A symbol is an identifier representing a named mathematical object. It belongs to a domain and it may hold a value. A symbol without a value represents a mathematical unknown in an expression.

To change the value or domain of a symbol, use the value and domain properties of the symbol.

A symbol does not have to be declared before it can be used. The domain of a symbol will be inferred based on its usage or its value.

const n ="n");
n.value = 5;
console.log("n =", n.value.json);

To get a list of all the symbols in an expression use expr.symbols.


Symbols are defined within a scope.

Unknowns and Constants

A symbol that has been declared, but has no values associated with it, is said to be an unknown.

A symbol whose value cannot be changed is a constant. Constants are identified by a special flag in their definition.

To check if a symbol is a constant, use the expr.isConstant property.

// ➔ false

// ➔ true

The value of constants may depend on settings of the Compute Engine. For example, the value of Pi is determined based on the value of the precision property. The values of constants in scope when the precision setting is changed will be updated.

ce.precision = 4;
const smallPi ="Pi"); // π with 4 digits
// ➔ 3.1415

ce.precision = 10;
const bigPi ="Pi"); // π with 10 digits
// ➔ 3.1415926535

ce.precision = 100; // Future computations will be done with 100 digits

console.log("pi = ", smallPi.numericValue, "=", bigPi.numericValue);
// ➔ pi  = 3.1415 = 3.1415926535

Automatic Declaration of Symbols

An unknown symbol is automatically declared when it is first used in an expression.

The new definition has a domain of undefined and no value associated with it, so the symbol will be an unknwon.

const symbol ="m"); // m for mystery
// ➔ undefined

symbol.value = 5;
// ➔ 5

Forgetting a Symbol

To reset what is known about a symbol use the ce.forget() function.

The ce.forget() function will remove any assumptions associated with a symbol, and remove its value. Howeve, the symbol will remained declared, since other expressions may depend on it.

To forget about a specific symbol, pass the name of the symbol as an argument to ce.forget().

To forget about all the symbols in the current scope, use ce.forget() without any arguments.

Note that only symbols in the current scope are forgotten. If assumptions about the symbol existed in a previous scope, those assumptions will be in effect when returning to the previous scope.