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Access Matrix Element in Mathematica

  1. Nov 20, 2007 #1
    [SOLVED] Access Matrix Element in Mathematica

    Alright, so in Mathematica you define a matrix by saying A = {{a11,12,...},{21,a22,...}} for whatever matrix you are making. How do you access a particular element of that matrix?

    Argh, Matlab is so much better.
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 20, 2007 #2
    Yep, Mathematica is the crappiest language I've ever come across, and I've worked with more than a few. :)

    Use Extract, e.g.:

    Extract[Extract[A,1],2] = a12

    If possible, use IDL, Matlab, R, Octave, SciLab, Python with NumPy and SciPy or anything else. I'd rather use an abacus than use Mathematica :). Good luck with your work.

    Physically Incorrect
  4. Nov 20, 2007 #3


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    If I recall correctly, L[[x]] extracts the x-th element of a list.

    If you really don't want to type A[[x]][[y]], you can always define a function:

    A[x_, y_] := A[[x]][[y]]

    and then you should be able to use A[x, y] to index your matrix. (I think you can use the same letter A for both these purposes. If it fails or you find it confusing, then just rename the function to something else.

    You could even do a generic

    Get[A_, x_, y_] := A[[x]][[y]]

    that takes the matrix as an argument. Then you'd call

    Get[A, x, y]

    Matlab was designed for the sole purpose of manipulating matrices -- therefore it should be no surprise that it's more convenient to use Matlab instead of Mathematica for manipulating matrices. :wink:

    Mathematica isn't a bad language: the catch is that it's a functional language, which takes a bit of adjustment if you've never programmed in a functional language before.
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2007
  5. Nov 20, 2007 #4
    I guess it's a matter of taste. But I have worked with LISP & Haskell. Can't say they've changed my opinion about Mathematica :smile:

    Physically Incorrect
  6. Nov 20, 2007 #5
    Got it. Thanks guys, I would have never sorted through mathematica help well enough to figure this out.
  7. Apr 11, 2011 #6
    Re: [SOLVED] Access Matrix Element in Mathematica

    It realy isn't that difficult - you can use Part[A, i, j]=aij
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