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Re: letrec/named let

  • To: mathgroup at
  • Subject: [mg56740] Re: [mg56707] letrec/named let
  • From: Andrzej Kozlowski <akoz at>
  • Date: Thu, 5 May 2005 06:01:22 -0400 (EDT)
  • References: <>
  • Sender: owner-wri-mathgroup at

On 4 May 2005, at 13:33, Daniel Roy wrote:

> hi.  i'm a lisper/schemer and i'm working with mathematica.  i
> appreciate the lisp-like nature of mathematica but i can't seem to
> easily replicate some of the functionality i like which is forcing me 
> to
> write ugly side-effect code.
> for instance, how do you do the equivalent of a "named let" in
> mathematica (NOTE! I know i can take the max of a list, this is just a
> simple example of a named let)
> (define (max-of-list lst)
>   (let loop ((lst (cdr lst))
>              (best (car lst)))
>     (if (null? lst)
>         best
>         (loop (cdr lst)
>               (if (> (car lst) best)
>                   (car lst)
>                   best)))))
> (max-of-list '(1 2 3 4 5 2))
>> 5
> Here is a mathematica function to compress a sequence numerically.
> here is one attempt using functions where i pass the function to
> itself... there has to be a better way
> CompressNumericalSequence[S_] := Module[
>       {C = Function[{C, R, i},
>             If[i < Max[R],
>               If[Length[Position[R, i]] == 0,
>                 C[C, (If[# > i, # - 1, #]) & /@ R, i],
>                 C[C, R, i + 1]],
>               R]]},
>       C[C, S, 1]];
> CompressNumericalSequence[{10, 2, 4, 7, 8}]
> {5, 1, 2, 3, 4}
> Also, is it possible to do letrec in mathematica?  (essentially, i know
> i can do recursive function declarations at the top level... my 
> question
> is whether i can do them at lower levels?)...
> thanks, dan

Unfortunately I am out of practice with Lisp. Let, I think, corresponds 
to Mathematica's With. I don't think there is anything that corresponds 
to named let or letrec but  they are  not needed. The reason is that 
the similarity between Mathematica and Lisp is very deceptive. 
Mathematica's syntax, or more correctly one part of its syntax does 
indeed resemble Lisp but the "internals" of the two languages are quite 
different. (The most important difference is that Mathematica's lists 
are arrays and Lisp style linked lists have to be explicitly formed and 
are not very easy to use.) You can program (with some effort) in 
Mathematica in Lisp style just as you can program in C style, but if 
you do so your programs will usually be not very efficient and in some 
cases unmanageably inefficient. I know because many years ago when I 
started to program in Mathematica I also attempted to program in Lisp 
Actually your program CompressNumericalSequence performs better than I 
would have expected but almost any program written  in a more natural 
Mathematica style will outperform it. Here is a very casual attempt:

CompressNumericalSequence1[s_] := First[NestWhile[With[{a = First[#], b 
Last[#]}, If[FreeQ[a, b], {a /. x_ /;
            x > b :> x - 1, b}, {a, b + 1}]] &, {s, 1}, Last[#] <
           Max[First[#]] &]]



{3.84 Second,Null}


{11.66 Second,Null}



Andrzej Kozlowski
Chiba, Japan

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