# Chapter 6 Operators and Flow Control

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1 Chapter 6 Operators and Flow Control 6.1. Relational and Logical Operators MATLAB has a logical data type, with the possible values 1, representing true, and 0, representing false. Logicals are produced by relational and logical operators/functions and by the functions true and false: >> a = true a = 1 >> b = false b = 0 >> c = 1 c = 1 >> whos Name Size Bytes Class a 1x1 1 logical array b 1x1 1 logical array c 1x1 8 double array Grand total is 3 elements using 10 bytes As this example shows, logicals occupy one byte, rather than the eight bytes needed by a double. MATLAB s relational operators are == equal ~= not equal < less than > greater than <= less than or equal >= greater than or equal Note that a single = denotes assignment and never a test for equality in MATLAB. Comparisons between scalars produce logical 1 if the relation is true and logical 0 if it is false. Comparisons are also defined between matrices of the same dimension 63

2 64 Operators and Flow Control and between a matrix and a scalar, the result being a matrix of logicals in both cases. For matrix matrix comparisons corresponding pairs of elements are compared, while for matrix scalar comparisons the scalar is compared with each matrix element. For example: >> A = [1 2; 3 4]; B = 2*ones(2); >> A == B >> A > To test whether arrays A and B are equal, that is, of the same size with identical elements, the expression isequal(a,b) can be used: >> isequal(a,b) 0 The function isequal is one of many useful logical functions whose names begin with is, a selection of which is listed in Table 6.1; for a full list type doc is. For example, isinf(a) returns a logical array of the same size as A containing true where the elements of A are plus or minus inf and false where they are not: >> A = [1 inf; -inf NaN]; >> isinf(a) The function isnan is particularly important because the test x == NaN always produces the result 0 (false), even if x is a NaN! (A NaN is defined to compare as unequal and unordered with everything.) Note that an array can be real in the mathematical sense, but not real as reported by isreal. For isreal(a) is true if A has no imaginary part. Mathematically, A is real if every component has zero imaginary part. How a mathematically real A is formed can determine whether it has an imaginary part or not in MATLAB. The distinction can be seen as follows: >> a = 1; >> b = complex(1,0); >> c = 1 + 0i; >> [a b c] 1 1 1

3 6.1 Relational and Logical Operators 65 Table 6.1. Selected logical is* functions. ischar Test for char array (string) isempty Test for empty array isequal Test if arrays are equal isequalwithequalnans Test if arrays are equal, treating NaNs as equal isfinite Detect finite array elements isfloat Test for floating point array (single or double) isinf Detect infinite array elements isinteger Test for integer array islogical Test for logical array isnan Detect NaN array elements isnumeric Test for numeric array (integer or floating point) isreal Test for real array isscalar Test for scalar array issorted Test for sorted vector isvector Test for vector array >> whos a b c Name Size Bytes Class a 1x1 8 double array b 1x1 16 double array (complex) c 1x1 8 double array Grand total is 3 elements using 32 bytes >> [isreal(a), isreal(b), isreal(c)] MATLAB s logical operators are & logical and && logical and (for scalars) with short-circuiting logical or logical or (for scalars) with short-circuiting ~ logical not xor logical exclusive or all true if all elements of vector are nonzero any true if any element of vector is nonzero Like the relational operators, the &,, and ~ operators produce matrices of logical 0s and 1s when one of the arguments is a matrix. When applied to a vector, the all function returns 1 if all the elements of the vector are nonzero and 0 otherwise. The any function is defined in the same way, with any replacing all. Examples: >> x = [-1 1 1]; y = [1 2-3];

4 66 Operators and Flow Control >> x>0 & y> >> x>0 y> >> xor(x>0,y>0) >> any(x>0) 1 >> all(x>0) 0 Note thatxor must be called as a function: xor(a,b). Theand,or, andnot operators and the relational operators can also be called in functional form as and(a,b),..., eq(a,b),... (see help ops). The operators && and are special in two ways. First, they work with scalar expressions only, and should be used in preference to & and for scalar expressions. Continuing the previous example, compare >> any(x>0) && any(y>0) 1 >> x>0 && y>0??? Operands to the and && operators must be convertible to logical scalar values. The second feature of these double barreled operators is that they short-circuit the evaluation of the logical expressions, where possible. In the compound expression expr1 && expr2, if expr1 evaluates to false then expr2 is not evaluated. Similarly, in expr1 expr2, if expr1 evaluates to true then expr2 is not evaluated. Shortcircuiting saves computation, but it also enables warnings and errors to be avoided. For example, a statement beginning if x > 0 && sin(1/x) < 0.5 avoids a division by zero. The precedence of arithmetic, relational, and logical operators is summarized in Table 6.2 (which is based on the information provided by help precedence). For operators of equal precedence MATLAB evaluates from left to right. Precedence can be overridden by using parentheses. Note, in particular, that and has higher precedence than or, so a logical expression of the form x y & z is equivalent to

