# 3. Logical vectors¶

This open-access textbook is, and will remain, freely available for everyone’s enjoyment (also in PDF; a paper copy can also be ordered). It is a non-profit project. Although available online, it is a whole course, and should be read from the beginning to the end. Refer to the Preface for general introductory remarks. Any bug/typo reports/fixes are appreciated. Make sure to check outMinimalist Data Wrangling with Python[27] too.

## 3.1. Creating logical vectors¶

R defines three(!) logical constants:
`TRUE`

, `FALSE`

, and `NA`

, which represent
“yes”, “no”, and “???”, respectively.
Each of them, when instantiated, is an atomic vector of length one.

Some of the functions we introduced in the previous chapter can be used to generate logical vectors as well:

```
c(TRUE, FALSE, FALSE, NA, TRUE, FALSE)
## [1] TRUE FALSE FALSE NA TRUE FALSE
rep(c(TRUE, FALSE, NA), each=2)
## [1] TRUE TRUE FALSE FALSE NA NA
sample(c(TRUE, FALSE), 10, replace=TRUE, prob=c(0.8, 0.2))
## [1] TRUE TRUE TRUE FALSE FALSE TRUE TRUE FALSE TRUE TRUE
```

Note

By default, `T`

is a synonym for `TRUE`

and `F`

stands for `FALSE`

.
However, these are not reserved keywords and can be reassigned
to any other values. Therefore, we advise against relying on them:
they are not used throughout the course of this course.

Also, notice that the logical missing value is spelled simply
as `NA`

, and not `NA_logical_`

. Both the logical `NA`

and the numeric `NA_real_`

are, for the sake of our widely-conceived wellbeing,
both *printed* as “`NA`

” on the R console.
This, however, does not mean they are identical;
see Section 4.1 for discussion.

## 3.2. Comparing elements¶

### 3.2.1. Vectorised relational operators¶

Logical vectors frequently come into being
as a result of various *testing* activities.
In particular, the binary operators:

`

**<**` (less than),`

**<=**` (less than or equal),`

**>**` (greater than),`

**>=**` (greater than or equal)`

**==**` (equal),`

**!=**` (not equal),

compare the *corresponding* elements of two numeric vectors
and output a logical vector.

```
1 < 3
## [1] TRUE
c(1, 2, 3, 4) == c(2, 2, 3, 8)
## [1] FALSE TRUE TRUE FALSE
1:10 <= 10:1
## [1] TRUE TRUE TRUE TRUE TRUE FALSE FALSE FALSE FALSE FALSE
```

Thus, they operate in an elementwise manner. Moreover, the recycling rule is applied if necessary:

```
3 < 1:5 # c(3, 3, 3, 3, 3) < c(1, 2, 3, 4, 5)
## [1] FALSE FALSE FALSE TRUE TRUE
c(1, 4) == 1:4 # c(1, 4, 1, 4) == c(1, 2, 3, 4)
## [1] TRUE FALSE FALSE TRUE
```

Therefore, we can say that they are vectorised in the same manner
as the arithmetic operators `**+**`, `*****`, etc.;
compare Section 2.4.1.

### 3.2.2. Testing for `NA`

, `NaN`

, and `Inf`

¶

Comparisons against missing values and not-numbers yield `NA`

s.
Instead of the *incorrect* “`x == NA_real_`

”,
testing for missingness should rather be performed via a call
to the vectorised **is.na** function.

```
is.na(c(NA_real_, Inf, -Inf, NaN, -1, 0, 1))
## [1] TRUE FALSE FALSE TRUE FALSE FALSE FALSE
is.na(c(TRUE, FALSE, NA, TRUE)) # works for logical vectors too
## [1] FALSE FALSE TRUE FALSE
```

Moreover, **is.finite** is noteworthy
since it returns `FALSE`

on `Inf`

s, `NA_real_`

s and `NaN`

s.

```
is.finite(c(NA_real_, Inf, -Inf, NaN, -1, 0, 1))
## [1] FALSE FALSE FALSE FALSE TRUE TRUE TRUE
```

See also the more specific
**is.nan** and **is.infinite**.

