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Unwanted Recursion

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  • Subject: [mg120021] Unwanted Recursion
  • From: Casorati <casorati at>
  • Date: Wed, 6 Jul 2011 05:39:33 -0400 (EDT)

I'm trying to define an anti-commutative algebra in Mathematica.
Here I will show only a minimal example to demonstrate my point.
The product of two elements a^b should be give by p[a,b] so I
make p flat:

SetAttributes[p, {Flat}]

But now I want p[a] to reduce to a.
Such a  rule would make other rules much simpler but when I define

p[a_] := a

the expression p[a] causes an infinite recursion. I get the message

$IterationLimit::itlim: Iteration limit of 4096 exceeded.

I have similar problems with p[]:=1 which makes mathematica puts
ones into the p : p[a]=p[a,a]=p[1,1,...,a] .

How can I solve this problem?

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