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# explain this function to me, lambda confusion

i have a rough understanding of lambda but so far only have found use
for it once(in tkinter when passing lambda as an argument i could
circumvent some tricky stuff).
what is the point of the following function?

return lambda x,inc=n: x+inc

if i do addn(5) it returns

return lambda x,inc=n: x+inc

<function <lambdaat 0x01D81830>
ok? so what do i write to make it actually do something. and is the
inc=n necessary i cant do x+n?
Jun 27 '08 #1
21 1872
and what si the diffrence here:

g = lambda x=5:x*x
g = lambda x:x*x

the first was a mistake to write but it worked
and the x=5 seems to be completely ignored. why? it has no effect at
all?
Jun 27 '08 #2
On 7 Maj, 23:47, globalrev <skanem...@yaho o.sewrote:
and what si the diffrence here:

g = lambda x=5:x*x
g = lambda x:x*x

the first was a mistake to write but it worked
and the x=5 seems to be completely ignored. why? it has no effect at
all?
ah wait now i see it has a default kind of then. g() returns 25 while
g(8) returns 64.
Jun 27 '08 #3
On 7 mai, 23:38, globalrev <skanem...@yaho o.sewrote:
i have a rough understanding of lambda but so far only have found use
for it once(in tkinter when passing lambda as an argument i could
circumvent some tricky stuff).
what is the point of the following function?

return lambda x,inc=n: x+inc
It returns a function that accept one argument and return the result
of the addition of this argument with the argument passed to addn.

FWIW, Python's lambda is just a shortcut to create a very simple
function, and the above code is canonically written as:

return n + x
if i do addn(5) it returns
(snip)
<function <lambdaat 0x01D81830>

ok? so what do i write to make it actually do something.
=6
=7

=43
and is the
inc=n necessary i cant do x+n?
In this case, it's not. This version does exactly the same thing
AFAICT:

return lambda x: x+n

Jun 27 '08 #4
En Wed, 07 May 2008 18:38:15 -0300, globalrev <sk*******@yaho o.se>
escribió:
i have a rough understanding of lambda but so far only have found use
for it once(in tkinter when passing lambda as an argument i could
circumvent some tricky stuff).
what is the point of the following function?

return lambda x,inc=n: x+inc
lambda is just a shortcut for defining a function without a name.
The above code is the same as:

def inner(x, inc=n):
return x+inc
return inner

It should be clear now that addn returns a function. addn is a "function
factory": builds functions by request. You ask it "give me a function that
if i do addn(5) it returns
<function <lambdaat 0x01D81830>
If you try the other version, you would get:

<function inner at 0x00A3B970>

It's the same thing, except that lambda has no name.
ok? so what do i write to make it actually do something.
-8
and is the
inc=n necessary i cant do x+n?
Yes, you can, but there is a subtle difference that's hard to explain, and
in this case it's absolutely irrelevant. Using inc=n "does the right
thing" as it's a bit more efficient too.

--
Gabriel Genellina

Jun 27 '08 #5
On May 8, 7:38 am, globalrev <skanem...@yaho o.sewrote:
i have a rough understanding of lambda but so far only have found use
for it once(in tkinter when passing lambda as an argument i could
circumvent some tricky stuff).
what is the point of the following function?

return lambda x,inc=n: x+inc

if i do addn(5) it returns

return lambda x,inc=n: x+inc

<function <lambdaat 0x01D81830>

ok? so what do i write to make it actually do something. and is the
inc=n necessary i cant do x+n?
Here are some notes I have written for our local wiki on lambdas in
python. I hope you will find them illuminating, and I would welcome
any suggestions for improving them.

I have just cut and pasted from our wiki, so the fancy formatting has
been lost.

-----

Python lambdas.

The on-line documentation for python lambdas is not very illuminating.
Here¡¯s my take and my first simple examples.

I would describe a lambda as a parameterised function template. If you
dig, the docs call lambdas anonymous functions not bound to a name.
There is a bit of resemblance to C macros.

Here is a simple lambda that implements an exclusive or:
>>def XOR(x,y) :
return lambda : ( ( x ) and not ( y ) ) or ( not ( x ) and ( y ) )
(Because of the resemblance to C macros, I have been cautious and
written the lambda with lots of parentheses.)

To use this in later code, we define instances of the lambda with
specific function arguments.
>>topping = XOR( cream, icecream)
sauce = XOR( tomato, BBQ )

We now have two ¡°functions¡±, topping() and sauce() which we can use
later to test flags.
>>cream = True
icecream = False
print topping()
True
So in the definition of the XOR lambda, think of x and y as the
parameters of the function template, and XOR as the function name
placeholder.

