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RE: Flat: Problems & Workarounds Sweden.

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  • Subject: [mg8495] RE: Flat: Problems & Workarounds Sweden.
  • From: Johan Gunnarsson <johan at>
  • Date: Tue, 2 Sep 1997 16:15:40 -0400
  • Sender: owner-wri-mathgroup at

Thanks for the response.


I agree that my function was not specified enough.
I'm working on a package for symbolic manipulations of
matrices. In this I have an own function for Dot named
SymbDot, which works as Dot exept that it can treat
symbols like A and B as representatives of matrices.
The latter is possible with my command DefineMatrix[A,B],
which adds predicates to the symbols saying that these
are symbolic matrices.

The reordering of the arguments to SymbDot comes from that
I want to pull out everything that are scalars (non matrix) from
the SymbDot to get something more canonic, e.g.,


I agree that there is not necessary to have the Flat attribute to
achieve this.
I still think that Flat will make it easier to write transformation rules
that behaves according to the corresponding algebra, e.g., the rules

SymbDot[x_,x_] := x^2
SymbDot[x_,(x_)^(n_)] := x^(n+1)
SymbDot[(x_)^(n_),x_] := x^(n+1)

will be enough to get the following transformation

SymbDot[A,B,A,B,A,B] => Power[SymbDot[A,B],3]

This type of transformation can of course be made without the Flat,
but I think the Flat will make the rules simpler (and prettier) in this case.
At least when the tricky things about pulling out scalars have a workaround.


You have not comment on the feature:
h[] = 1 is not the same as h[] /; True =1

as well as h[arg__ /; test[arg] ] := ...
is not the same as h[arg__ ] /; test[arg] := ...
when h has the Flat attribute.

This feature was a surprise to me, but also the key to find
a workaround for the problem discussed in my previous message.


/Johan Gunnarsson
Johan Gunnarsson             
Division of Automatic Control
Dept. of EE, Linkoping University
S-581 83 Linkoping, Sweden
Tel: 	+46 13 282913     
Fax: 	+46 13 282622     	
Email: 	johan at

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