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What does & mean?

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  • Subject: [mg107050] What does & mean?
  • From: Michael Knudsen <micknudsen at>
  • Date: Mon, 1 Feb 2010 06:14:23 -0500 (EST)


I have recently bought Mathematica, and I have a really tough time
getting started. I'm reading the various documents found under
"Complete Documentation" at the Mathematica homepage, but it doesn't
feel like the right place to start.

For example, I'm now trying to solve some simple differential
equations, and the documentation provides the following example:

A = {{4, -6}, {1,-1}};

X[t_] = {x[t], y[t]};
system = MapThread[#1 == #2 &, {X'[t], A.X[t]}];

sol = DSolve[system, {x,y}, t]

However, there is no explanation of how & works here (and it isn't in
the MapThread documentation either). Where should one start reading in
order to understand basic constructs like this? This particular
example is really nasty, since & is generally ignored by search

Michael Knudsen

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