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maxima function

  • To: mathgroup at
  • Subject: [mg69981] maxima function
  • From: dimmechan at
  • Date: Thu, 28 Sep 2006 06:17:47 -0400 (EDT)

I know this old and classic one (since 1992 and a Mathematica
programming competition question as I read!) but your answers
will help me to get more insight of how pattern matching works.

Anyway let me consider the problem of finding a function which starts
with a list of numbers and returns the sublist of the numbers bigger
than all previous ones frrom the given list.

Here is one alternative using pattern matching

maxima1[(lis_)?ListQ] := lis //. {a___, x_, y_, c___} /; OrderedQ[{y,
x}] :> {a, x, c}

and here is another using functional programming

maxima2[(lis_)?ListQ] := Union[Rest[FoldList[Max[#1, #2] & , 0, lis]]]

The difference in times is considerable for big lists

dat = Table[Random[Integer, {0, 9}], {10000}];



Executing the following commands

Trace[maxima1[lst], OrderedQ]
Trace[maxima2[lst], Max]

I get an idea of why maxima1 is much slower. The pattern matched
is slowly because it applies repeatedly transformation rules.

Short[Trace[maxima1[lst], OrderedQ], 2]


Is it a way to modify maxima1 so that to avoid the appearance of e.g.
again and again which is the reason for the more needing time?

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