Or put in another way, how to make a variable behave as it belongs to a specific domain, even outside the use of simplify or other commands alike?

For example:

Re[u] returns Re[u] because the kernel cannot tell upfront that u is real. Even after setting $Assumptions = u ∈ Reals, a call to Re[u] keeps returning Re[u]. A call to Re[u] // Simplify works.

But it would be simpler to make a variable behave always like assumed without the need to a call to Simplify. On the other hand a call to Re[π] returns π directly.

Is there a way to make variables behave like π does in the example above?

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    $\begingroup$ What you are proposing doesn't make a lot a sense in Mathematica, where variables are just symbols and don't have any facility for carrying meta data such as type information. How would your idea of strong assumptions handle a variable that was given the strong assumption of being an integer, when that variable was bound to a complex value with Set at a later time? $\endgroup$ – m_goldberg Feb 22 '15 at 1:53
  • $\begingroup$ Thank you for your interest and helpful insights. Well I certainly don't know how to answer that. But there is a point in that question I made. Even though Pi is a symbol, it behaves like a real. Is the symbol Pi a constant or a function to the kernel? How could I define a symbol of my own and tell the kernel my symbol belongs to a specified domain? $\endgroup$ – Leandro Feb 22 '15 at 2:42

Trivially, in this case you can use Re[x] ^= x. However, you can't use upvalues with expressions like Sqrt[Pi^2] (which evaluates to Pi).

You could use $Post and Refine, but it's sort of a hack.

$Post = Refine[#, x \[Element] Reals] &
Re[x] (* x *)
Sqrt[x^2] (* Abs[x] *)

Note that this system isn't very flexible. If you want to add another assumption, you need to reset $Post, remembering every previous assumption as well. Perhaps something like:

addAssumption[expr_] := ($Assumptions = $Assumptions && expr;
                         $Post = Refine[#, $Assumptions] &)

Again, this is sort of a hacky way to do it. I would recommend just using Simplify, Refine, or ComplexExpand where you need it instead.


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