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Topic: (amusement) surprising result from PossibleZeroQ
Replies: 0

 Peter Pein Posts: 1,147 Registered: 5/4/05
(amusement) surprising result from PossibleZeroQ
Posted: May 4, 2013 3:17 AM

Dear group,

playing around with distributions, I experienced one of these "that's
strange!"-moments.

Take the quantile of a Pareto distribution

test = Quantile[ParetoDistribution[k, a], q];
InputForm@test

ConditionalExpression[Piecewise[{{k/(1 - q)^a^(-1), q < 1}}, Infinity],
0 <= q <= 1]

I thought the nesting of ConditionalExpression and Piecewise could
simplify and tried every possible combination of 4 functions; to no avail:

Block[{f = {Refine, Simplify, FullSimplify, PiecewiseExpand}},
Length[funcs =
Composition @@@ Flatten[Tuples[f, #] & /@ Range[Length@f], 1]]
]
340

DeleteCases[Through[funcs[test]], test]
{}

My expectation has been sth. like

test2 = Piecewise[{{k/(1 - q)^(1/a), 0 <= q < 1},
{Infinity, q == 1}},
Indeterminate];

and

FullSimplify[test2 - test] // InputForm
ConditionalExpression[0, 0 <= q <= 1]

looks good. But compare this to

PossibleZeroQ[test2 - test] // InputForm
ConditionalExpression[False, 0 <= q <= 1]

I decided to classify that as "funny" :)

MemberQ[Attributes@PossibleZeroQ, Listable]
True

Have fun with or without Mathematica!

Peter