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Re: Re: Re: Re: Mathematica language issues

  • To: mathgroup at
  • Subject: [mg53157] Re: [mg53142] Re: [mg53112] Re: [mg53050] Re: Mathematica language issues
  • From: Andrzej Kozlowski <akoz at>
  • Date: Mon, 27 Dec 2004 06:41:27 -0500 (EST)
  • References: <> <>
  • Sender: owner-wri-mathgroup at

I am sure Fred will provide his own answers, but on the principle "the 
more the merrier" (especially at Christmas) , I thought I would 
contribute my own comments:

On 25 Dec 2004, at 18:00, DrBob wrote:

> Fred,
> At several points you made statements I simply don't understand. The 
> examples clarify what you meant for the most part, but I'm still 
> wondering, so here goes:
>>> Unevaluated is meant to pass unevaluated arguments to a function
>>> body and as such it works perfectly. No one in practice is interested
>>> in (1+1)*Unevaluated[2+2].
> Do you mean a Function body? If not, Times in that example qualifies 
> as a function body. (I think.)

One uses Unevaluated to prevent a rule from being applied. This means 
that a rational person will only do it when he knows there is a rule 
that he does not want to be used. There is no normal situation where 
one would use Unevaluated and there was no specific evaluation one 
wanted to prevent.

>>> If now no rules for f can be applied, Mathematica returns the result
>>> so far, with Unevaluated wrapped again around the labeled arguments.
> So it's only rules FOR F that matter? Does the distributive property 
> count as a rule for Times?

You do not need Unevaluated to prevent the distributive rule being used 
because it is never used automatically. You need to apply something 
like Distribute etc.

>>> If a rule for f can be applied, the administration of arguments
>>> that come from Unevaluated is completely skipped.
> I don't get any meaning from the phrase "administration of arguments".

I think Fred meant that the rule is applied to the arguments "as 
given", without changing them or rearranging in any way.

>>> I first formulate my assumption (only WRI and maybe a few others
>>> know if I am right!)
> Even if your assumption is correct (as I suspect it is), this 
> statement doesn't really square with a later claim that there's no 
> mystery.

A certian mystery exists even when we have full documentation, because 
even that is only a description of expected behaviour of Mathematica 
and does not include the actual mechanism behind the behaviour (of 
which at most a vague idea is provided). Everything else requires the 
source code. If Fred's "speculations" came form an employee of WRI they 
could have the status of "documentation" without changing a word. The 
mystery here is simply a question of authoritativeness.

Andrzej Kozlowski
Chiba, Japan

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