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Derivatives of user-defined control-flow functions

  • To: mathgroup at
  • Subject: [mg51057] Derivatives of user-defined control-flow functions
  • From: "Maxim A. Dubinnyi" <maxim at>
  • Date: Sun, 3 Oct 2004 05:47:24 -0400 (EDT)
  • Sender: owner-wri-mathgroup at

Can anyone correctly define derivatives of
user-defined control-flow functions?

The derivative of build-in control function 'If' is evaluated as:

In[]=  D[If[f[x], g[x], h[x]], x]
Out[]= If[f[x],g'[x],h'[x]]

Which is perfectly correct answer. I wish to introduce my own
control flow function MyIf and define it's derivatives with
properties identical to ones in build-in If function.
Usually derivatives are defined via properties of
symbol 'Derivative' by setting

Derivative[order...][function_name]:= (derivative definition)

but this method fails in case of control-flow expressions.
The problem origin is in the rule for derivatives of
composite functions:

In[]=  D[f[g[x]], x]
Out[]= f'[g[x]]g'[x]

This rule should not be applied if 'f' is control-flow function such
as 'If', 'Which', etc, and it is really so for build-in control-flow
expressions. But how can I suppress this deepely build-in rule for
some user-defined symbols?

I am experienced user of Mathematica, and I use widely symbolic
and functional programming in my applications,
but can't find any solution of this problem.

Is it the task which can't be solved by means of Mathematica
symbolic programming language?

Maxim A. Dubinnyi

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