Time we switched to unicode? (was Explanation of this Python language feature?)

Terry Reedy tjreedy at udel.edu
Wed Mar 26 05:30:21 CET 2014

On 3/25/2014 8:12 PM, Steven D'Aprano wrote:
> On Tue, 25 Mar 2014 19:55:39 -0400, Terry Reedy wrote:
>> On 3/25/2014 11:18 AM, Steven D'Aprano wrote:
>>> The thing is, we can't just create a ∑ function, because it doesn't
>>> work the way the summation operator works. The problem is that we would
>>> want syntactic support, so we could write something like this:
>>>       p = 2
>>>       ∑(n, 1, 10, n**p)
>> Of course we can. If we do not insist on separating the dummy name from
>> the expression that contains it. this works.
>> def sigma(low, high, func):
>>       sum = 0
>>       for i in range(low, high+1):
>>           sum += func(i)
>>       return sum
> There is no expression there. There is a function.
> You cannot pass an expression to a function in Python,

One passes an unquoted expression in code by quoting it with either 
lambda, paired quote marks (Lisp used a single '), or using it in a form 
that implicitly quotes it (that includes def statements). Unquoted 
expressions in statements ultimately get passed to an internal functions.

 > not in the sense I am talking about,

well, if you eliminate all the possibilities ...

 > because expressions are not first-class objects.

The concept is not a class, and the Python stdlib does not have an 
expression class. But people have written classes to represent the 
concept. I used existing classes instead.

Expressions are not (normally) mathematical objects either.
(An exception is rewriting theory, or other theories, where strings 
representing expressions or WFFs (well-formed formulas) are the only 
objects.) Mathematicians quote expression strings by context or 
positiion. The sigma form is one of many examples.

Terry Jan Reedy

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