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Use of delayed assignment, :=, with a list

  • To: mathgroup at
  • Subject: [mg91747] Use of delayed assignment, :=, with a list
  • From: phillman5 <PHILLMAN5 at>
  • Date: Sun, 7 Sep 2008 05:35:08 -0400 (EDT)

I use simple 2x2 matrixes for each item in a optical train to get the
over all 2x2 matrix. The four elements are a, b, c, d, and I can
assign them easily in one step.

{{a, b},{c, d}} = any  2x2 matrix

however some times the rhs has variables, so I'd like to use an
delayed assignment

{{a, b},{c, d}} := any  2x2 matrix

this does not work, Mathematica says the two lists are not the same
shape.  In particular:

{{a, b},{c, d}} := {{1, zomeasure}, {-(1/f), 1 - zomeasure/f}}

where f and zomeasure are variables (maybe not even defined yet).
Mathematica says the lists are not the same shape, but if I use an
assignment operator there is no problem.  I am not completely
convinced it is a mere Mathematica notation misunderstanding on my
part because a simpler 2x2 assignment:

{{q, g}, {h, k}} := {{f, w}, {r, t}}

works.  (Mathematica does respond {{Null, Null}, {Null, Null}}, but g
does have a delayed assignment of w.

Is there an easier way to do a delayed assignment than each member, a,
b, c, d individually

tempmatrix := {{1, zomeasure}, {-(1/f), 1 - zomeasure/f}}
a := tempmatrix[[1]][[1]]
b :=  . . .

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