MathGroup Archive 2011

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Pattern matching


Have a question regarding the applicaiton of pattern rules:

fact[4] //. {fact[n_] :> n fact[n-1], fact[0] -> 1}

This is a bug since fact[0] needs to be defined 1st, but I expected
the above to grind away idefnitely but it returned a a value 0,
instead of an infininte computation.

Can you help me understand why the above returns 0?

Thanks!


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