### 3.2.3. Dealing with round-off errors (*)¶

In mathematics, real numbers are merely an idealisation. In practice, however, it is impossible to store them with infinite precision (think \(\pi=3.141592653589793...\)): computer memory is limited, and our time is precious.

Therefore, a consensus had to be reached. In R, we rely on
the *double-precision floating point format*. The *floating point*
part means that the numbers can be both small (close to zero
like \(\pm 2.23\times 10^{-308}\))
and large (e.g., \(\pm 1.79\times 10^{308}\)).

Note

```
2.23e-308 == 0.00000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000
00000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000
00000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000
00000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000
00000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000
00000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000
0000000223
1.79e308 == 179000000
00000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000
00000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000
00000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000
00000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000
00000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000
00000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000
```

These two are pretty distant.

Every numeric value takes 8 bytes (or, equivalently, 64 bits) of memory.
We are, however, able to store only *about* 15-17 decimal digits:

```
print(0.12345678901234567890123456789012345678901234, digits=22) # 22 is max
## [1] 0.1234567890123456773699
```

which limits the precision of our computations.
The *about* part is, unfortunately, due to the numbers’
being written in the computer-friendly *binary*, not the human-aligned
*decimal* base. This can lead to unexpected outcomes.

In particular:

`0.1`

cannot be represented exactly for it cannot be written as a finite series of reciprocals of powers of 2 (we have \(0.1=2^{-4}+2^{-5}+2^{-8}+2^{-9}+\dots\)). This leads to surprising results such as:0.1 + 0.1 + 0.1 == 0.3 ## [1] FALSE

Quite strikingly, what follows does not

*show*anything suspicious:c(0.1, 0.1 + 0.1 + 0.1, 0.3) ## [1] 0.1 0.3 0.3

Printing involves rounding. In the above context, it is misleading. Actually, we experience something more like:

print(c(0.1, 0.1 + 0.1 + 0.1, 0.3), digits=22) ## [1] 0.1000000000000000055511 0.3000000000000000444089 ## [3] 0.2999999999999999888978

All integers between \(-2^{53}\) and \(2^{53}\) all stored

*exactly*. This is good news. However, the next integer is beyond the representable range:2^53 + 1 == 2^53 ## [1] TRUE

The order of operations may matter. In particular, the associativity property can be violated when dealing with numbers of contrasting orders of magnitude:

2^53 + 2^-53 - 2^53 - 2^-53 # should be == 0.0 ## [1] -1.1102e-16

Some numbers may just be too large, too small, or too close to zero to be represented exactly:

c(sum(2^((1023-52):1023)), sum(2^((1023-53):1023))) ## [1] 1.7977e+308 Inf c(2^(-1022-52), 2^(-1022-53)) ## [1] 4.9407e-324 0.0000e+00

Important

The double-precision floating point format (IEEE 754) is not specific to R. It is used by most other computing environments, including Python and C++.

For discussion, see [32, 35, 42], and the more statistically-orientated [31].

Can we do anything about these issues?

Firstly, dealing with *integers* of a *reasonable* order of magnitude
(e.g., various resource or case IDs in our datasets)
is *safe*. Their comparison, addition,
subtraction, and multiplication are always precise.

