Re: Re: Re: Bug Report - Two numerical values for a same variable

• To: mathgroup at smc.vnet.net
• Subject: [mg54361] Re: [mg54300] Re: [mg54271] Re: Bug Report - Two numerical values for a same variable
• From: Andrzej Kozlowski <akoz at mimuw.edu.pl>
• Date: Sat, 19 Feb 2005 02:32:08 -0500 (EST)
• References: <00ed01c512b0\$2f242850\$6400a8c0@Main> <curpbn\$r28\$1@smc.vnet.net> <200502150438.XAA29728@smc.vnet.net> <200502161936.OAA19223@smc.vnet.net> <bc260b75189ab899a75c3a5c65dc0bcf@gmail.com> <4214B60F.2050207@math.umass.edu>
• Sender: owner-wri-mathgroup at wolfram.com

```Obviously this was meant as an illustration of how things "would have
worked" had Rational[2,3] not been an Atom! Note the "would have"!
Rational[a,b] is just an undefined expression with head Rational and is
not an atom.

Andrzej

On 17 Feb 2005, at 16:19, Murray Eisenberg wrote:

> Given that Rational[a, b] is, as you say, meaningless, I'm not yet
> convinced by your reasoning on grounds of Mathematica consistency!
>
> Andrzej Kozlowski wrote:
>> The reasons why Rational[2,3] or Complex[2,3] are atoms are nor
>> really mathematical but come from considering the structure of
>> expressions in the Mathematica language and way expressions are
>> transformed by various structured operations. To see what I mean
>> consider the following list
>> ls = {1, 2, 3/4, 5 + 6*I, Rational[a, b]};
>> Note that 3/4 evaluates to the atom Rational[3,4] but Rational[a,b]
>> is not an atom and is actually meaningless.
>> I think most people would agree that we would like all the numbers
>> 1.2,3/4 and 5+6I to be treated "in the same way" by various
>> structured operations that accept level specifications, such as like
>> Map, Apply  etc. This is indeed the case. Consider
>> In[2]:=
>> Map[g, ls, -1]
>> Out[2]=
>> {g[1], g[2], g[3/4], g[5 + 6*I], g[Rational[g[a], g[b]]]}
>> You can see the difference between the treatment of the atomic
>> Rational[3,4] (or Complex[5,6]) and non-atomic Rational[a,b]. This
>> and similar reasons justify treating Rational[3,4] and Complex[5,6]
>> as atoms. This is a quite different issue from the one whether
>> rationals or complex numbers are in some mathematical sense "atoms"
>> or not. A case can be made both for the "yes" and the "no" answer,
>> but it has nothing to do with the reason why in Mathematica
>> Rational[2,3] and Complex[5,6] are atoms.
>> Andrzej Kozlowski
>> On 16 Feb 2005, at 20:36, Murray Eisenberg wrote:
>>> The manipulations below are precisely what's so confusing about
>>> Rational
>>> objects (and Complex objects) being atoms.  If
>>>
>>>    1/2 /. Rational[x_, 2] -> Rational[x, 7]
>>>
>>> works, then why not the following?
>>>
>>>    Part[Rational[1, 2], 2]
>>>
>>> I can "believe" that integers and reals (and maybe strings) are
>>> atoms;
>>> but believing that rationals and complex numbers are atoms is a hard
>>> thing to swallow!
>>>
>>> This has always bothered me -- and hence given me trouble trying to,
>>> um,
>>> rationalize this to students when I've taught Mathematica.
>>>
>>>
>>> Scott Hemphill wrote:
>>>
>>>> DrBob <drbob at bigfoot.com> writes:
>>>>
>>>>
>>>>> That explains it, but only in the sense that "things fall down" is
>>>>> a theory of gravity. Why should Rationals be atomic, for goodness
>>>>> sake? And how did I use Mathematica all this time without hearing
>>>>>
>>>>> Sigh...
>>>>
>>>>
>>>>
>>>>
>>>> In[1]:= FullForm[1/2]
>>>>
>>>> Out[1]//FullForm= Rational[1, 2]
>>>>
>>>> In[2]:= 1/2 /. Rational[x_,2] -> Rational[x,7]
>>>>
>>>>         1
>>>> Out[2]= -
>>>>         7
>>>>
>>>> Scott
>>>
>>>
>>> --
>>> Murray Eisenberg                     murray at math.umass.edu
>>> Mathematics & Statistics Dept.
>>> Lederle Graduate Research Tower      phone 413 549-1020 (H)
>>> University of Massachusetts                413 545-2859 (W)
>>> 710 North Pleasant Street            fax   413 545-1801
>>> Amherst, MA 01003-9305
>>>
>>>
>
> --
> Murray Eisenberg                     murray at math.umass.edu
> Mathematics & Statistics Dept.
> Lederle Graduate Research Tower      phone 413 549-1020 (H)
> University of Massachusetts                413 545-2859 (W)
> 710 North Pleasant Street            fax   413 545-1801
> Amherst, MA 01003-9305

```

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