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Re: Package to 'graft' Lists onto Matrices

  • To: mathgroup at
  • Subject: [mg87740] Re: [mg87667] Package to 'graft' Lists onto Matrices
  • From: Murray Eisenberg <murray at>
  • Date: Wed, 16 Apr 2008 05:06:12 -0400 (EDT)
  • Organization: Mathematics & Statistics, Univ. of Mass./Amherst
  • References: <>
  • Reply-to: murray at

Strictly speaking, there is no such thing as a matrix in Mathematica, 
despite there being a function MatrixQ to test whether an object that 
"can represent a matrix".  Rather, one can represents a matrix as a list 
of lists, where the latter individual lists -- all having the same 
length for a genuine matrix -- represent the rows of the matrix.  (Or 
one can create an Array.)

Here's an example of such a list:

      m = { {1,2,3,4}, {5,6,7,8} };

This should not be confused with a special formatted form that you get 
by acting upon m with MatrixForm:

   mat = MatrixForm[m];

So what's wrong about using Append to join new rows to the matrix?

     m = Append[m, {a,b,c,d}];

What simpler thing could you possibly want to "graft" a new row to the 
bottom of the matrix?  (Or to use Prepend to graft the new row at the 
top of the existing matrix.)

And, to graft a new column to the left side of a matrix:

    m = Join[m, {{Sin},{Cos},{Tan}},2];

So despite the example in ref/Append, no MapThread is required to adjoin 
a new column -- provided one is willing to first make that column a 
genuine matrix, as I did above with the double nesting in

Certainly joining an additional column now in Mathematica 6 is not as 
direct as it was in earlier versions where, after loading the package 
LinearAlgebra`MatrixManipulation`, you could just use AppendRows:

    a = Partition[Range[8],4];
    AppendRows[a, {{Exp}, {Log}}]

Of course you can still load that legacy package and use AppendRows, but 
who knows how much longer that package will be around?

Notice that, even with AppendRows, you still have to create an actual 
matrix in order to stick new columns on -- just as you have to do with 
Join[..., ..., 2].  (At least you can avoid worrying about "level".)

Should it be simpler.  I'm not sure there's a good way without breaking 
something in the fundamental structure of Mathematica, or without 
introducing a new, special construct of a matrix.  But that would 
complicate lots of other things, I think.

robert prince-wright wrote:
> I've been looking at Join[ ], Append[ ], Insert[ ], etc. and wonder if someone has written a package that allows an Mathematica user to add Lists as rows and columns to form a new matrix.
>   It seems a little daft that that you need to use MapThread and Append to simply graft a row onto an existing matrix! 
>   Am I missing some new functionality?
> Robert Prince-Wright
> Houston
> TX, 77006

Murray Eisenberg                     murray at
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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