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Topic: is Head[] part of the expression?
Replies: 9   Last Post: Jun 20, 2012 3:49 AM

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Nasser Abbasi

Posts: 5,605
Registered: 2/7/05
is Head[] part of the expression?
Posted: Jun 15, 2012 3:42 AM
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I am now in a state of little confusion about when Head[]
of a list (the value at index 0) is 'looked' at when
passing a list to a function to process the list.

For example, below I have a list, and then Position[]
is passed this list to find the nonzero elements in
the list.

Depending on the test for zero used, different
results show up. Sometime the Head[] of the list
is examined (because I get zero index) and sometime
it is not.

So, my question, what is the rule-of-thumb on this?
I am making a cheat sheet for Mathematica, and
wanted to make a simple rules to remember.


-- case 1 -----
v={1,0,3};
Position[v,x_/;x!=0]

Out[68]= {{1},{3}} (*what I expected*)
-----------------------

--- case 2 --------------------
Position[v,x_/;Not[PossibleZeroQ[x]]]

Out[69]= {{0},{1},{3}}
----------------------------

----- case 3 ---------------------
Position[v,x_/;Not[SameQ[x,0]]]

Out[70]= {{0},{1},{3},{}}
--------------------------------

---- case 4--------------
Position[v, x_ /; Not[SameQ[x, 0]], 2]

Out[71]= {{0},{1},{3}}
---------------------------

thanks,

--Nasser




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