In all other cases (including applying other operations on integers,
e.g., division or **sqrt**), we need to be very
careful with comparisons, especially involving testing for
equality via `**==**`.
The sole fact that \(\sin \pi = 0\), mathematically speaking,
does not mean that we should expect that:

```
sin(pi) == 0
## [1] FALSE
```

Instead, they are so close that we can
*treat the difference between them as negligible*.
Thus, in practice, instead of testing if \(x = y\),
we will be considering:

\(|x-y|\) (absolute error), or

\(\frac{|x-y|}{|y|}\) (relative error; which takes the order of magnitude of the numbers into account but obviously cannot be applied if \(y\) is very close to \(0\)),

and determining if these are less than an assumed error margin, \(\varepsilon>0\), say, \(10^{-8}\) or \(2^{-26}\). For example:

```
abs(sin(pi) - 0) < 2^-26
## [1] TRUE
```

Note

Rounding can sometimes have a similar effect as testing for almost equality in terms of the absolute error.

```
round(sin(pi), 8) == 0
## [1] TRUE
```

Important

The foregoing recommendations are valid for the most popular
applications of R, i.e., statistical and, more generally,
scientific computing[1].
Our datasets usually do not represent accurate measurements.
Bah, the world itself is far from ideal!
Therefore, we do not have to lose sleep over our not being able to precisely
pinpoint the *exact* solutions.

## 3.3. Logical operations¶

### 3.3.1. Vectorised logical operators¶

The relational operators such as `**==**` and `**>**`
accept only *two* arguments. Their chaining is forbidden.
A test that we would mathematically write
as \(0 \le x \le 1\) (or \(x\in[0, 1]\)) *cannot* be expressed
as “`0 <= x <= 1`

” in R.
Therefore, we need a way to combine two logical conditions
so as to be able to state that “\(x\ge 0\) *and, at the same time*, \(x\le 1\)”.

In such situations, the following logical operators and functions come in handy:

`

**!**` (not, negation; unary),`

**&**` (and, conjunction; are both predicates true?),`

**|**` (or, alternation; is at least one true?),**xor**(exclusive-or, exclusive disjunction, either-or; is one and only one of the predicates true?).

They again act elementwisely and implement the recycling rule if necessary (and applicable).

```
x <- c(-10, -1, -0.25, 0, 0.5, 1, 5, 100)
(x >= 0) & (x <= 1)
## [1] FALSE FALSE FALSE TRUE TRUE TRUE FALSE FALSE
(x < 0) | (x > 1)
## [1] TRUE TRUE TRUE FALSE FALSE FALSE TRUE TRUE
!((x < 0) | (x > 1))
## [1] FALSE FALSE FALSE TRUE TRUE TRUE FALSE FALSE
xor(x >= -1, x <= 1)
## [1] TRUE FALSE FALSE FALSE FALSE FALSE TRUE TRUE
```

Important

The vectorised `**&**` and `**|**` operators
should not be confused with their scalar, short-circuit
counterparts, `**&&**` and `**||**`;
see Section 8.1.4.

### 3.3.2. Operator precedence revisited¶

The operators introduced in this chapter have lower precedence than the
arithmetic ones, including the binary `**+**`
and `**-**`. Calling **help**`("Syntax")`

reveals
that we can extend our listing from Section 2.4.3
as follows:

*`***<-**` (right to left; least binding),`

**|**`,`

**&**`,`

**!**` (unary),`

**<**`, `**>**`, `**<=**`, `**>=**`, `**==**`, and `**!=**`,*`***+**` and `**-**` (binary),*`******` and `**/**`,…

The order of precedence is intuitive,
e.g., “`x+1 <= y & y <= z-1 | x <= z`

”
means “`(((x+1) <= y) & (y <= (z-1))) | (x <= z)`

”.

### 3.3.3. Dealing with missingness¶

Operations involving missing values follow the principles
of Łukasiewicz’s three-valued logic, which is based on common sense.
For instance, “`NA | TRUE`

” is `TRUE`

because
the alternative (*or*) needs *at least one*
argument to be `TRUE`

to generate a positive result.
On the other hand, “`NA | FALSE`

” is `NA`

since
the outcome would be different depending on what we substituted `NA`

for.

