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RE: composing functions

  • To: mathgroup at
  • Subject: [mg45533] RE: [mg45527] composing functions
  • From: "Wolf, Hartmut" <Hartmut.Wolf at>
  • Date: Tue, 13 Jan 2004 04:03:50 -0500 (EST)
  • Sender: owner-wri-mathgroup at

>-----Original Message-----
>From: Pedro L [mailto:pedrito6 at]
To: mathgroup at
>Sent: Monday, January 12, 2004 8:16 AM
>To: mathgroup at
>Subject: [mg45533] [mg45527] composing functions
>I  would  like  to find a way for composing a list of functions over a
>list of numbers.
>I  have  the  list  {{f,  g,  h},  {a,  b, c, d}}
>(f, g, h are functions and a, b, c, d are numbers)
>I would like to obtain h[g[f[a, b], c], d]
>Since  it's  for a real program, I had to do it in "any" way. So I did
>it as I show below:
>In[1]:= kk = {{f, g, h}, {a, b, c, d}}
>Out[1]= {{f, g, h}, {a, b, c, d}}
>In[2]:= result1 = {kk[[2,1]]}; For[i = 1, i < Length[kk[[2]]], 
>i++, AppendTo[result1, kk[[1,i]]]; 
>            AppendTo[result1, kk[[2,i + 1]]]]; result1
>Out[2]= {a, f, b, g, c, h, d}
>In[3]:= result2 = StringJoin @@ ToString /@ result1
>Out[3]= afbgchd
>In[4]:= result3 = StringInsert[result2, "~", Range[2, 
>Out[4]= a~f~b~g~c~h~d
>In[5]:= result4 = ToExpression[result3]
>Out[5]= h[g[f[a, b], c], d]
>But I'm really sure that it can be done much better.
>Could you help me?


program recursively,
In[15]:= Clear[composeLeft]

In[16]:= composeLeft[{}, x_, {}] := x  (* terminating condition *)

In[17]:= composeLeft[{}, _, _List] := Message[composeLeft::"nofun"]
In[18]:= composeLeft[_List, _, {}] := Message[composeLeft::"noarg"]
(two error cases, you must define the message texts before use)

The recursive function:
composeLeft[ff_List, x_, xx_List] := 
  composeLeft[Rest[ff], First[ff][x, First[xx]], Rest[xx]]

In[20]:= composeLeft[{f, g, h}, a, {b, c, d}]
Out[20]= h[g[f[a, b], c], d]

A (not so pleasant) alternative using Fold:
In[65]:= Clear[composeLeft]

composeLeft[ff_List, x_, xx_List] := 
  Block[{funList = ff, cf}, 
    cf[r_, s_] := First[{First[funList][r, s], funList = Rest[funList]}];
    Fold[cf, x, xx]]

In[68]:= composeLeft[{f, g, h}, a, {b, c, d}]
Out[68]= h[g[f[a, b], c], d]

(Of course, then you should also treat the errors.)

Another idea would be to exploit Composition, just to sketch:

In[81]:= Attributes[cc] = HoldRest;
In[82]:= cc[f_, y_][x_] := f[x, y]

(Composition @@ MapThread[cc, {{h, g, f}, {d, c, b}}])[a]
Out[84]= h[g[f[a, b], c], d]

Hartmut Wolf

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