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Re: How to "soft-code" a Block?

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  • Subject: [mg113354] Re: How to "soft-code" a Block?
  • From: Leonid Shifrin <lshifr at>
  • Date: Mon, 25 Oct 2010 06:39:47 -0400 (EDT)

Hi Daniel,

Your first attempt can be modified to work:


gives a result equivalent to the hard-coded block. Your suggestion with
rules looks too complex to me in this context (I used a similar construct
but in very different situations). The way to make a really simple run-time
Block would be to wrap your declaration list in Hold:

heldvals = Hold[{a=b,c=3,b=c}];

Now, the following simple function will work:


You use it as



expr = {a,b,c}

Alternatively, the following will also work:


While I checked the results on a different PC, I typed this manually here,
so there
could be some typos.

Hope this helps.


On Sat, Oct 23, 2010 at 7:03 AM, dr DanW <dmaxwarren at> wrote:

> Hard coding a Block is easy:
> In[1]:= Block[{a = b, b = c, c = 3},
>  {a, b, c}
>  ]
> Out[1]= {3, 3, 3}
> But what if my variable list and expression are themselves values, as
> in:
> In[1]:= vals = {a = b, c = 3, b = c};
> expr = {a, b, c};
> Block[vals, expr]
> During evaluation of In[1]:= Block::lvlist: Local variable
> specification vals is not a List. >>
> Out[3]= Block[vals, expr]
> Which fails for many obvious reasons.  However, is there a way to do
> this, as in:
> In[1]:= vals = {a -> b, c -> 3, b -> c};
> expr = {a, b, c};
> RuleBlock[vals, expr]
> Out[3]= {3, 3, 3}
> How can I write RuleBlock[], which functions as a scoping construct
> and Set's the left hand sides to the right hand sides of all the Rules
> in the list?
> Why do I need this?  I am writing a modeling program which builds up a
> complicated compound expression in terms of some parameters.  The
> expression can be evaluated quickly once numerical values of the
> parameters are supplied.  I also want to be able to evaluate the
> expression for different sets of parameters.
> The obvious solution, using expr //. vals, does not always work for
> several reasons:
> * The expression contains several SparseArray's, and Replace does not
> work within SparseArray's.
> * The expression may contain other scoping structures or functions
> which do not respond to Replace unless wrapped with Evaluate every
> place it is used
> * This is a complicated, programmatically generated expression, and
> finding every instance where Replace would have to be Evaluate'd would
> be tedious (meaning: error prone)
> This would be so much easier with a scoping structure I could soft-
> code.  I have attempted this with:
> RuleBlock[r_?OptionQ, exp_] :=
>   Block[
>    Evaluate[r[[All, 1]]],
>    Evaluate[r /. Rule -> Set];
>    exp
>    ]];
> Which seems to work most of the time, but has failed me for reasons
> that I cannot explain on some occasions.  I can't come up with a
> simple example that demonstrates this failure.
> Whenever I work this hard on something this low-level in Mathematica,
> it usually means that there is an obvious solution I missed, or a
> feature in Mathematica I am unaware of.  I have struggled with this
> one for many years and have used various band-aids, but I am tired of
> it and want to have a robust solution that works all the time.
> Any suggestions?
> Regards,
> Daniel

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