Expression parsing and evaluation #

Expressions can be parsed and evaluated in various ways:

Evaluate #

Math.js comes with a function math.evaluate to evaluate expressions. Syntax:

math.evaluate(expr)
math.evaluate(expr, scope)
math.evaluate([expr1, expr2, expr3, ...])
math.evaluate([expr1, expr2, expr3, ...], scope)

Function evaluate accepts a single expression or an array with expressions as the first argument and has an optional second argument containing a scope with variables and functions. The scope can be a regular JavaScript Object, or Map. The scope will be used to resolve symbols, and to write assigned variables or function.

The following code demonstrates how to evaluate expressions.

// evaluate expressions
math.evaluate('sqrt(3^2 + 4^2)')        // 5
math.evaluate('sqrt(-4)')               // 2i
math.evaluate('2 inch to cm')           // 5.08 cm
math.evaluate('cos(45 deg)')            // 0.7071067811865476

// provide a scope
let scope = {
    a: 3,
    b: 4
}
math.evaluate('a * b', scope)           // 12
math.evaluate('c = 2.3 + 4.5', scope)   // 6.8
scope.c                                 // 6.8

Compile #

Math.js contains a function math.compile which compiles expressions into JavaScript code. This is a shortcut for first parsing and then compiling an expression. The syntax is:

math.compile(expr)
math.compile([expr1, expr2, expr3, ...])

Function compile accepts a single expression or an array with expressions as the argument. Function compile returns an object with a function evaluate([scope]), which can be executed to evaluate the expression against an (optional) scope:

const code = math.compile(expr)       // compile an expression
const result = code.evaluate([scope]) // evaluate the code with an optional scope

An expression needs to be compiled only once, after which the expression can be evaluated repeatedly and against different scopes. The optional scope is used to resolve symbols and to write assigned variables or functions. Parameter scope can be a regular Object, or Map.

Example usage:

// parse an expression into a node, and evaluate the node
const code1 = math.compile('sqrt(3^2 + 4^2)')
code1.evaluate()  // 5

Parse #

Math.js contains a function math.parse to parse expressions into an expression tree. The syntax is:

math.parse(expr)
math.parse([expr1, expr2, expr3, ...])

Function parse accepts a single expression or an array with expressions as the argument. Function parse returns a the root node of the tree, which can be successively compiled and evaluated:

const node = math.parse(expr)         // parse expression into a node tree
const code = node.compile()           // compile the node tree
const result = code.evaluate([scope]) // evaluate the code with an optional scope

The API of nodes is described in detail on the page Expression trees.

An expression needs to be parsed and compiled only once, after which the expression can be evaluated repeatedly. On evaluation, an optional scope can be provided, which is used to resolve symbols and to write assigned variables or functions. Parameter scope is a regular Object or Map.

Example usage:

// parse an expression into a node, and evaluate the node
const node1 = math.parse('sqrt(3^2 + 4^2)')
const code1 = node1.compile()
code1.evaluate() // 5

// provide a scope
const node2 = math.parse('x^a')
const code2 = node2.compile()
let scope = {
    x: 3,
    a: 2
}
code2.evaluate(scope) // 9

// change a value in the scope and re-evaluate the node
scope.a = 3
code2.evaluate(scope) // 27

Parsed expressions can be exported to text using node.toString(), and can be exported to LaTeX using node.toTex(). The LaTeX export can be used to pretty print an expression in the browser with a library like MathJax. Example usage:

// parse an expression
const node = math.parse('sqrt(x/x+1)')
node.toString()   // returns 'sqrt((x / x) + 1)'
node.toTex()      // returns '\sqrt{ {\frac{x}{x} }+{1} }'

Parser #

In addition to the static functions math.evaluate and math.parse, math.js contains a parser with functions evaluate and parse, which automatically keeps a scope with assigned variables in memory. The parser also contains some convenience functions to get, set, and remove variables from memory.

A parser can be created by:

const parser = math.parser()

The parser contains the following functions:

The following code shows how to create and use a parser.

// create a parser
const parser = math.parser()

// evaluate expressions
parser.evaluate('sqrt(3^2 + 4^2)')      // 5
parser.evaluate('sqrt(-4)')             // 2i
parser.evaluate('2 inch to cm')         // 5.08 cm
parser.evaluate('cos(45 deg)')          // 0.7071067811865476

// define variables and functions
parser.evaluate('x = 7 / 2')            // 3.5
parser.evaluate('x + 3')                // 6.5
parser.evaluate('f(x, y) = x^y')        // f(x, y)
parser.evaluate('f(2, 3)')              // 8

// get and set variables and functions
const x = parser.get('x')               // x = 7
const f = parser.get('f')               // function
const g = f(3, 3)                       // g = 27
parser.set('h', 500)
parser.evaluate('h / 2')                // 250
parser.set('hello', function (name) {
    return 'hello, ' + name + '!'
})
parser.evaluate('hello("user")')        // "hello, user!"

// clear defined functions and variables
parser.clear()

Scope #

The scope is a data-structure used to store and lookup variables and functions defined and used by expressions.

It is passed to mathjs via calls to math.evaluate or simplify.

For ease of use, it can be a Plain Javascript Object; for safety it can be a plain Map and for flexibility, any object that has the methods get/set/has/keys, seen on Map.

Some care is taken to mutate the same object that is passed into mathjs, so they can collect the definitions from mathjs scripts and expressions.

evaluate will fail if the expression uses a blacklisted symbol, preventing mathjs expressions to escape into Javascript. This is enforced by access to the scope.

For less reliance on this blacklist, scope can also be a Map, which allows mathjs expressions to define variables and functions of any name.

For more, see examples of custom scopes.

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