5 6.1 Relational and Logical Operators 67 Table 6.2. Operator precedence. Precedence level Operator 1 (highest) Parentheses () 2 Transpose (. ), power (.^), complex conjugate transpose ( ), matrix power (^) 3 Unary plus (+), unary minus (-), logical negation (~) 4 Multiplication (.*), right division (./), left division (.\), matrix multiplication (*), matrix right division (/), matrix left division (\) 5 Addition (+), subtraction (-) 6 Colon operator (:) 7 Less than (<), less than or equal to (<=), greater than (>), greater than or equal to (>=), equal to (==), not equal to (~=) 8 Logical and (&) 9 Logical or ( ) 10 Logical short-circuit and (&&) 11 (lowest) Logical short-circuit or ( ) x (y & z) It is good practice to insert parentheses to make the intention completely clear. For matrices, all returns a row vector containing the result of all applied to each column. Therefore all(all(a==b)) is another way of testing equality of the matrices A and B. The any function works in the corresponding way. Thus, for example, any(any(a==b)) has the value 1 if A and B have any equal elements and 0 otherwise. Alternatives are all(a(:)==b(:)) and any(a(:)==b(:)). The find command returns the indices corresponding to the nonzero elements of a vector. For example, >> x = [ inf 0]; >> f = find(x) f = The result of find can then be used to extract just those elements of the vector: >> x(f) Inf With x as above, we can use find to obtain the finite elements of x, >> x(find(isfinite(x))) and to replace negative components of x by zero:

6 68 Operators and Flow Control >> x(find(x < 0)) = 0 x = When find is applied to a matrix A, the index vector corresponds to A regarded as a vector of the columns stacked one on top of the other (that is, A(:)), and this vector can be used to index into A. In the following example we use find to set to zero those elements of A that are less than the corresponding elements of B: >> A = [4 2 16; ], B = [12 3 1; ] A = B = >> f = find(a<b) f = >> A(f) = 0 A = An alternative usage of find for matrices is [i,j] = find(a), which returns vectors i and j containing the row and column indices of the nonzero elements. The results of MATLAB s logical operators and logical functions are logical arrays of 0s and 1s. Logical arrays can also be created by applying the functionlogical to a numeric array; nonzero values other than 1 that are converted to 1 result in a warning message. Logical arrays and numeric arrays can both be used for subscripting, but with an important difference: logical arrays pick out elements where the subscript is true, whereas numeric arrays pick out elements indexed by the subscript. An example should make this distinction clear. >> clear >> y = [ ] y = >> i1 = (y ~= 0) i1 = >> i2 = [ ] i2 =

7 6.2 Flow Control 69 >> y(i1) >> y(i2)??? Subscript indices must either be real positive integers or logicals. >> whos i1 i2 Name Size Bytes Class i1 1x5 5 logical array i2 1x5 40 double array >> isequal(i1,i2) 1 >> i3 = [1 2 4]; y(i3) Although the numeric array i2 has the same elements as the logical array i1 (and compares as equal with it), only i1 can be used for subscripting. To achieve the required subscripting effect with a numerical array, i3 must be used. A call to find can sometimes be avoided when its argument is a logical array. In our example on p. 67, x(find(isfinite(x))) can be replaced by x(isfinite(x)). Addition and multiplication can be done on logicals, and they can be used in arithmetic expressions containing doubles. The result is always a double: >> a = true; b = false; c = 2*a+b, class(c) c = 2 double However, many other arithmetic operations fail: >> b/a??? Function mrdivide is not defined for values of class logical. Error in ==> mrdivide at 16 builtin( mrdivide, varargin{:}); 6.2. Flow Control MATLAB has four flow control structures: the if statement, the for loop, the while loop, and the switch statement. The simplest form of the if statement is if expression statements

