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Re: Holding arguments of a family of functions

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  • Subject: [mg112254] Re: Holding arguments of a family of functions
  • From: Leonid Shifrin <lshifr at>
  • Date: Tue, 7 Sep 2010 02:00:12 -0400 (EDT)


Indeed, rather hard to do. The short answer seems to be that no, you can't,
if you insist on SubValues-based definition. However, the following will
presumably do what you want (I just made up some example definitions),
in terms of the syntax of function calls at least:

 SetAttributes[ff, HoldAll];
 f[x_, y_] :=
  Function[z, ff[x, y, z], HoldAll] /;
   MemberQ[Stack[_], HoldForm[f[_, _][args___]]];
 Evaluate[f[1, 2][y_]] := y^2;
 Evaluate[f[1, 3][y_]] := y^3;
 Evaluate[f[2, 1][y_]] := y^4;
 Evaluate[f[1, 1][y_]] := Head[Unevaluated[y]];

In[93]:= f[1, 2]

Out[93]= f[1, 2]

In[88]:= f[1, 2][t]

Out[88]= t^2

In[94]:= f[1, 3][t]

Out[94]= t^3

In[95]:= f[2, 1][t]

Out[95]= t^4

In[96]:= f[1, 1][Print["*"]]

Out[96]= Print

The last input proves that the argument is held.

The reference to evaluation stack was needed to emulate the behavior when
the last argument
is not supplied (see the first input). Just keep in mind that this is still
cheating - it is an emulation.
This may look like SubValues in the way you call the function, but the real
definitions here are not

In[97]:= SubValues[f]

Out[97]= {}

As far as I know, SubValues do not  allow to keep "second" and other sets of
arguments held,
just by the way the evaluation sequence is set up. But, heads are evaluated
before anything else, and this
is what I exploited. Perhaps, a little more typing than you would like, but
I don't know of a shorter
way to get it. One more thing: you may want to expose ff to the top level,
or just remove the Module,
to be able to easily clear it, if accumulation of definitions and associated
with this memory consumption
becomes an issue. Just clearing <f> will not be enough  in this case - my
solution in its present form potentially leaks memory (although in lots of
cases this will not be an issue).

Hope this helps.


On Mon, Sep 6, 2010 at 12:14 PM, magma <maderri2 at> wrote:

> I am building a family of functions, parametrized by 2 variables.
> These functions take one argument, so i have these definitions:
> f[1,3][y_]:=....
> f[1,2][y_]:=....
> f[1,3][y_]:=...
> f[2,1][y_]:=....
> etc. As you see it's a case of subvalues being defined.
> The problem is that I also require that the y argument should be held.
> That is the functions should have something like
> Attributes[f[m,n]]={HoldFirst};
> But this is not acceptable to Mathematica, since Attributes only takes
> symbols.
> Even using
> Attributes[f]={HoldAll};
> does not seem to work.
> So , how can i keep the argument y held?

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