[Rd] "Math" group generics for S4, and a bug
Martin Maechler
maechler at stat.math.ethz.ch
Tue Jun 26 22:28:38 CEST 2007
>>>>> "JMC" == John Chambers <jmc at r-project.org>
>>>>> on Tue, 26 Jun 2007 14:47:25 -0400 writes:
JMC> Martin Maechler wrote:
>>>>>>> "MM" == Martin Maechler <maechler at stat.math.ethz.ch>
>>>>>>> on Sat, 23 Jun 2007 00:36:43 +0200 writes:
>>>>>>>
>>
> {on R-help}
>>
>> [.....................] [.....................]
>>
>> >> Duncan Murdoch
>>
DM> You might have better luck with
>>
DM> log1p(tasa)
>>
MM> {very good point, thank you, Duncan!}
>>
DM> if the authors of the Matrix package have written a
DM> method for log1p(); if not, you'll probably have to do
DM> it yourself.
>>
MM> They have not yet.
>>
MM> Note however that this - and expm1() - would
MM> automagically work for sparse matrices if these two
MM> functions were part of the "Math" S4 group generic.
>>
MM> I'd say that there's only historical reason for them
MM> *not* to be part of "Math", and I am likely going to
MM> propose to change this ....
>>
>> I'm now going to propose ...
>>
>> As I found, expm1() and log1p() already *HAVE BEEN* in
>> the S3 "Math" group generic ``automagically by
>> implementation''. Just the documentation for this fact
>> has been missing.
>>
>> Hence, I've added that doc (uncommitted) and I'm about to
>> add them to the S4 Math group as well. When doing so,
>> I'd like to add few more functions to make S3 and S4
>> "Math" a bit more compatible : Consequently, I'm
>> proposing to add the following functions to the S4 Math
>> group generic :
>>
>> - log1p, expm1
>>
>> - cummax, cummin {S3 has them; cumprod(), cumsum() are
>> already}
>>
>> - digamma, trigamma {S3 has them; gamma(), lgamma() are
>> already}
>>
>> ----
>>
>> When trying to do the above, I'm pretty quickly
>> successful for cummax & cummin, most probably because
>> they are primitive functions. But I currently have
>> problems for the other four, and in exploring these
>> problems, I've found that
>>
>> log10()
>>
>> does not S4- dispatch on "Math" neither, which I think is
>> a pretty peculiar bug;
JMC> Well, it depends what you mean by "bug"; I would call
JMC> it a "design infelicity" (a la Bill Venables), and some
JMC> might call it a failure to Do What I Mean. Assuming I
JMC> understand what you meant (you didn't give an example)
JMC> I disagree with the letter but very much agree with the
JMC> spirit.
JMC> In fact, log10 _is_ in the Math group. But the
JMC> programmer is currently responsible for creating a
JMC> suitable generic function (that's the design
JMC> infelicity). If that is done correctly, dispatch seems
JMC> to work fine:
>> setGeneric("log10", group = "Math")
JMC> [1] "log10"
yes, indeed. Embarrassingly, actually I did know about this,
and indeed, it's not a bug.
>> setClass("onX", representation(x="numeric", stuff =
>> "character"))
JMC> [1] "onX"
>> setMethod("Math", "onX", function(x)callGeneric(x at x))
JMC> [1] "Math"
>> xx = new("onX", x=1:10, stuff = "test") log10(xx)
JMC> [1] 0.0000000 0.3010300 0.4771213 0.6020600 0.6989700
JMC> 0.7781513 0.8450980 [8] 0.9030900 0.9542425 1.0000000
>> showMethods("log10")
JMC> Function: log10 (package base) x="ANY" x="integer"
JMC> (inherited from: x="ANY") x="onX" (definition from
JMC> function "Math")
JMC> So unless you mean something different by "does not S4-
JMC> dispatch", this is not technically a bug. Your bug
JMC> presumably came when you either did not call
JMC> setGeneric() on log10() or else called it in the simple
JMC> setGeneric("log10") form.
you are right.
JMC> But in principle I very much agree that this is not a
JMC> satisfactory situation. It should be implicit in the
JMC> definition of log10() that when it is made a generic,
JMC> that generic has group "Math". The reason it must now
JMC> be done by the programmer is that log10() is not a
JMC> primitive, and so not covered by the automatic
JMC> definition of a generic that, e.g., applies to sin().
JMC> I have a proposal to fix this, by generalizing the
JMC> mechanism used for primitives in base, so that it would
JMC> allow any function in any package to have an implicit
JMC> generic form. When a method is specified for the
JMC> function, the implicit generic becomes the actual
JMC> function.
That sounds like a very good idea, allowing the function writer
to specify (if and) how the function should behave as generic.
JMC> Sometime after 2.5.1 comes out, this should
JMC> with luck find its way to r-devel so we can see if it
JMC> helps.
So, I'm hoping for good luck.. ;-) :-)
Thanks a lot, John!
Martin
>> I think if that was fixed, then my code changes would
>> also work to make log1p(), expm1(), digamma() and
>> trigamma() correctly part of "S4 - Math Group".
>>
>> Martin
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