Create a function environment

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funcenv(f1, <f2>, <slotTable>)


funcenv(f) creates a function environment from f.

funcenv serves for generating a function environment of domain type DOM_FUNC_ENV.

From a user's point of view, function environments are similar to procedures and can be called like any MuPAD® function.

However, in contrast to simple procedures, a function environment allows a tight integration into the MuPAD system. In particular, standard system functions such as diff, expand, float etc. can be told how to act on symbolic function calls to a function environment.

For this, a function environment stores special function attributes (slots) in an internal table. Whenever an overloadable system function such as diff, expand, float encounters an object of type DOM_FUNC_ENV, its searches the function environment for a corresponding slot. If found, it calls the corresponding slot and returns the value produced by the slot.

Slots can be incorporated into the function environment by creating a table slotTable and passing this to funcenv, when the function environment is created. Alternatively, the function slot can be used to add further slots to an existing function environment.

See Example 1 below for further information.

The first argument f1 of funcenv determines the evaluation of function calls. With f:= funcenv(f1), the call f(x) returns the result f1(x). Note that calls of the form f:= funcenv(f) are possible (and, in fact, typical). This call embeds the procedure f into a function environment of the same name. The original procedure f is stored internally in the function environment f. After this call, further function attributes can be attached to f via the slot function.

The second argument f2 of funcenv determines the screen output of symbolic function calls. Consider f:= funcenv(f1, f2). If the call f(x) returns a symbolic function call f(x) with 0-th operand f, then f2 is called: the return value of f2(f(x)) is used as the screen output of f(x).


Beware: f2(f(x)) should not produce a result containing a further symbolic call of f, because this will lead to an infinite recursion, causing an error message.

The third argument slotTable of funcenv is a table containing function attributes (slots). The table has to use strings as indices to address system functions. E.g.,

   slotTable := table("diff" = mydiff, "float" = myfloat):      f
:= funcenv(f1, f2, slotTable): 

attaches the slot functions mydiff and myfloat to f. They are called by the system functions diff and float, respectively, whenever they encounter a symbolic expression f(x) with 0-th operand f. The internal slot table can be changed or filled with additional function attributes via the function slot.

If the first argument f1 of funcenv is itself a function environment, then the return value is a physical copy of f1.

The documentation of float, print, and slot provides further examples involving function environments.


Example 1

We want to introduce a function f that represents a solution of the differential equation . First, we define a function f, which returns any call f(x) symbolically:

f := proc(x) begin procname(args()) end_proc: f(x), f(3 + y)

Because of the differential equation , derivatives of f can be rewritten in terms of f. How can we tell the MuPAD system to differentiate symbolic functions calls such as f(x) accordingly? For this, we first have to embed the procedure f into a function environment:

f := funcenv(f):

The function environment behaves like the original procedure:

f(x), f(3 + y)

System functions such as diff still treat symbolic calls of f as calls to unknown functions:

diff(f(x + 3), x)

However, as a function environment, f can receive attributes that overload the system functions. The following slot call attaches a dummy "diff" attribute to f:

f::diff := mydiff:  diff(2*f(x^2) + x, x)

We attach a more meaningful "diff" attribute to f that is based on . Note that arbitrary calls diff(f(y), x1, x2, ..) have to be handled by this slot:

fdiff := proc(fcall) local y; begin
    y:= op(fcall, 1);
    (y + sin(y)*f(y))*diff(y, args(2..args(0)))
f := slot(f, "diff", fdiff):

Now, as far as differentiation is concerned, the function f is fully integrated into MuPAD:

diff(f(x), x), diff(f(x), x, x)

diff(sin(x)*f(x^2), x)

Since Taylor expansion around finite points only needs to evaluate derivatives, also Taylor expansions of f can be computed:

taylor(f(x^2), x = 0, 9)

delete f, fdiff:

Example 2

Suppose that you have defined a function f that may return itself symbolically, and you want such symbolic expressions of the form f(x,...) to be printed in a special way. To this end, embed your proceduref in a function environment and supply an output procedure as second argument to the corresponding funcenv call. Whenever an expression of the form f(x,...) is to be printed, the output procedure will be called with the arguments x,... of the expression:

f := funcenv(f, 
         proc(x) begin 
            if nops(x) = 2 then
              "f does strange things with its arguments ".
              expr2text(op(x, 1))." and ".expr2text(op(x,2))
delete a, b:
print(f(a, b)/2):
print(f(a, b, c)/2):

delete f:



An arbitrary MuPAD object. Typically, a procedure. It handles the evaluation of a function call to the function environment.


A procedure handling the screen output of symbolic function calls


A table of function attributes (slots)

Return Values

Function environment of type DOM_FUNC_ENV.


Mathematical functions such as exp, ln etc. or abs, Re, Im etc. are implemented as function environments.

See Also

MuPAD Functions