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Re: wierd REmove behavior
*To*: mathgroup at smc.vnet.net
*Subject*: [mg2372] Re: wierd REmove behavior
*From*: wagner at goober.cs.colorado.edu (Dave Wagner)
*Date*: Sun, 29 Oct 1995 22:48:56 -0500
*Organization*: University of Colorado, Boulder
In article <46pr4d$fve at ralph.vnet.net>,
richard j. gaylord <gaylord at ux1.cso.uiuc.edu> wrote:
>one of my students came to see me and asked what was going on in the following.
>
>In[6]:=
>Remove[c]
>
>In[7]:=
>c = 6
>Out[7]=
>6
>
>In[8]:=
>?c
>Global`c
>c = 6
>
>
>In[9]:=
>Remove[c];c = 6
>Out[9]=
>6
>
>In[10]:=
>?c
>Information::notfound: Symbol c not found.
>
>In[11]:=
>Trace[Remove[c]; c = 6]
>Out[11]=
>{Remove[Removed[c]]; Removed[c] = 6,
> {Remove[Removed[c]], Null}, {Removed[c] = 6, 6}, 6}
Someone from WRI may post a more authoritative answer on this one,
but here's my understanding of how this works: When you type
Remove[c]; c=6
the parser parses this input and looks up the symbol c in the symbol
table. Both c's refer to the same symbol table entry. The symbol
table entry has a reference count which in this case is at least two
(in fact, it's larger because of the earlier references to c).
Removing c marks the symbol table entry as removed, but because the
reference count is non-zero, doesn't actually remove the symbol
table entry from the symbol table. The c=6 then refers to a
symbol table entry whose name is "c" but which has been removed,
hence it prints as "Removed[c]". This is a pathological beastie
that it's very hard to do anything useful with.
The same type of behavior is going on when you do something like this:
x = 6;
temp`x = 7;
Now if you evaluate x you will get 6; if you evaluate the following:
Begin[temp`];
x
End[temp`];
you will get 7. BUT if the following will give you 6 again:
Begin[temp`]; x
End[temp`]
Because all of the symbols are looked up in the symbol table before
the context-changing command is executed.
Anyway, this reminds me of an old joke: A guy goes to the doctor,
he says, "Doc, it hurts when I do this." So the doctor says,
"Then don't do that!"
Dave Wagner
Principia Consulting
(303) 786-8371
dbwagner at princon.com
http://www.princon.com/princon
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