Julia Notes4 - Methods

multiple dispatch

all conversion in Julia is non-magical and completely explicit. Conversion and Promotion, however, shows how clever application of sufficiently advanced technology can be indistinguishable from magic.

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multiple dispatch on the types of values is perhaps the single most powerful and central feature of the Julia language.

Multiple dispatch together with the flexible parametric type system give Julia its ability to abstractly express high-level algorithms decoupled from implementation details, yet generate efficient, specialized code to handle each case at run time.

Method Ambiguities

It is recommended that the disambiguating method be defined first

Parametric Methods

This kind of definition of function behavior by dispatch is quite common – idiomatic, even – in Julia.

julia> same_type(x::T, y::T) where {T} = true
same_type (generic function with 1 method)

julia> same_type(x,y) = false
same_type (generic function with 2 methods)

julia> myappend(v::Vector{T}, x::T) where {T} = [v..., x]
myappend (generic function with 1 method)

julia> mytypeof(x::T) where {T} = T
mytypeof (generic function with 1 method)

julia> same_type_numeric(x::T, y::T) where {T<:Number} = true
same_type_numeric (generic function with 1 method)

julia> same_type_numeric(x::Number, y::Number) = false
same_type_numeric (generic function with 2 methods)

Keyword arguments behave quite differently from ordinary positional arguments. In particular, they do not participate in method dispatch. Methods are dispatched based only on positional arguments, with keyword arguments processed after the matching method is identified.