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MathGroup Archive 2001

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Re: Problem overriding simple built-in functions

  • To: mathgroup at smc.vnet.net
  • Subject: [mg28805] Re: [mg28796] Problem overriding simple built-in functions
  • From: BobHanlon at aol.com
  • Date: Mon, 14 May 2001 01:32:57 -0400 (EDT)
  • Sender: owner-wri-mathgroup at wolfram.com

First, since GCD is Protected you cannot change the definition of GCD without 
first using Unprotect[GCD].  However, in general, it is a bad idea to change 
built-in functions since this could have unexpected side effects.  For 
instance, GCD is Listable.

Attributes[GCD]

{Flat, Listable, Orderless, 
  Protected}

I believe its being Listable precludes it behaving in the way in which you 
expected.  However, were the change to GCD to work it would break any code 
which made use of its being Listable.

Consequently, define your own function in these circumstances

myGCD[x_List] := Apply[GCD, x];
myGCD[x__] := GCD[x];

GCD[3, 6] == myGCD[3, 6] == myGCD[{3, 6}]

True


Bob Hanlon

In a message dated 2001/5/13 3:31:50 AM, jchd at worldnet.fr writes:

>I'm told the following occurs under Mathematica v4.0:
>
>In[1]:= GCD[{3, 6}]
>Out[1]= {3, 6}
>In[2]:= GCD[x_List] := Apply[GCD, x]
>In[3]:= GCD[{3, 6}]
>Out[3]= GCD[{3, 6}]
>In[4]:= Apply[GCD, {3, 6}]
>Out[4]= 3
>
>Why is it so? It looks like the override is ignored, but why?
>
>The same exerpt seems to work fine under version 2.x.
>


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