# Why doesn't Thread work in this case?

The following function is supposed to pick the element of the list with highest weight, i.e., with Thread [f[{{a,1},{b,2}}]] it should make the variables initialvls={b,2}, m=2.

initialvls = {};
m = 0;
f[x_] := Module[{},
If[x[] > m,
m = x[];
initialvls = x
];
]


I dont know anything about the inner workings of mathematica. But I would expect the thread to apply first f to {a,1},and put m=1, and initialvls={a,1}. Afterwards it would apply f to {b,2}, and so on... However, my function doesn't seem to do what I want.

Any help would be appreciated.

• What about, from your other question, initialvls = First@Cases[#, {_, Max@#[[All, 2]]}] &@{{a, 1}, {b, 2}}; m = initialvls[]? – Aisamu Dec 2 '14 at 18:38
• @Aisamu that question is about efficiency. this is how to work with thread function, and global variables. – An old man in the sea. Dec 2 '14 at 19:19
• (1) Thread does not have any HoldXXX attribute so it's argument is evaluated first. It's argument is f[{{a,1},{b,2}}]. f[whatever] returns unevaluated. Ergo Thread sees Null. (2) A simple Print statement would have made this clear or at least made it less mysterious. – Daniel Lichtblau Dec 2 '14 at 20:03

initialvls = {};
m = 0;
f[x_] := Module[{}, If[x[] > m, m = x[]; initialvls = x];]

Thread[ff[{{a, 1}, {b, 2}}]] /. ff -> f;
initialvls
(* {b, 2} *)
m
(* 2 *)


or

initialvls = {};
m = 0;
f[x_] := Module[{}, If[x[] > m, m = x[]; initialvls = x];]

Thread[Hold[f][{{a, 1}, {b, 2}}]] // ReleaseHold;
(* {b, 2} *)
m
(* 2 *)