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MathGroup Archive 2007

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Re: Difficulties with Complex-Modulus Series

  • To: mathgroup at
  • Subject: [mg72730] Re: Difficulties with Complex-Modulus Series
  • From: Jean-Marc Gulliet <jeanmarc.gulliet at>
  • Date: Wed, 17 Jan 2007 06:08:34 -0500 (EST)
  • Organization: The Open University, Milton Keynes, UK
  • References: <eohtrs$q48$>

carlos at wrote:
> Say I have  r = (2*I+x)/(2*I-x),  in which x is real and nonnegative.
> Series[r,{x,0,4}]  and  Series[r,{x,Infinity,4}]   work as expected.
> Introduce now  R=Abs[r] and try the same:
> Series[R,{x,0,4}]  and  Series[R,{x,Infinity,4}]
> Results are now "contaminated" with Abs'[-1], Abs''[-1], etc,
> I dont understand the presence of those derivatives.
> Anybody can explain the reason?  (I teach students that the
> derivative of a constant is zero, but perhaps that has changed
> with the new year)  BTW it would be nice to say
> Series[R,{x,0,4}, x>=0]  or Series[R,{x,0,4}, R>=0]  etc
> if that would get rid of the garbage,  but Mathematica 5
> does not allow Assumptions in Series. Note BTW that R=1 for
> any x, so the R series are in fact trivial to any order.

Hi Carlos,

What version of Mathematica and system platform were you using when you 
performed your tests?

I ask because I have been unsuccessful in my attempts to get any 
derivatives of the function *Abs*.

r = (2*I + x)/(2*I - x);
R = Abs[r];
Series[R, {x, 0, 4}]
Series[R, {x, Infinity, 4}]

5.2 for Microsoft Windows (June 20, 2005)

     2 I + x
     2 I - x

     2 I + x
     2 I - x

As we can see, both calls of the *Series* function only returned the 
callee function.

Now, the built-in Mathematica function *Abs* is meant to work with 
numeric argument only: "Abs[z] is left unevaluated if z is not a numeric 
quantity [1]." Since r is not a numeric expression, the Abs[r] is left 
untouched and especially there is no attempt to simplify or transform r.



The closest thing to your result I could get is by differentiating R 
w.r.t. x

D[R, x]

     1       2 I + x         2 I + x
(------- + ----------) Abs'[-------]
  2 I - x            2       2 I - x
            (2 I - x)

Substituting a numeric value for x, we get

% /. x -> 2

-(-) Abs'[-I]

The above result should have been zero. If we nudge Mathematica to 
simplify the result, we get ride of the derivative of a constant 
(possibly evaluated to one) but still have some value with a change of sign.



Is this a bug or a feature, I don't know: at this point, I just gave up!

Best regards,


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