8 70 Operators and Flow Control where the statements are executed if the elements of expression are all nonzero. For example, the following code swaps x and y if x is greater than y: if x > y temp = y; y = x; x = temp; When anif statement is followed on its line by further statements, a comma is needed to separate the if from the next statement: if x > 0, x = sqrt(x); Statements to be executed only if expression is false can be placed after else, as in the example e = exp(1); if 2^e > e^2 disp( 2^e is bigger ) else disp( e^2 is bigger ) Finally, one or more further tests can be added with elseif (note that there must be no space between else and if): if isnan(x) disp( Not a Number ) elseif isinf(x) disp( Plus or minus infinity ) else disp( A regular floating point number ) In the third disp, prints as a single quote. The for loop is one of the most useful MATLAB constructs although, as discussed in Section 20.1, experienced programmers who are concerned with producing compact and fast code try to avoid for loops wherever possible. The syntax is for variable = expression statements Usually, expression is a vector of the form i:s:j (see Section 5.2). The statements are executed with variable equal to each element of expression in turn. For example, the sum of the first 25 terms of the harmonic series 1/i is computed by >> s = 0; >> for i = 1:25, s = s + 1/i;, s s = Another way to define expression is using the square bracket notation:

9 6.2 Flow Control 71 >> for x = [pi/6 pi/4 pi/3], disp([x, sin(x)]), Multiple for loops can of course be nested, in which case indentation helps to improve the readability. The following code forms the 5-by-5 symmetric matrix A with (i,j) element i/j for j i: n = 5; A = eye(n); for j = 2:n for i = 1:j-1 A(i,j) = i/j; A(j,i) = i/j; The expression in the for loop can be a matrix, in which case variable is assigned the columns of expression from first to last. For example, to set x to each of the unit vectors in turn, we can write for x=eye(n),...,. The while loop has the form while expression statements The statements are executed as long as expression is true. The following example approximates the smallest nonzero floating point number: >> x = 1; while x>0, xmin = x; x = x/2;, xmin xmin = e-324 A while loop can be terminated with the break statement, which passes control to the first statement after the corresponding. An infinite loop can be constructed using while 1,...,, which is useful when it is not convenient to put the exit test at the top of the loop. (Note that, unlike some other languages, MATLAB does not have a repeat-until loop.) We can rewrite the previous example less concisely as x = 1; while 1 xmin = x; x = x/2; if x == 0, break, xmin The break statement can also be used to exit a for loop. In a nested loop a break exits to the loop at the next higher level. The continue statement causes execution of a for or while loop to pass immediately to the next iteration of the loop, skipping the remaining statements in the loop. As a trivial example,

10 72 Operators and Flow Control for i=1:10 if i < 5, continue, disp(i) displays the integers 5 to 10. In more complicated loops the continue statement can be useful to avoid long-bodied if statements. The final control structure is the switch statement. It consists of switch expression followed by a list of case expression statements, optionally ing with otherwise statements and followed by. The switch expression is evaluated and the statements following the first matching case expression are executed. If none of the cases produces a match then the statements following otherwise are executed. The next example evaluates the p-norm of a vector x (i.e., norm(x,p)) for just three values of p: switch p case 1 y = sum(abs(x)); case 2 y = sqrt(x *x); case inf y = max(abs(x)); otherwise error( p must be 1, 2 or inf. ) (The error function is described in Section 14.1.) The expression following case can be a list of values enclosed in parentheses (a cell array see Section 18.3). The switch expression then matches any value in the list: x = input( Enter a real number: ); switch x case {inf,-inf} disp( Plus or minus infinity ) case 0 disp( Zero ) otherwise disp( Nonzero and finite ) C programmers should note that MATLAB s switch construct behaves differently from that in C: once a MATLAB case group expression has been matched and its statements executed, control is passed to the first statement after the switch, with no need for break statements.

11 6.2 Flow Control 73 Kirk: Well, Spock, here we are. Thanks to your restored memory, a little bit of good luck, we re walking the streets of San Francicso, looking for a couple of humpback whales. How do you propose to solve this minor problem? Spock: Simple logic will suffice. Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (Stardate 8390) Things equally high on the pecking order get evaluated from left to right. When in doubt, throw in some parentheses and be sure. Only use good quality parentheses with nice round sides. ROGER EMANUEL KAUFMAN, A FORTRAN Coloring Book (1978)

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