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RE: Slow iteration in a functional program

  • To: mathgroup at
  • Subject: [mg35646] RE: [mg35630] Slow iteration in a functional program
  • From: "David Park" <djmp at>
  • Date: Wed, 24 Jul 2002 02:06:13 -0400 (EDT)
  • Sender: owner-wri-mathgroup at


Check out Section 2.4.9 in The Mathematica Book - Functions That Remember
Values They Have Found.

I think that will prevent the recalculation.

David Park
djmp at

-----Original Message-----
From: Matthew Rosen [mailto:mrosen at]
To: mathgroup at

  I've been trying to recast an iterative calculation I do as a
procedural program in C as an elegant functional program in
Mathematica 4.1. The Mathematica code is much more transparent, but
the resultant execution time is more than two orders of magnitude
longer. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.The following is
a schematic of the problem.

There are three equations in the iteration variable, n:

   G[n_] := ListIntegrate[xsec Phi[n]]      Both xsec and Phi[n] are
400 points long.

   P[n_] := G[n]/(G[n]+(a constant)+D[n])   D[n] is a simple algebraic
function of n.

   Phi[1] = Flux;                             Flux is 400 points long.
   Phi{n_] := Phi[n-1] Exp[-(1-P[n-1])*xsec

The goal is to evaluate P[n_] for an n around 1000. After running, I
need to know all the values of P[n] and Phi[n] at each n from 1 to
nmax. Note, P[n] is a number and Phi[n] is 400 points long.


Timing[P[1]] = 0.1 s
Timing[P[2]] = 0.2 s
Timing[P[5]] = 8.4 s.

I dont dare try to evaluate P[1000] as I need to do. Every time I
evaluate these functions they recalculate from scratch. I think I
need to somehow tell Mathematica to save the intermediate values.
Curious is that the calculation time is going up like n^2, not like n
as I would have thought. The equivalent procedural c-code runs in
less than 1 second to evaluate P[1000].

Thanks in advance for any guidance!

-Matt Rosen
Matthew Rosen
Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics
Mail Stop 59
60 Garden Street
Cambridge, MA 02138

e: mrosen at
o: (617) 496-7614

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