Let’s contemplate the logical operations’ *truth tables*
for all the possible combinations of inputs:

```
u <- c(TRUE, FALSE, NA, TRUE, FALSE, NA, TRUE, FALSE, NA)
v <- c(TRUE, TRUE, TRUE, FALSE, FALSE, FALSE, NA, NA, NA)
!u
## [1] FALSE TRUE NA FALSE TRUE NA FALSE TRUE NA
u & v
## [1] TRUE FALSE NA FALSE FALSE FALSE NA FALSE NA
u | v
## [1] TRUE TRUE TRUE TRUE FALSE NA TRUE NA NA
xor(u, v)
## [1] FALSE TRUE NA TRUE FALSE NA NA NA NA
```

### 3.3.4. Aggregating with **all**, **any**, and **sum**¶

Just like in the case of numeric vectors,
we can summarise the contents of logical sequences.
**all** tests whether *every* element in a logical vector
is equal to `TRUE`

. **any** determines if there *exists*
an element that is `TRUE`

.

```
x <- runif(10000)
all(x <= 0.2) # are all values in x <= 0.2?
## [1] FALSE
any(x <= 0.2) # is there at least one element in x that is <= 0.2?
## [1] TRUE
any(c(NA, FALSE, TRUE))
## [1] TRUE
all(c(TRUE, TRUE, NA))
## [1] NA
```

Note

**all** will frequently be used in conjunction
with `**==**` as the latter is itself *vectorised*:
it does *not* test whether a vector *as a whole* is equal to another one.

```
z <- c(1, 2, 3)
z == 1:3 # elementwise equal
## [1] TRUE TRUE TRUE
all(z == 1:3) # elementwise equal summarised
## [1] TRUE
```

However, let’s keep in mind the warning about the testing for *exact*
equality of floating-point numbers stated in Section 3.2.3.
Sometimes, considering absolute or relative errors might be more appropriate.

```
z <- sin((0:10)*pi) # sin(0), sin(pi), sin(2*pi), ..., sin(10*pi)
all(z == 0.0) # danger zone! please don't...
## [1] FALSE
all(abs(z - 0.0) < 1e-8) # are the absolute errors negligible?
## [1] TRUE
```

We can also call **sum** on a logical vector.
Taking into account that it interprets `TRUE`

as numeric `1`

and `FALSE`

as `0`

(more on this in Section 4.1),
it will give us the number of elements equal to `TRUE`

.

```
sum(x <= 0.2) # how many elements in x are <= 0.2?
## [1] 1998
```

Also, by computing **sum**`(x)/`

**length**`(x)`

,
we can obtain the proportion (fraction) of values equal to `TRUE`

in `x`

.
Equivalently:

```
mean(x <= 0.2) # proportion of elements <= 0.2
## [1] 0.1998
```

Naturally, we *expect*
**mean**`(`

**runif**`(n) <= 0.2)`

to be equal to
0.2 (20%), but with randomness, we can never be sure.

### 3.3.5. Simplifying predicates¶

Each aspiring programmer needs to become fluent with the rules
governing the transformations of logical conditions,
e.g., that the negation of “`(x >= 0) & (x < 1)`

”
is equivalent to “`(x < 0) | (x >= 1)`

”.
Such rules are called *tautologies*. Here are a few of them:

`!(!p)`

is equivalent to`p`

(double negation),`!(p & q)`

holds if and only if`!p | !q`

(De Morgan’s law),`!(p | q)`

is`!p & !q`

(another De Morgan’s law),**all**`(p)`

is equivalent to`!`

**any**`(!p)`

.

Various combinations thereof are, of course, possible. Further simplifications are enabled by other properties of the binary operations:

commutativity (symmetry), e.g., \(a+b = b+a\), \(a*b=b*a\),

associativity, e.g., \((a+b)+c = a+(b+c)\), \(\max(\max(a, b), c)=\max(a, \max(b, c))\),

distributivity, e.g., \(a*b+a*c = a*(b+c)\), \(\min(\max(a,b), \max(a,c))=\max(a, \min(b, c))\),

and relations, including:

transitivity, e.g., if \(a\le b\) and \(b\le c\), then surely \(a \le c\).

