Internal Functions

Similar to procedures

The specification of a function is very similar to that of a procedure. The following items provide a summary of their similarities.

  • Arguments, together with their attributes, must be declared in a local declaration subnode.

  • The domain and range of indexed arguments can be in terms of either global or local sets.

  • The units of arguments can be expressed in terms of globally defined units of measurement, or in locally defined unit parameters.

  • Optional arguments must be scalar, and you must specify a default value.

  • AIMMS performs range checking on the actual arguments at runtime.

  • Both functions and procedures can have a RETURN statement.

There are differences

There are also differences between a function and a procedure, as summarized below:

  • Functions return a result that can be used in numerical expressions. The result can be either scalar-valued or indexed, and can have an associated unit of measurement.

  • Functions cannot have side effects either on global identifiers or on their arguments, i.e. every function argument is of type Input by definition.

Not allowed in constraints

AIMMS only allows the (possibly multi-dimensional) result of a function to be used in constraints if none of the function arguments are variables. Allowing function arguments to be variables, would require AIMMS to compute the Jacobian of the function with respect to its variable arguments, which is not a straightforward task. External functions in AIMMS do support variables as arguments (see also External Functions in Constraints).

Example: the Cobb-Douglas function

The Cobb-Douglas (CD) function is a scalar-valued function that is often used in economical models. It has the following form:

\[q = CD_{(a_1,\ldots,a_k)}(c_1, \ldots, c_k) = \prod_f c_f^{a_f},\]



is the quantity produced,


is the factor input \(f\),


is the share parameter satisfying \(a_f\geq 0\) and \(\sum_f a_f = 1\).

In its simplest form, the declaration of the Cobb-Douglas function could look as follows.

Function CobbDouglas {
    Arguments  : (a,c);
    Range      : nonnegative;
    Body       : {
        CobbDouglas := prod[f, c(f)^a(f)]

The arguments of the CobbDouglas function must be declared in a local declaration subnode. The following declarations describe the arguments.

Set InputFactors {
    Index        : f;
Parameter a {
    IndexDomain  : f;
Parameter c {
    IndexDomain : f;

Function attributes

The attributes of functions are listed in this table. Most of them are the same as those of procedures.



See also
















Execution Statements


comment string

Returning the result

By providing an index domain to the function, you indicate that the result of the function is multidimensional. Inside the function you can use the function name with its indices as if it were a locally defined parameter. The result of the function must be assigned to this ‘parameter’. As a consequence, the body of any function should contain at least one assignment to itself to be useful. Note that the RETURN statement cannot have a return value in the context of a function body.

The Range attribute

Through the Range attribute you can specify in which numerical, set, element or string range the function should assume its result. If the result of the function is numeric and multidimensional, you can specify a range using multidimensional parameters which depend on all or only a subset of the indices specified in the IndexDomain of the function. This is similar as for parameters (see also page The Range attribute). Upon return from the function, AIMMS will verify that the function result lies within the specified range.

The Unit attribute

Through the Unit attribute of a function you can associate a unit with the function result. AIMMS will use the unit specified here during the unit consistency check of each assignment to the result parameter within the function body, based on the units of the global identifiers and function arguments that are referenced in the assigned expression. In addition, AIMMS will use the value of the Unit attribute during unit consistency checks of all expressions that contain calls to the function at hand. You can find general information on the use of units in Units of Measurement. Unit Analysis of Procedures and Functions focusses on unit consistency checking for functions and procedures.

Example: computing the shortest distance

The procedure ComputeShortestDistance discussed in the previous section can also be implemented as a function ShortestDistance, returning an indexed result. In this case, the declaration looks as follows.

Function ShortestDistance {
    Arguments    : (City, DistanceMatrix);
    IndexDomain  : j;
    Range        : nonnegative;
    Comment      : {
        "This procedure computes the distance along the shortest path
         from City to any other city j, given DistanceMatrix."
         Body         : {
        ShortestDistance(j) := DistanceMatrix(City,j);

        for ( j | not ShortestDistance(j) ) do
             *  Compute the shortest path and the corresponding distance
             *  for cities j without a direct connection to City.