By putting in specific objects for the parameters (here the boolean
variables cream and icecream for example), we produce a specific
instance of the lambda, topping() which looks like a function with no
arguments.

If we use different objects for the parameters (say tomato and BBQ)
then we get a different function, sauce.

Here is another simple lambda, (template) to set up three new

#--# Lambda function to check that a flag is only on when the other
two are off. #--#
def TFF(x,y,z) :
return lambda : ( ( x ) and not ( y ) and not ( z ) )

options.DeleteA ction )
DeleteOnly = TFF( options.DeleteA ction, options.AddActi on,
options.Replace Action )
ReplaceOnly = TFF( options.Replace Action, options.AddActi on,
options.DeleteA ction )

if( not (DeleteOnly() or AddOnly() or ReplaceOnly() ) ):
print "Error: Exactly one of [ --add | --replace | --delete ]
allowed. "
parser.print_he lp()
exit

The examples above give function instances that have no arguments,
once the parameters of the lambda are chosen.

For a function template with arguments and parameters, we add the
arguments on the 2nd line. Parameters are in the first line.

The Gaussian distribution is exp(-(x-¥ì)©÷/ 2¥ò©÷ ) / ¡î(4 ¥ð¥ò). While we
can think of this as a function of three variables, we normally view
it as a family of functions of a single variable x, parameterised by ¥ì
and ¥ò. Selecting fixed values for ¥ì and ¥ò gives us a single
distribution for x.
>>import math
def Gaussian( mu, sigma ) :
... return lambda x : math.exp( - (x-mu)**2 / 2 /sigma**2 ) /
math.sqrt (2 * math.pi *sigma **2 )
...
>>>
and here are some instances:
>>Normal = Gaussian (0, 1)
HeightDistr ib = (170, 20)
which we later use as
>>y = Normal( 0.5 )
0.3520653267642 9952
>>x = 192
HeightDistrib (x)
0.0073381331586 869951

I recommend defining the instances of the lambda right after the
lambda. If you define it in code far removed from the definition of
the lambda, it looks like an assignment, so comment it.
Jun 27 '08 #6
On May 8, 10:34 am, andrej.panj...@ climatechange.q ld.gov.au wrote:
>
>HeightDistri b = (170, 20)
That should be
>HeightDistri b = Gaussian(170, 20)
Jun 27 '08 #7

<an************ @climatechange. qld.gov.auwrote in message

| On May 8, 7:38 am, globalrev <skanem...@yaho o.sewrote:
| I would describe a lambda as a parameterised function template. If you
| dig, the docs call lambdas anonymous functions not bound to a name.

A lambda expression is an abbreviation of a simple def statement:
f = lambda args: expression
def f(args): return expression
have exactly the same effect except that f.func_name will be the less
useful '<lambda>' instead of the more useful 'f'.

| There is a bit of resemblance to C macros.

Macros in C (and, I believe, some places elsewhere) are text-replacement
templates. They are markedly different from function statements. C macros
do not create C functions. Python lambda expression do create Python
function objects. Since C macros are statements, not expressions, and are
introduced by #define, similar to def, one could argue than Python def
statements are more similar to C macros.

| Here is a simple lambda that implements an exclusive or:
|
| >>def XOR(x,y) :
| >> return lambda : ( ( x ) and not ( y ) ) or ( not ( x ) and ( y ) )

def XORY(x,y):
def _xory(): x and not y or not x and y
return _xory

has the same effect. Because lambda expressions define functions, not
macros, there is no need for the protective parentheses that macros need.

Here is another simple lambda, (template) to set up three new
| functions AddOnly, DeleteOnly, and ReplaceOnly.
|
| #--# Lambda function to check that a flag is only on when the other
| two are off. #--#
| def TFF(x,y,z) :
| return lambda : ( ( x ) and not ( y ) and not ( z ) )

def TFF(x,y,z):
def _tff(x,y,z): return ( ( x ) and not ( y ) and not ( z ) )
return _tff

Same result (except for a real name in tracebacks), same usage.

| >>import math
| >>def Gaussian( mu, sigma ) :
| ... return lambda x : math.exp( - (x-mu)**2 / 2 /sigma**2 ) /
| math.sqrt (2 * math.pi *sigma **2 )

def Gaussian(mu, sigma):
def _gaussian(x): return math.exp( - (x-mu)**2 / 2 /sigma**2 ) /
math.sqrt (2 * math.pi *sigma **2 )
return _gaussian

Again, giving the returned function a name will help a bit if it raises an
exception, which is definitely possible here.