Assuming that `a`

, `b`

, and `c`

are numeric vectors,
simplify the following expressions:

`!(b>a & b<c)`

,`!(a>=b & b>=c & a>=c)`

,`a>b & a<c | a<c & a>d`

,`a>b | a<=b`

,`a<=b & a>c | a>b & a<=c`

,`a<=b & (a>c | a>b) & a<=c`

,`!`

**all**`(a > b & b < c)`

.

## 3.4. Choosing elements with **ifelse**¶

The **ifelse** function is a vectorised version
of the scalar **if**…**else** conditional statement,
which we will forgo for as long as until Chapter 8.
It permits us to select an element from one of two vectors
based on some logical condition.

A call to **ifelse**`(l, t, f)`

, where `l`

is a logical vector,
returns a vector `y`

such that:

In other words, the \(i\)-th element of the result vector
is equal to \(t_i\) if \(l_i\) is `TRUE`

and to \(f_i\) otherwise.
For example:

```
(z <- rnorm(6)) # example vector
## [1] -0.560476 -0.230177 1.558708 0.070508 0.129288 1.715065
ifelse(z >= 0, z, -z) # like abs(z)
## [1] 0.560476 0.230177 1.558708 0.070508 0.129288 1.715065
```

or:

```
(x <- rnorm(6)) # example vector
## [1] 0.46092 -1.26506 -0.68685 -0.44566 1.22408 0.35981
(y <- rnorm(6)) # example vector
## [1] 0.40077 0.11068 -0.55584 1.78691 0.49785 -1.96662
ifelse(x >= y, x, y) # like pmax(x, y)
## [1] 0.46092 0.11068 -0.55584 1.78691 1.22408 0.35981
```

We should not be surprised anymore that the recycling rule is fired up when necessary:

```
ifelse(x > 0, x^2, 0) # squares of positive xs and 0 otherwise
## [1] 0.21244 0.00000 0.00000 0.00000 1.49838 0.12947
```

Note

All arguments are evaluated in their entirety before deciding on which elements are selected. Therefore, the following call generates a warning:

```
ifelse(z >= 0, log(z), NA_real_)
## Warning in log(z): NaNs produced
## [1] NA NA 0.44386 -2.65202 -2.04571 0.53945
```

This is because, with **log**`(z)`

,
we compute the logarithms of negative values
anyway. To fix this, we can write:

```
log(ifelse(z >= 0, z, NA_real_))
## [1] NA NA 0.44386 -2.65202 -2.04571 0.53945
```

In case we yearn for
an **if**…**else if**…**else**-type expression,
the calls to **ifelse** can naturally be nested.

A version of
**pmax**`(`

**pmax**`(x, y), z)`

can be written as:

```
ifelse(x >= y,
ifelse(z >= x, z, x),
ifelse(z >= y, z, y)
)
## [1] 0.46092 0.11068 1.55871 1.78691 1.22408 1.71506
```

However, determining three intermediate logical vectors is not necessary.
We can save one call to `**>=**` by introducing an auxiliary
variable:

```
xy <- ifelse(x >= y, x, y)
ifelse(z >= xy, z, xy)
## [1] 0.46092 0.11068 1.55871 1.78691 1.22408 1.71506
```

Figure 3.1 depicts a realisation of the mixture \(Z=0.2 X + 0.8 Y\) of two normal distributions \(X\sim\mathrm{N}(-2, 0.5)\) and \(Y\sim\mathrm{N}(3, 1)\).

```
n <- 100000
z <- ifelse(runif(n) <= 0.2, rnorm(n, -2, 0.5), rnorm(n, 3, 1))
hist(z, breaks=101, probability=TRUE, main="", col="white")
```

