Re: [Rd] setMethod("c") [was: setMethod("Summary")]

From: Robin Hankin <>
Date: Thu 07 Sep 2006 - 11:18:51 GMT

Thank you for this. Minimal self-contained code included below. It is slightly modified from the original because brob objects have two slots, both of which are needed by c().

A "brob" obect is represents a real number with two slots: "x" holds its natural
logarithm; slot "positive" is Boolean, indicating whether the number is positive.
I want this because I need to manipulate numbers up to ~1e20000. The hard bit is addition: log(exp(x) + exp(y)) == x + log1p(exp(y-x)) ]

It seemed to make sense to coerce non-brob arguments to brobs, then make cPair() use cPairOfBrobs() [with coerced arguments] in three of the cases, and c() for the fourth with signature c("ANY", "ANY"). Now below, JC states that "cWithMethods() _replaces_ the ordinary c (), it's not
just a method for it". Does this imply that one cannot set up an R package
so that the following code:

x <- as.brob(1:10)
x1 <- c(1,x)
x2 <- c(x,1)

works as expected? Or is there some workaround that would enable me to do this?

best wishes



          representation = representation (x="numeric",positive="logical"),

          prototype      = list(x=numeric(),positive=logical())

"brob" <- function(x,positive){

     positive <- rep(TRUE,length(x))
     positive <- rep(positive,length(x))    }

is.brob <- function(x){is(x,"brob")}

as.brob <- function(x){

   } else {

cWithMethods <- function(x, ...) {


       cPair(x, cWithMethods(...))


cPairOfBrobs <- function(x,y){

   x <- as.brob(x)
   y <- as.brob(y)


setGeneric("cPair", function(x,y)standardGeneric("cPair"))

setMethod("cPair", c("brob", "brob"), function(x,y)cPairOfBrobs(x,y)) setMethod("cPair", c("brob", "ANY"), function(x,y)cPairOfBrobs (x,as.brob(y)))
setMethod("cPair", c("ANY", "brob"), function(x,y)cPairOfBrobs (as.brob(x),y))
setMethod("cPair", c("ANY", "ANY"), function(x,y)c(x,y))

On 6 Sep 2006, at 18:32, John Chambers wrote:

> You missed the point of the example, which is why your own
> implementation didn't work.
> It's not the tail recursion that is important, but the recasting of
> max() (or of c()) to not just a standard generic, but to a recursive
> computation, so that methods need only be defined for  a finite number
> of arguments.
> Because the recursion in c() requires two arguments, not one as with
> max(), the methods are more naturally transferred to an auxiliary
> function, cPair in my sketch.  Then cWithMethods _replaces_ the  
> ordinary
> c(), it's not just a method for it.
> Also required are a set of methods that corresponds to what you  
> want to
> do.  The methods apply, as I said before, to cPair(), which is a  
> generic
> with two arguments.
> If your picture is that you can bind your class to anything, in either
> order, then you need methods for ("ANY", "brob") and ("brob",  
> "ANY"), as
> well as the method ("brob", "brob"), equivalent to the function
> cPairOfBrobs(), and a default method that just uses c().
> Something like:
> ---------------------
> cWithMethods <- function(x, ...) {
>    if(nargs()<3)
>       cPair(x,...)
>     else
>       cPair(x, cWithMethods(...))
> }
> setGeneric("cPair", function(x,y)standardGeneric("cPair"))
> setMethod("cPair", c("brob", "brob"), function(x,y)cPairOfBrobs(x,y))
> setMethod("cPair", c("brob", "ANY"), function(x,y)c(x@x, y))
> setMethod("cPair", c("ANY", "brob"), function(x,y)c(x, y@x))
> setMethod("cPair", c("ANY", "ANY"), function(x,y)c(x,y))
> Robin Hankin wrote:

Robin Hankin
Uncertainty Analyst
National Oceanography Centre, Southampton
European Way, Southampton SO14 3ZH, UK
  tel  023-8059-7743

______________________________________________ mailing list
Received on Thu Sep 07 21:24:43 2006

Archive maintained by Robert King, hosted by the discipline of statistics at the University of Newcastle, Australia.
Archive generated by hypermail 2.1.8, at Thu 07 Sep 2006 - 19:43:41 GMT.

Mailing list information is available at Please read the posting guide before posting to the list.