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Part 2 of a recent post on Plot and v 5

  • To: mathgroup at
  • Subject: [mg44358] Part 2 of a recent post on Plot and v 5
  • From: Mariusz Jankowski<mjankowski at>
  • Date: Fri, 7 Nov 2003 05:16:03 -0500 (EST)
  • Organization: University of Maine System testbed server
  • Sender: owner-wri-mathgroup at

Dear colleagues, I recently posted a question about the apparent change to Plot in version 5. I gather from the responses (thank you) that this new feature seemed natural or even desirable. That surprised me, so let me explain.

I used

Plot[UnitStep[x], {x, -1, 5}];

and found that Mathematica chose to display the function in the "more interesting" range of -1<=x<=1. 

My opinion is that an EXPLICITLY given range in any of the graphics commands should not be overridden, under any circumstances. Is there anyone who agrees with me? I would love to hear some of the opinions for and against, especially the former, because I can't think of any. 

Finally, if this indeed is a new feature, can anyone explain the algorithm that is used to choose the "interesting" interval and is it used in any other 2D graphic functions, and density or contour plots?  

Thanks, Mariusz

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