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Re: Self referring function

  • To: mathgroup at
  • Subject: [mg2426] Re: Self referring function
  • From: rubin at (Paul A. Rubin)
  • Date: Sun, 5 Nov 1995 16:07:01 -0500
  • Organization: Michigan State University

In article <479b5h$j5n at>,
   mvyver at (Mark Van de Vyver) wrote:
->I've run into the following weird (well to me at least) function which
->appears in a module.
->I'm still working through Maeder's Programming in MMA (2nd Ed.) and 
->seen an explanation/example yet, or I've missed it!
->The set up is:
->Module[ {input1, input2, a=x[], b=y[]},
->        f[input1_, input2_] := f[input1, input2] = If[input1==c, g[], 
->                Max[ {a, b}.{f[ input1, input2+1 ], f[ input1+1, input2+1
->]}, g[] ] ];
->        res=f[0, 0];
->        Clear[ f ];
->        res ];
->I'll point out that everyhting works, but the fact that f[] is defined in
->terms of itself I found a bit weird.
->Could someone point me to a text example that makes the how and why 
->In the mean time I'll keep plugging away at Maeder.
->Thanks in advance.
->   Mark Van de Vyver
->   Mark Van de Vyver
->   Department of Accounting and Finance      Phone:  (61) (09) 380-2510  
->   University of Western Australia           Fax:    (61) (09) 380-1047  
->   Nedlands   6907                           e-mail: 
mvyver at 
->   Perth

Check out Section 2.4.9 (page 258) in Wolfram's Mathematica book (2nd ed.). 
 The basic idea is that the first time f is called with a particular pair 
of arguments (say f[a,b]), the SetDelayed part of the definition is 
invoked, the If[...] expression is evaluated, and f[a,b] is Set to that 
expression.  Thereafter, if f[a,b] is called again (same arguments a and 
b), instead of recomputing the If[...] expression, Mma will find the result 
tabulated in memory and will just regurgitate it.  The validity of this in 
your context hinges on the value of f[a,b] always being the same with each 
evaluation (specifically, c never changing in your case).


* Paul A. Rubin                                  Phone: (517) 432-3509   *
* Department of Management                       Fax:   (517) 432-1111   *
* Eli Broad Graduate School of Management        Net:   RUBIN at MSU.EDU    *
* Michigan State University                                              *
* East Lansing, MI  48824-1122  (USA)                                    *
Mathematicians are like Frenchmen:  whenever you say something to them,
they translate it into their own language, and at once it is something
entirely different.                                    J. W. v. GOETHE

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