In other words, we generated a variate from the normal distribution that has the expected value of \(-2\) with probability \(20\%\), and from the one with the expectation of \(3\) otherwise. Thus inspired, generate the Gaussian mixtures:

\(\frac{2}{3} X + \frac{1}{3} Y\), where \(X\sim\mathrm{N}(100, 16)\) and \(Y\sim\mathrm{N}(116, 8)\),

\(0.3 X + 0.4 Y + 0.3 Z\), where \(X\sim\mathrm{N}(-10, 2)\), \(Y\sim\mathrm{N}(0, 2)\), and \(Z\sim\mathrm{N}(10, 2)\).

(*) On a side note, knowing that if \(X\) follows \(\mathrm{N}(0, 1)\), then the scaled-shifted \(\sigma X+\mu\) is distributed \(\mathrm{N}(\mu, \sigma)\), the above can be equivalently written as:

```
w <- (runif(n) <= 0.2)
z <- rnorm(n, 0, 1)*ifelse(w, 0.5, 1) + ifelse(w, -2, 3)
```

## 3.5. Exercises¶

Answer the following questions.

Why the statement “The Earth is flat or the smallpox vaccine is proven effective” is obviously true?

What is the difference between

`NA`

and`NA_real_`

?Why is “

`FALSE & NA`

” equal to`FALSE`

, but “`TRUE & NA`

” is`NA`

?Why has

**ifelse**`(x>=0,`

**sqrt**`(x), NA_real_)`

a tendency to generate warnings and how to rewrite it so as to prevent that from happening?What is the interpretation of

**mean**`(x >= 0 & x <= 1)`

?For some integer \(x\) and \(y\), how to verify whether \(0 < x < 100\), \(0 < y < 100\), and \(x < y\), all at the same time?

Mathematically, for all real \(x, y > 0\), we have \(\log xy = \log x + \log y\). Why then

**all**`(`

**log**`(x*y) ==`

**log**`(x)+`

**log**`(y))`

can sometimes return`FALSE`

? How to fix this?Is

`x/y/z`

always equal to`x/(y/z)`

? How to fix this?What is the purpose of very specific functions such as

**log1p**and**expm1**(see their help page) and many others listed in, e.g., the GNU GSL library [28]? Is our referring to them a violation of the beloved “do not multiply entities without necessity” rule?If we know that \(x\) may be subject to error, how to test whether \(x>0\) in a robust manner?

Is “

`y<-5`

” the same as “`y <- 5`

” or rather “`y < -5`

”?

What is the difference between **all** and **isTRUE**?
What about `**==**`, **identical**,
and **all.equal**? Is the last one properly vectorised?

Compute the cross-entropy loss between a numeric vector \(\boldsymbol{p}\) with values in the interval \((0, 1)\) and a logical vector \(\boldsymbol{y}\), both of length \(n\) (you can generate them randomly or manually, it does not matter, it is just an exercise):

where

Interpretation: in classification problems,
\(y_i\in\{\text{FALSE}, \text{TRUE}\}\)
denotes the true class of the \(i\)-th object
(say, whether the \(i\)-th hospital patient is symptomatic)
and \(p_i\in(0, 1)\) is a machine learning algorithm’s
*confidence* that \(i\) belongs to class `TRUE`

(e.g., how sure a decision tree model is that the corresponding
person is unwell). Ideally, if \(y_i\) is `TRUE`

, \(p_i\) should be close to 1
and to \(0\) otherwise. The cross-entropy loss quantifies by how much
a classifier differs from the omniscient one.
The use of the logarithm penalises strong beliefs in the wrong answer.

By the way, if we have solved any of the exercises encountered so far
by referring to **if** statements, **for** loops,
vector indexing like `x[...]`

,
or any external R package, we recommend going back and rewrite our code.
Let’s keep things simple (effective, readable)
by only using *base* R’s vectorised operations that
we have introduced.