## WeBWorK Problems

### arithmetic syntax in Compute ### arithmetic syntax in Compute

by Murray Eisenberg -
Number of replies: 2
Error at line 46: In a question I've loaded the usual macros, including MathObjects.pl. I have the following initializations after that:

36 $bhalf = random(2,10,1); 37$b = Compute("2*$bhalf"); 38 39$index = random(1,10,1); 40 @increments = (2,3,5,6,7,8,10,11,12,13); 41 $k = @increments[$index]; 42 # coefficient of y 43 $c = Compute("$k + ($b**2)/4"); 44 45$lambda = Compute("-$bhalf"); 46$discrim = Compute("-4*$k"); 47$negdiscrim = Compute("4*$k");  Yet I get the following error message when viewing as a student:Missing operand after '*'; see position 3 of formula at line 93 of [PG]/macros/Parser.pl Died within main::Formula called at line 93 of [PG]/macros/Parser.pl from within main::Compute called at line 46 of [TMPL]/Local/Murray_PhaseAmplitudeForm.pg Oddly, I'm getting the error only when I view this as some students and not others. The question was already deployed in a set. Most students encountered no error, apparently (and already got it correct). Yet a couple are running into the error. Is there something in Perl syntax I'm missing here? In reply to Murray Eisenberg ### Re: arithmetic syntax in Compute by Michael Gage - The perl syntax you are missing is that array indexing begins at 0. You want to choose your index randomly between 0 and 9 not 1 and 10. If$index has the value 10 then

$k = @increments[$index]

places an empty string/undefined value in $k and that causes the error that is reported. Also (and this is one of the idiosyncrasies of perl) the line should read$k = $increments[$index];

since you are placing a scalar value into \$k, not an array with one element. (For more on this see "Learning Perl" by "Randal Schwartz") 