added the color options so that you can see which is which. With these parameter values they look like ellipses. I also started by setting values for your parameters. If they are not numerical, you can't plot them, so I went ahead and assumed you have them. Note that in addition to not giving you an actual graph, if α and β are symbolic, the recursion becomes a symbolic nightmare computing a table of 100 recursions of some symbolic expression.

• thanks. i didn't know we could use p[i][j_]. what does exactly the first argument ([i]) means in an function?
– Geo
Oct 20, 2014 at 16:39
• @Geo My thoughts on that construct are here. In this case I believe one could also have used θ[i, j_] := but I think θ[i][j_] is more clear. Oct 20, 2014 at 17:16
• Mathematica has two different things when it comes to brackets. You can define something with an index, like x[1]=3;x[2]=2;x[3]=q;x[4]=3q; so that Sum[x[i],{i,1,4}] will give you 5+4q. This is just on-the-spot, and the i doesn't stand for any special type of input -- if a value of i is used that is "unknown" in some way, Mathematica leaves x[i] unevaluated. But if you define a function x[i_]=i^2, then Mathematica has a symbolic understanding that x is a function. For us, i is not so much an input as an index for our functions. Generally I prefer f[a][x] to allow f[a]'[x]. Oct 20, 2014 at 19:03

You can use Table if you Clear within the loop:

α = 0.2; β = 0.1;

Table[
Clear[θi, pi];
θi[j_] := θi[j] = θi[j - 1] + β*pi[j - 1];
pi[j_] := pi[j] = pi[j - 1] - α*Sin[θi[j - 1] + β*pi[j - 1]];
θi[0] = Pi/4 + i/10;
pi[0] = 0.8 - i/10;
Table[{θi[j], pi[j]}, {j, 0, 100}],
{i, 10}
] // ListPlot[#, AxesLabel -> {"θ(j)", "p(j)"}] &


Using NestList makes all this simpler however:

α = 0.2; β = 0.1;

Table[
NestList[
{# + β #2, #2 - α*Sin[# + β #2]} & @@ # &,
{Pi/4 + i/10, 0.8 - i/10},
100
],
{i, 10}
] // ListPlot[#, AxesLabel -> {"θ(j)", "p(j)"}] &


Although not general you can even utilize the listability (vector computation) of all constituent operations in your functions to turn the problem inside out:

ListPlot[
NestList[{# + β #2, #2 - α*Sin[# + β #2]} & @@ # &,
{Pi/4 + #/10, 0.8 - #/10} & @ Range @ 10, 100] ~Transpose~ {2, 3, 1},
AxesLabel -> {"θ(j)", "p(j)"}
]

• This is, more or less, what I would have recommended when I mentioned "you could also avoid the use of a loop entirely." The data is, essentially, one big table. I'll leave it to Mr.Wizard, who's much more adept at NestList than I am. Oct 20, 2014 at 19:05
• @Kellen Thanks! By the way I voted for your answer. :-) Oct 20, 2014 at 19:06