Lambda expressions are an occasional convienience, not a requirement.
Anyone who is confused by what they do should use an equivalent def

Terry Jan Reedy

Jun 27 '08 #8
an************@ climatechange.q ld.gov.au wrote:
Here is a simple lambda that implements an exclusive or:
>>>def XOR(x,y) :
return lambda : ( ( x ) and not ( y ) ) or ( not ( x ) and ( y )
)
>
(Because of the resemblance to C macros, I have been cautious and
written the lambda with lots of parentheses.)

To use this in later code, we define instances of the lambda with
specific function arguments.
>>>topping = XOR( cream, icecream)
sauce = XOR( tomato, BBQ )

We now have two *øfunctions*ñ, topping() and sauce() which we can use
later to test flags.
>>>cream = True
icecream = False
print topping()
True
No, no, no, no, no!

You have got it entirely wrong here. Your XOR function simply returns a
function which gives you the result of xoring the parameters AT THE TIME
WHEN YOU ORIGINALLY CREATED IT. I'm guessing that you had already set
cream and icecream (otherwise the call to XOR would have thrown an
exception) and at leas one was true. Try setting them both False at the
beginning:
>>cream = False
icecream = False
topping = XOR( cream, icecream)
cream = True
icecream = False
print topping()
False

Using a lambda was a completely pointless exercise here, you could have
just returned the result directly:
>>def XOR(x,y):
return x^y
>>topping = XOR(cream, icecream)
print topping
True

Same thing for your TFF function:

def TFF(x,y,z) :
return x and not y and not z

options.DeleteA ction )
DeleteOnly = TFF( options.DeleteA ction, options.AddActi on,
options.Replace Action )
ReplaceOnly = TFF( options.Replace Action, options.AddActi on,
options.DeleteA ction )

if not (DeleteOnly or AddOnly or ReplaceOnly):
print "Error: Exactly one of [ --add | --replace | --delete ]
allowed. "
parser.print_he lp()
exit

which boils down to:

if (options.AddAct ion + options.Replace Action +
options.DeleteA ction) != 1:
print "Error: ..."
Jun 27 '08 #9
On May 8, 6:11 pm, Duncan Booth <duncan.bo...@i nvalid.invalidw rote:
>
No, no, no, no, no!
Geez. Go easy.
You have got it entirely wrong here. Your XOR function simply returns a
function which gives you the result of xoring the parameters AT THE TIME
WHEN YOU ORIGINALLY CREATED IT. I'm guessing that you had already set
cream and icecream (otherwise the call to XOR would have thrown an
exception) and at leas one was true. Try setting them both False at the
beginning:
>cream = False
icecream = False
topping = XOR( cream, icecream)
cream = True
icecream = False
print topping()

False
Ok. I understand this better now. I did say I found the documentation
rather terse on this.
Using a lambda was a completely pointless exercise here, you could have
just returned the result directly:

If I try out a new language, I try to exercise those parts of the
language that are new to me. Now I saw lambdas, an interesting
structure I hadn't seen before. So I tried them out. I get to learn a
little at the same time as scripting. That was the "point". I only
get to optimise my use of a language by trying out various corners of
it.
def TFF(x,y,z) :
return x and not y and not z

options.DeleteA ction )
DeleteOnly = TFF( options.DeleteA ction, options.AddActi on,
options.Replace Action )
ReplaceOnly = TFF( options.Replace Action, options.AddActi on,
options.DeleteA ction )

if not (DeleteOnly or AddOnly or ReplaceOnly):
print "Error: Exactly one of [ --add | --replace | --delete ]
allowed. "
parser.print_he lp()
exit

which boils down to:

if (options.AddAct ion + options.Replace Action +
options.DeleteA ction) != 1:
print "Error: ..."
Indeed, there are many ways this could be done. Some are more
concise, some are more efficient. As I said, I did it the way I did
it to try out lambdas. Your way achieves the result, rather elegantly
I think, but teaches me nothing about using lambdas.

Pardon my tetchiness, but it is a little hard to receive such blunt
and inflexible replies to my posts.

Both the responses offer lambda free alternatives. That's fine, and
given the terse documentation and problems that I had understanding
them, I would agree. So what applications are lambdas suited to? I
think the parameterised function model is one.
What else?
Jun 27 '08 #10

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